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4.03  ·  Rating details ·  4,657 ratings  ·  178 reviews
From the author of the best-selling Mafia exposé, Wiseguy, comes this inside story of the billion-dollar gambling industry and the secretive, dangerous men who run it. At the heart of this true tale of love, revenge, and murder Mafia-style are some of the most memorable characters in mob lore: Lefty, the brains of the mob's Vegas casinos; Tony Spilotro, the mob's muscle; ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 348 pages
Published December 31st 1996 by Pocket Books (first published October 1st 1995)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  4,657 ratings  ·  178 reviews

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Reading Rush: Read a book set someplace you wish you could go. (Las Vegas)

A million years ago I watched the movie Casino because its a Martin Scorsese movie and I've seen all his movies.

But I don't really remember it. The only thing I remember is Robert DeNiro's characters car explodes. Also I remember the men wearing a lot of terrible loud suits. I don't think I liked it that much but I was only 15 and I watched it right after I watched Goodfellas(One of my ALL TIME FAVES). So maybe I'll give
Aug 16, 2007 added it
The true story behind the movie "Casino", this book of the same title goes into far more detail about the rise and fall of Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal. As you read it, you notice that the movie changed certain details - more than likely to translate better to film. The reality is far more brutal and fascinating than the movie however. Anyone who has any interest in the inner workings of casinos or old Las Vegas should read this!
Andy Cooper
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
This is an overrated book. But don't worry, all is not lost. It just needs to be re-purposed and moved into a different genre.

I am putting in a recommendation to officially change the title to The Encyclopedia of Mafia Run Casinos. If you are looking for a well told story, then go somewhere else. Preferably back into Mario Puzo novels. On the other hand if you want to read a hastily put together story built by stacking facts and miscellaneous information on top of one another, then look no furth
Nemo Erehwon
Fast reading and entertaining book on organized crime in the Las Vegas casino system.

Would be excellent, except that it suffers from AES; A-hole Encouragement Syndrome. This is where the author overlooks certain warning signs about his main subject. Since the subject is either a murderer, a con-man, a thugs, and/or a thief, it is quite possible the subject is also a liar out to impress the author, interested prosecutorial figures, and other suckers who read the book. AES is a common ailment of b
W.  Frazier
Sordid gossip and outrageous bravado highlight the inside tales of mob rule in 1970’s Las Vegas. This book spills the goods as if being whispered on the down low in the back booth of some bar amidst a smoky cigarette haze. It’s all salacious and outrageous and true. The bits and pieces of this true-life crime drama, particularly the first-person narratives, are amazing in their candor. However, the age of the book has taken a toll. Social media is now center stage, and what was once over-the-top ...more
patrick Lorelli
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
Here is a book that the movie with the same title was based on. Of course the book goes into more detail about the life of Lefty Rosenthal. Starting from his childhood through his time in Vegas. Overall this is a good book with the parts of Vegas bring back memories of the old casinos that are no longer there. It was also amazing how at one time he was running the book for four casinos. This book has a lot of details and history that was interesting to read. I also remember reading about the fra ...more
Jan 13, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: organized-crime
One of the best books about the mob in Las Vegas. It so happens that the complex web surrounding Frank Rosenthal in Las Vegas was one of the most difficult organized crime-related operations in Vegas. Pileggi clearly describes the power struggles between the various players in great detail.
Feb 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
A true account of the mob and its Vegas connections. Watch the movie. Skip the book.
Sep 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: true-crime
Continuing my rather unexpected trip through books that inspired Martin Scorsese films (I finished I Heard You Paint Houses a week ago), here’s Nicholas Pileggi’s Casino. I was excited to read it because:

1. I watched the movie years ago and remember almost nothing about it.
2. I recently watched Hustlers and people kept comparing it to Casino.
3. I enjoyed Pileggi’s other true crime mafia tale Wiseguy, which was the basis for the movie Goodfellas.

So I went into this one with a lot of excitement. A
Jun 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've seen the movie a hundred times, and it turns out that it's pretty faithful to the book.

This book features extensive interviews with some of the major players in the story. Pileggi's skill is to draw these all together (not to mention getting everyone to be so candid) alongside the supporting research to crosscheck details and provide extra absurdity (like Left Rosenthal taking the 5th 37 times in one stint on the witness stand, including on whether or not he's lefthanded).

