Is Martin Scorsese’s Casino Based On A True Story?


Starring Robert De Niro, Sharon and Joe Pesci, the 1995 Casino movie directed by Martin Scorsese is based on a true story. The movie’s plot was based on the real-life events of Frank Rosenthal (Letty), who managed the Stardust, Hacienda and Freemont casinos for the Chicago mob in Sin City (Las Vegas) in the 80s and 70s.

But how much of this iconic movie is based on the real-life events of “Letty’s” life?

As with every movie that will inspire you to look for top Curacao casinos that accept UK players to join in the fun, some minor details are added to tie the story together and make it enjoyable. Some parts are also added for dramatic effects, while other scenes are changed for different reasons. However, several scenes remain true to the story. Let’s take a look:

The main characters are based on real-life people


Credit: Universal Pictures

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All the main characters in this iconic movie were based on real-life people. Sam Rothstein’s “Ace” is based on the famous mob boss Frank Rosenthal, while Ginger McKenna plays a character based on a former Las Vegas showgirl and Rosenthal’s wife, Geri McGee.

Nicky Santoro’s role is based on the life of mobster Anthony Spilitro, while Phillip Green plays the role of the casino tycoon Allen Glick. These characters resemble actual people, ranging from character traits to their decision-making process.

Rosenthal didn’t genuinely have a gaming license

In real life, Rosenthal didn’t have a gaming license. Thanks to his connection with organized crime bosses, the mob knew it was risky to apply for a gaming license on his behalf. As such, the mob didn’t use high-profile titles for the casinos he worked for, taking designations like food and beverage manager or entertainment director.

The deception comes to light in a courtroom where Rothstein shows everyone how corrupt the legal process at the time was. Incredibly, Rosenthal got involved in a similar courtroom outburst.

Rosenthal actually survived a car bombing

casino movies

Credit: Universal Pictures

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The scene where Rothstein survives a car crash is based on real-life events in Rosenthal’s life. Well, he was able to walk away with his life thanks to a metal plate under the driver’s seat.

Geri and Spilotro had an affair

The love triangle between McKenna, Rothstein and Santoro plays a key role in the death of several characters. In reality, it’s alleged that Rosenthal’s ex-wife and Spilotro engaged in an affair. It doesn’t have the same repercussions as the movie, but it was frowned upon by the mob.  

A drug overdose caused Geri’s death

One of Rosenthal’s most tragic moments was the death of his ex-wife after a drug overdose. That’s portrayed accurately in the movie Casino as McKenna also succumbs to the same fate towards the end of this movie.

Anthony Spilotro was murdered alongside his brother

In one of the most iconic deaths in gangster movies, Santoro and his brother were ambushed by Frank Marino after Rothstein’s car bombing. Suspecting that Santoro was responsible for the bombing, the mob killed him in retaliation. As a result, Santoro and his brother get buried alive in a cornfield in Indiana.


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