Tangiers Hotel and Casino

When Martin Scorsese began shooting the movie Casino in 1994, the Landmark’s main entrance exterior was chosen to represent the fictional “Tangiers Hotel and Casino”. Since the interiors were being filmed at the Riviera next door, set dressers had to remodel the front doors and add lights to match the Riviera’s entrance. It was the final time the Landmark’s lights were switched on. While the movie begins by stating it is based upon a true story, it never names the actual casino involved. The story is actually based upon the history of the Stardust casino, a fact well documented in the Vegas history books. Martin Scorsese discreetly documents this fact via the soundtrack, in which the song “Stardust” is heard three different times.

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Tangiers signage on the Landmark during filming in 1994.

The movie Casino is about the beginning of the end of organised crime (as we know it) in Vegas. After the events of the movie, as Sam Rothstein puts it, the corporations moved into Vegas and getting into a casino became like checking into the airport. ‘Today its like Disneyland.’ Rothstein remarks. The film’s first hour and a half details their rise to power, while the second half follows their downfall as the FBI, corrupt government officials, and angry mob bosses pick apart their Camelot piece by piece.

Pesci plays Nicholas “Nicky” Santoro, based on real-life Mob enforcer Anthony Spilotro, a “made man” in 1963 who could give Ace the protection he needed. Nicky is sent to Vegas to make sure that money from the Tangiers is skimmed off the top and the mobsters in Vegas are kept in line.

Sharon Stone plays Ginger McKenna, Ace’s scheming, self-absorbed wife, based on Geri McGee

In Vegas, everybody’s gotta watch everybody else. Since the players are looking to beat the casino, the dealers are watching the players. The box men are watching the dealers. The floor men are watching the box men. The pit bosses are watching the floor men. The shift bosses are watching the pit bosses. The casino manager is watching the shift bosses. I’m watching the casino manager. And the eye-in-the-sky is watching us all.

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