I think the takeaw
Deyth Banger
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2017
The fun is over... now what has been left from the old days is nothing... people are just not serious.


February 13, 2017 –
90.0% "YOu got everything?

No, you got only my ass.... just to smell it... nothing else!"
February 13, 2017 –
70.0% "That all are the cleaners... as you called it SPOTLESS...."
February 13, 2017 –
70.0% "The fun is over... people just reaveled everything!"
February 13, 2017 –
70.0% "Hahahahaa, all shit is put in one place... the game is over... somebody else has take
Frank Stein
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most of this book is gleaned from personal interviews with questionable characters, but how else would anyone get a handle on how the Mafia ran Las Vegas for 40 years? Nicholas Pileggi does yeoman's work tracking down the main cops and culprits to paint a vivid picture of the casino industry when it was little short of a mob-front. The book centers on the friendship of "Lefty" Frank Rosenthal, a world-renowned sports-handicapper and gambler when that was still a real federal crime, and Tony "the ...more
Craig Williams
Nicholas Pileggi uses first-hand accounts to cobble together a chronicle of the rise and fall of mob influence in Las Vegas, centered around an expert gambler named Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, who oversaw the casino skimming operations, and his childhood friend Tony Spilotro, who acted as an enforcer for the mob. The Scorcesi film CASINO was based on this book.

Being that Casino is one of my favorite Scorsesi films, I was interested in reading about the real life figures the characters were based on
Dec 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another case of the book being better than the movie. Sometimes movies just don't have the time to really explain the characters and their situations. For example, although it is said that Geri Rosenthal habitually used alcohol and drugs in the movie (although they didn't use her real name, of course), they never mentioned that she was also helping out some of her family members, like her 11-year old daughter, her sister, and her mother.

What I thought was amazing was how much money was moving th
Jane Davis
Jun 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
If you saw the movie based on this book it is a must read. The town was simpler then. No stop lights on L V Blvd, ah, the good old days how I miss them, and nothing much beyond Tropicana. This is the Las Vegas when the mob was there and the police were none too polite if you showed a shady side. To this day public employees are fingerprinted.

After seeing the movie my sister remarked, "The book wasn't that violent, was it?" Of course not. It takes this book to give you the real names, actions an
Johnny Moscato
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
After reading (and loving) Wiseguy, Casino was a huge disappointment. The movie was a million times better. I'm not even sure how the movie is based on this book. Even setting the movie aside the book is boring and overflowing with names. The only way to keep all the names straight would be to write them all down to reference as you read. The writing skips from one person's perspective to another's so quickly and often that it's confusing and you have to keep going back to figure out who's being ...more
Dec 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
In this book, Pileggi relates the story of the last days of mob control of Las Vegas casinos, specifically the Stardust. If you have seen the movie Casino, you know the general story (but the names and many facts were changed).

Pileggi does not let his writing get in the way of a good story. The book is made up primarily of interviews and long stretches of story-telling by "Lefty" Rosenthal himself, various mob informants, and an assortment of federal and state law enforcement agents. Although th
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an insane book! It's crazy thinking how the Mafia was operating there. Made me think a lot about Vegas...all about appearances, then and now, take away all the big buildings and marquee signs and there's nothing but sand and dirty pavement. Anyone wanting to know some Mafia history about Vegas would find this book a must read. This is one of those times when I'm not sure which is better-the book or the movie because they are both sensational.
Martin Imaani
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I often wondered how to make money from a casino. Already found the right casino with a good selection of games, and if you like gambling, then visit MrBet casino. Some say that it is easier to win in card games if you know how to play, while others know how to get money with slot machines and advise you to stop on time. I rely more on my card playing skills, so I play blackjack and poker. I also think that this is a great vacation after a hard day. ...more
Jul 24, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: donated
Too dry and force. The mob would not approve.
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Like most people, I probably would not have read this book had I not seen the wonderful Martin Scorsese movie of the same name. Sadly, I didn’t enjoy this book nearly as much as the movie. In fact, I didn’t really enjoy this thing at all. I thought it was poorly written and am quite surprised how Scorsese managed to take something like this and turn it into such a beautiful piece of cinematic art. That says a lot of a film director. We must also remember that the movie was “based on” the book. S ...more
Eden Thompson
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From my book blog
Casino - Love and Honour in Las Vegas is the true crime classic by Nicholas Pileggi, which was turned into a hit movie by Martin Scorsese starring Robert DeNiro and Sharon Stone. Pileggi co-wrote the film and it won Sharon the Golden Globe. A terrific movie, but there is even more dirt in this true account of Mafia involvement in 1970's Las Vegas casinos.

