While most movies only scratch the surface of the Vegas experience, Casino is a compelling look at the gambling mecca. De Niro and Sharon Stone shine as hustlers in this movie that lays bare greed, corruption and human tragedy. It is not an easy watch, but it is one of the best.
The word casino means “little town” in Italian, and the original purpose of casinos was to be a place where people could gamble for fun rather than for money. As casinos grew in popularity they became more and more luxurious, and today, they offer everything from free drinks to stage shows and dramatic scenery. However, some experts argue that the luxuries of casinos actually make them less economically beneficial to local communities. These critics point to the shift in spending from other forms of entertainment, the cost of treating problem gamblers and the lost productivity of workers who lose too much money.
Casinos make money by offering games of chance (and in some cases skill) with built-in advantages that ensure that the house will win most of the time. These advantages are called the house edge and they range from a few percent for blackjack to over two-thirds for roulette, craps and video poker machines. Casinos also collect a fee from their customers known as the vig or rake. In some cases, like with baccarat and blackjack, the advantage can be mitigated by players who use strategies such as card counting or edge sorting.