The real story of Martin Scorseses Casino
Martin Scorsese dealt with the history of the casino directly and just bluffed on the names.
As much as Martin Scorsese may have skewered gangster history by telling Frank Sheeran’s version of things in The Irishman, he did it right when he did it alone with casino. This 1995 gangster classic is based on the non-fiction book Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas by Nicholas Pileggi, the author of the source material from Wise Guys and Goodfellas. All Scorsese had to do to stay true to the real story was to change the names.
Sam “Ace” Rothstein, played by Robert De Niro, was based on the well-known player Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal; Joe Pesci’s Nicky Santoro was based on Anthony John “Ant” Spilotro; Sharon Stone’s Ginger McKenna is based on Geri McGee, Rosenthal’s wife.
Even the casino in the movie The Tangiers is a wrong name for the Stardust. The interiors were filmed within the Riviera, while the exterior shots in front of the Westgate, the Las Vegas Hilton, were filmed during the events of the film. Rothstein only operates one casino in the casino. In the 1970s and 1980s, Lefty Rosenthal ran four times simultaneously for the Chicago mob: Stardust, Hacienda, Fremont and Marina.
From 1950, Rosenthal headed the largest illegal bookmaker’s office in the United States for the Chicago outfit. He had a reputation for being a master at winning chances. Lefty was born in Chicago on June 12, 1929 and grew up on the track. His father owned horses and Lefty learned everything about racing, with a special focus on gambling. Rosenthal’s betting expertise was a thorough study that included soccer and baseball. Every field, every stroke had a price, and Rosenthal manipulated the chances of winning to get the players to bet while staying exactly where the bookmakers needed them so they were still ahead.
What he couldn’t fix in the chances he set on the field. Rosenthal bought “contracts” from sports bribers. He billed it under the company Cicero Home Improvement. Rosenthal was convicted of bribing a college basketball player to save points during a game in North Carolina in 1962. It was a year after he appeared before a Senate Subcommittee on Gambling and Organized Crime. He advocated the fifth amendment 38 times. Despite his nickname, he wouldn’t even be left-handed.
To defeat the heat in the Windy City, Rosenthal moved to Miami and participated in the “Bookie Wars” of the Chicago outfit. He was suspected in some car and building bombs. He went west to Las Vegas in 1968. Lefty ran a betting shop with Tony “The Ant” Spilotro as a partner and enforcer. Spilotro had made a name for himself in Chicago after learning the ropes from the loan shark “Mad Sam” DeStefano. The law assumes that Spilotro killed at least 25 people for its bosses. The murder rate in Las Vegas rose 70 percent after he appeared in the city.
Spilotro really opened a guy’s eyes in a vise, but it wasn’t Tony Dogs who shot a casino restaurant. According to Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas, Spilotro did this in 1962 in the so-called “M&M murders”. While an executor for DeStefano, Spilotro earned points in a job he took on with Charles “Chuckie” Nicoletti and Felix “Milwaukee Phil” Alderisio, professionals who were likely to be able to carry their own film. They had a bespoke hit phone, a black car with switches that controlled the headlights and taillights, and a hidden compartment for shotguns, rifles, and pistols.