There’s something about the casino that encourages people to cheat, steal or scam their way into a jackpot, rather than simply trying to win by random chance. That’s why casinos spend a significant amount of time, effort and money on security. Casinos also keep their interiors lit the same both day and night, often with decor that tricks you into believing it’s the proper hour to be awake, so your chances of hitting the jackpot on a slot machine or going on a winning streak are slim to none.

Unlike many other movies that depict gambling as either glamorous or demeaning, Scorsese’s Casino reveals the seedier underbelly of this hedonistic industry. Based on the book Casino by Nicholas Pileggi, it reveals how an intricate web of corruption centered in Las Vegas and had tendrils reaching into the Teamsters unions, Chicago mobster families and even a few corrupt politicians.

As is so often the case with mafia dramas, there are no good guys in Casino. Every key character is mired in treachery and avarice. But, despite this bleak outlook, there is still plenty of fun to be had in the opulent atmosphere of a casino, with lights flashing and coins clinking to the soundtrack of cheers as someone wins. It’s a spectacle that has made the gambling industry so lucrative.