Casino, the Martin Scorsese masterpiece, is a tale of greed, betrayal and violence that is at once compelling, shocking and entertaining. It lays bare the seedy underbelly of Las Vegas casinos and their past connections to organized crime, while also showcasing opulence, neon signs, and gamblers playing cards and slots. While other movies have touched on the topic of Las Vegas gambling, few have done so as well or as honestly.

Gambling is an intensely emotional activity for patrons, with high stakes and the potential to win or lose large sums of money combining to create a cocktail of anxiety and anticipation. Casinos capitalize on this emotion by providing a variety of amenities, including restaurants, free drinks and stage shows. Some casinos even feature a “tropical” motif, adding to the sense of adventure and excitement.

While casinos have many built-in advantages, there is one certainty: they will always be the winner in the long run. The house edge, or expected gross profit, for every game offered is built into the odds, making it virtually impossible to beat the casinos. As such, they must focus on attracting the highest bettors, offering them lavish inducements like free spectacular entertainment, luxury accommodations and transportation.

With a stellar cast led by Robert De Niro as mobster Sam Rothstein and Sharon Stone as blonde hustler Ginger McKenna, Casino is a lean, mean thriller that keeps the action going right up to the climactic car bomb scene. Despite its length, it never lags or feels bloated and still packs a powerful punch today.