Casino: Synopsis

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Sam "Ace" Rothstein (Robert De Niro), the consummate bookie who could change the odds merely by placing a bet, has come up through the ranks of the Midwestern mob to be picked by the bosses to front their entree into Vegas. In charge of four casinos, he insures that the money keeps coming in and looks the other way as the skim flows out the back, while keeping a canny eye on the quick hands of every cheat, hustler and blackjack dealer in the place. Ace lives and breathes the odds. He eventually doubles the mob*s take and finally changes the very rules of how the casinos are run. Now he is ruler and high priest of all he surveys in his magic kingdom. But Ace can't control the odds when it comes to Ginger McKenna (Sharon Stone), the chip-hustling vamp who charms him and becomes his wife. His infatuation with this glamorous denizen of the gambling room floor turns to obsession as she rises with him to the upper crust of society, then turns to the bottle and pill box for consolation in her gilded cage. Though she has broken through an icy protective layer and found her way into Ace's heart, as the story progresses, his love for Ginger becomes tainted by neurotic impulses and insidious possessiveness. This behavior portends Ace's impending downfall as he falls victim to the sin of pride.

The third member of this triangle of intrigue and obsession is Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci), Ace's best friend and fellow graduate of the city streets. Nicky is the hair-trigger hit man all too familiar with the holes in the desert surrounding the man-made paradise of Las Vegas: "It's in the desert where lots of the town's problems are solved," observes Nicky. "Lots of holes in the desert. Yeah. And a lot of problems are buried in these holes. Except you gotta do it right. I mean, you've gotta have the hole already dug up before you show up with a package in the trunk." Together Nicky and Ace run the perfect operation, with Ace in charge and Nicky providing the muscle. But as Nicky expands his interests and each man gains power, their lives become entangled in a story of hot tempers, obstinacy, money, love and deception. The giant machine they have created runs out of control toward an explosive conclusion. Their lives once again are remarkably transformed and so, too, with the passing of a single decade, is the city of Las Vegas. By the early eighties, gigantic corporate casinos have taken over. Five-thousand room behemoths - shaped like Arthurian Castles and fronted by volcanoes and lions' heads - have sprouted with abandon. Ace's grand casinos live on only in memory as the city is now a resort for family vacations. Casino was shot at more than 120 locations in Las Vegas, primarily at the Riviera hotel. Chosen for its historic look, the Riviera has grown since its opening in 1955 to become one of the top five casinos in the world.

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