True Events that The Movie ‘Casino’ is Based on

Among the various blockbuster gambling movies, the film Casino was built around actual life events. The 1995 classic, which stars top actors including Sharon Stone, Robert De Niro, and Joe Pesci, was directed by Martin Scorsese. This timeless movie with a touching story has won awards, but how many of the casino movie scenes were inspired by real story events?

The plot centers around the life and times of Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, a member of the Chicago mob around the mid-90s. Lefty was the manager of the Fremont, Hacienda, and Stardust casinos, all located in Las Vegas.

While modern online gambling is now in the driver’s seat for many Canadians, scenes from the old times, including the thrill of casino games, are more heightened today. Even though Casino tells the stories of adventures that occurred in retail casinos, one can enjoy a similar experience at Zodiac casino website that offers all types of gambling adventures. Meanwhile, this article will focus on different moments in real life that were lifted directly from true story events by the scriptwriters.


Each of the main characters in Casino is based on a real-life Person

The first pointer to notice here is that all the characters are based on an individual in Lefty’s life. Star actress Ginger McKenna who played the leading role, was based on the character of Rosenthal’s wife, Geri McGee, a former showgirl in Las Vegas. Sam Rothstein plays Rosenthal, the famous mobster who is the main character and the plot’s focus.

In addition, Anthony “The Ant” Spilotro, another character played by Nicky Santoro, and Allen Glick, a popular casino mobster handled by Phillip Green, are all real-life personas. Spilotro is still alive, while Glick only passed away recently. The similarities do not stop here, as other roles are still the same. A few real individuals served jail terms for being accomplices in Frank Rosenthal’s scheme.

A Past Casino Executive was Spied out on and Murdered in His House

In the movie, there were several assassinations and murders. While some were the imagination of the scriptwriters, others actually happened in real life. One example is when a former executive in one of the casinos in Chicago was chased down to his home mansion in Costa Rica, where he was gunned down.

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Rosenthal Survived a Car Bombing

The next scene in Casino that isn’t a figment of the imagination is how Rosenthal luckily escaped being burnt to death in a car explosion. There are still conflicting reports on how Lefty came out of the ordeal in 1982 with his life intact. However, according to a number of persons, Rosenthal was saved by the metal stabilization directly under the driver’s seat of his car. The way this scene was caught in the film makes Scorsese a legendary director.

Some people claim that Rosenthal was targeted because of rumors that he was an informant for the FBI. Yet, he kept claiming innocence from such reports. In an interview, Rosenthal said he was pressured by law enforcement. “The Vegas Metro police came at me hard after the bombing to cooperate and said they wouldn’t protect me if I didn’t.”

Rosenthal also claimed it was not his style to become a snitch. “It all comes down to style and doing what you feel comfortable with. I never talked about or testified against anyone and never will. An attempt on my life would not change that. I have no regrets.”

Yet, a report claimed he was a snitch for the FBI after his death in 2008. A news article from the Las Vegas Review Journal says three members of law enforcement confirmed he was an informant for an extended period, even before the attempted assassination through the car bombing. Even Scorsese did not include this part in the film because it was all speculation at the time.

Rosenthal Didn’t Have a Gambling License

Funny enough, Rosenthal, a manager of three of the biggest retail casinos in Chicago, did not have an operating license. Because of his connections with the mob and organized crime, getting a permit was out of the question. To help mask his identity, his bosses gave him lesser titles officially.

Among the various positions, he held there were food and beverage manager and director of entertainment. This fact came to light when Lefty was a witness in a courtroom, and he shed light on the depth of corruption in the legal process system.

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Spilotro and Geri Had an Affair

In the movie Casino, a love affair or a triangle involving Rothstein, Mckenna, and Santoro plays a massive role in how Scorsese depicted the end of the road for some movie roles. This fact occurred in real life. Rosenthal’s ex-wife, McGee, and Spilotro had an extramarital affair. As you may expect, the mob was unhappy about this, as it directly impacted Rosenthal. Yet, there were no real consequences in the film.

Geri’s Death was by Overdose

Another impactful scene in Lefty’s life was how Geri, his ex-wife fell to the cold hands of death through a drug overdose. This is another real event that played out in the Casino movie. McKenna (Sharon Stone) met her untimely death in a motel, bringing the film to an end.

In reality, other common deaths were that of Spilotro and his brother, buried in the Indiana cornfields. Other occurrences in the movie are displayed based on accounts of true events and a real story. However, Scorsese made a few alterations to the scenes in the film.


The fact that there were few alterations or differences in the Casino movie happened for some reasons. Some were for legal or dramatic results, which the director wanted to avoid. Currently, you can still watch the movie Casino 1995 on Netflix, as well as other TV cable networks. Casino is still one of the best films, in our opinion. It tells a true story of a top lieutenant of an organized crime syndicate, and Scorsese, the movie Casino director remains one of the best directors of our time.

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