A casino is a place where champagne glasses clink and the smell of excitement wafts through the air. The sight of people crowded around tables and slot machines – some laughing, some crying – gives the place a sense of intoxicating energy that can make even the most jaded of us take a second to look up from our hands and hearts and be amazed at what we’re witnessing.

Gambling is a popular pastime that can be found in casinos around the world, and it’s no wonder that they’re such a draw to the public. The games themselves are the main attraction, from classic table games like blackjack and poker to more modern offerings such as video slots and roulette. Most of these games have some element of skill, and the most successful players are those who can master a game’s rules and strategies.

Casinos have a built-in advantage over their customers, referred to as the house edge. This mathematically determined advantage ensures that the casino will always come out ahead, despite what the individual players do. In order to offset the house edge, casinos offer complimentary goods and services (compliments) to big bettors, including free spectacular entertainment and transportation, hotel rooms, and even airline tickets.

Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award-winning film Casino is a gangster drama about the mob kingpins and their henchmen that ruled Las Vegas in the 1980s. It may lack the pizzazz of Goodfellas, but it’s still a riveting and disturbing story about how fucked up organized crime can be. And it features a truly unforgettable performance by Robert De Niro as mobster Lucky Luciano.