Casinos feature a variety of games of chance and skill. In addition to classic table games like blackjack and poker, they offer slot machines, roulette, baccarat, bingo and more. These games are not only fun, but can also provide lucrative winnings. The casino experience is more than just gaming, however, and should be marketed in this way.
For the most part, Casino depicts characters mired in violence, treachery and avarice. It does not seek to make any of its players into dashing underworld heroes, and it is hard to find any character with a pure heart in the movie. The closest the film gets to an antihero is Ace, who sees himself as a principled old-school operator who refuses to rat on Nicky for the FBI even when it would save his own life. Despite this, Ace is still a heartless son of a bitch in the end, and Scorsese has no problem showing us his degraded inner workings.
Casino’s most important theme, though, is the corruption of a once-mighty mob empire in Vegas. This is a massive story, and the film lays out an epic web of bribery with tendrils reaching into politics, Teamsters unions and even the Midwest mafia based in Kansas City. Scorsese’s ambivalence is also evident in the movie’s truly hellacious violence, including a torture-by-vice sequence with a popped eyeball and a sound-designed baseball bat beating that had to be trimmed to avoid an NC-17 rating.