The world’s most famous casinos offer everything from top-notch table games and slot machines to luxurious accommodations, entertainment, and dining. The Bellagio in Las Vegas, for example, is well-known for its dancing fountains and high-end art displays, and it has even been featured in movies like Ocean’s 11.

But the real reason that people love to gamble isn’t the excitement of winning or losing. Instead, it’s the sense of glamour and luxury that comes with it. It’s all too easy to walk into a bright, twinkly casino with your wallet full of cash and plans for a little bit of fun. And then hours later, you have no idea what time it is and your wallet is empty.

In reality, gambling is not a lucrative way to make money. Each game has a mathematically determined advantage for the house, and while this edge varies depending on the game, it’s always against the player. That’s why it’s important to start with a fixed amount of money that you are ready to lose and stick to that.

Martin Scorsese’s film Casino offers a riveting look at the Mob’s waning grip on the gambling mecca of Las Vegas. It also explains how a desert city that had once been controlled by organized crime groups was taken over by huge gambling corporations. And while the violence is a little over-the-top at times (the torture of a man with a vice, De Niro’s gun-toting moll Ginger McKenna, and Joe Pesci’s burying of his nemesis in a cornfield), it faithfully portrays the real world of organized crime and how that world eventually fell apart.