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Casino

Beneath the flashing lights and free cocktails casinos stand on a bedrock of mathematics, engineered to slowly bleed patrons of their cash. For years mathematically inclined minds have tried to use probability and game theory to turn the tables, but the best way to beat a casino is simply not to play at all.

From a security standpoint, casinos have some of the most advanced systems in the world. Elaborate surveillance systems offer a high-tech eye-in-the-sky, watching every table, window and doorway. Observers in a separate room watch each monitor, adjusting the camera to focus on suspicious patrons and note betting patterns. Some of the more sophisticated machines can even detect if a player is using a rigged slot machine, as well as determine how many spins he or she has taken.

Casino focuses on three key characters, but Scorsese uses the movie to tell a larger story about Sin City. He captures the apex of mafia control in Vegas and the rise of huge gambling corporations that now dominate the city. De Niro and Sharon Stone are both terrific, but it’s the ever-reliable Joe Pesci who adds real menace to his character as Santoro.

Casinos also bring in a lot of business for hotels and other tourist attractions, creating jobs for local residents. They often offer complimentary goods and services to “good” players, such as free hotel rooms, dinners or tickets to shows. These extras are usually based on the amount of money a patron spends. Casinos have been shown to decrease unemployment rates in the areas where they are located.