After some backstory on Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal and Anthony "Tony the Ant" Spilotro growing
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I knew the minute Sharon Stone threw those chips in the air in the movie Casino that I was going to love this movie. That love affair has never ended and then the book popped up on Bookbub and I was thoroughly excited! So much so that I bought the book, watched the movie, read the book and then watched the movie again.

One main difference is that the book actually uses all the real names of the individuals. This allows the reader to set off exploring more about the real people online and pull up
Oscar Williams
Anthony Spilotro of Las Vegas is arrested in the early 70s for mortgage fraud when Roy Woofter was D.A. in Clark County and Woofter did not prosecute. Joe Conforte takes credit for that and either repaid a favor to the Mob/Spilotro for doing so, or had a favor owed to him. No mention of an arrest for mortgage fraud in CASINO.

Also, attorney Harry Claiborne defended Lefty and others accused of running an illegal sports book between Palm Spring and Las Vegas.

And Harry Claiborne represented Lefty be
Jim Holscher
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you found the movie The Irishman overly long and wooden read this book and Nicholas Pileggi’s Wiseguy and you will see why. Casino is the source material for the movie by the same name. It is fluid and allowed the characters to tell the story.

For those of you who have watched the movie Casino and wonder if there is anything new to glean from reading the book I would say the book offers an even better, more complete look at what happened.

Pileggi is a gifted writer. He has a way of making des
Alexander Engel-Hodgkinson

Casino is a great Scorsese movie based on events from a good book. Really, all Scorsese did was tweak the odd situation here and there for higher cinematic impact and arrange the key events in this massive decade-long run of mob-controlled Vegas and the many, many complications that arose from such a scheme.

The movie is close to a masterpiece, although there are better crime films out there. The novel is a structural mess, though it has far more information than Scorsese could ever fit into
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Solid true crime novel that nicely explains how the mob lost Las Vegas through the tale of Lefty Rosenthal & Tony Spilotro, but is too straight forward to be truly great. Pileggi does a great job getting interviews and stories from his subjects, from Lefty, the FBI and various other mobsters, and let's them tell the story. It is a story so crazy it has to be true (Lefty at one point had a popular talk show where he interviewed O.J. Simpson & Frank Sinatra to cover he wasn't licensed to work in a ...more
Debra Pawlak
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Las Vegas is like no other city. It was started by gangsters (think Bugsy Siegel) and decades later, it was still being run by the Mob. 'Casino' takes place in the seventies and focuses on Frank 'Lefty' Rosenthal and Anthony 'Tony the Ant' Spilotro. They were the kingpins--until they weren't. The book is filled with action from gruesome mob hits to exploding cars to 'professional' skimming. It was Lefty's and Tony's job to keep the Chicago bosses happy--and they did for a good long while. Then T ...more
Brenden Gallagher
I am not leaving a star rating on this title because the audiobook version I listened to was extremely abridged, covering 400 pages of text in three hours of audio. It is disappointing they went with such a heavy abridgement, likely because demand for the audiobook spiked around the film's release and they wanted a version that covered only roughly what was in the film.

The included passages are worth a listen, but you really feel the abridging, as much of the story, and in particular minor char
Scorscese's work is infinitely more interesting, but it's a fictional account based on this book. The best description is that it is bare bones. I kept wanting broader descriptions and background. Perhaps my dissatisfaction stems from my recent reading of various types of Pulitzer Prize winning non-fiction titles. For instance, Pileggi quotes Rosenthal as saying, after Jerry's passing, that lots of folks suspected him of killing her or arranging her death. But he paid a considerable sum to have ...more
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Nicholas Pileggi is best known for writing the book Wiseguy, which he adapted into the movie Goodfellas, and for writing the book and screenplay Casino. The movie versions of both were co-written and directed by Martin Scorsese. Pileggi also wrote the screenplay for the 1996 film City Hall. He began his career as a journalist and had a profound interest in the Mafia. This is where he developed his ...more

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