Casino is the place where people gamble, play games of chance and watch stage shows. Modern casinos add a lot of luxuries to attract customers, but gambling remains the central activity that provides profits for the owners. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and baccarat are some of the popular games that generate billions in profits each year. Some of these games involve an element of skill (video poker, for example), but most are pure chance.

In addition to the games themselves, a casino may offer free food and drinks, tickets to concerts or other events, hotel rooms and even airfare and limousine service to regular players. These perks are known as comps. In some cases, a casino will reward frequent visitors with free chips that they can use to keep playing for longer periods of time or for higher stakes.

In Casino, De Niro plays Ace as a principled old-school operator who refuses to help the FBI pursue Nicky. Yet the movie’s tone is more rueful than awe-inspiring, as Scorsese shows how mob control over Vegas gave way to real estate investors and hotel chains with much deeper pockets. The resulting business model, coupled with federal crackdowns and the risk of losing a gaming license at the slightest whiff of gangster involvement, kept legitimate businesses in a much safer position than their mafia cousins. Nonetheless, the mob still made plenty of money.