Casinos offer entertainment based on games of chance. They generate profits from gamblers’ wagers and take a vig or rake, a small percentage of each bet. They can also pay out a percentage of winnings to players, depending on the game. Despite the glitz of lighted fountains, musical shows and elaborate hotels that casinos may include in their amenities, they are essentially indoor amusement parks for adults with the vast majority of their profits derived from gambling. Slot machines and other games like baccarat, roulette, craps and blackjack provide the billions of dollars in revenue that casinos earn each year.
Gambling is legal in many states and the gaming industry is a major source of employment. Legalized casinos can provide economic benefits to their local communities, reducing unemployment and increasing average wages. However, critics point out that gambling does not necessarily increase social welfare, and the societal costs associated with problem gambling and compulsive gambling can actually erode any economic gains casinos might bring.
Unlike movies about Las Vegas that tend to gloss over the city’s seamy underbelly, Casino takes a deep and dark look at the roots of the strip and its tangled connections with organized crime. While the movie is nearly three hours long, director Martin Scorsese keeps it lean and taut until its explosive ending. Moreover, unlike other films about the glamorous world of gambling, Casino makes its points clearly and does so without being preachy or excessively sentimental.