After a decade that saw violent crime dramas like Goodfellas and Raging Bull penetrate the mainstream consciousness, Universal gave Martin Scorsese carte blanche to make Casino, an epic about organized crime in Las Vegas. With the help of masterful editing and taut narration, it’s one of the director’s longest movies yet, and it never lags or runs out of steam.

Casino is a movie that takes its violence seriously, and the fact that it was based on true events doesn’t make it any less disturbing. From the torture-by-vice scene involving a popped eyeball to the baseball bat beating that leads to Joe Pesci’s character’s death, Scorsese uses the violence to emphasize the depravity of his characters. It’s not a perfect movie, but it’s one of the most important and compelling of its type.

Beneath the varnish of dazzling lights and free cocktails, casinos are built on a bedrock of mathematics, engineered to slowly bleed patrons of their cash. For years mathematically inclined minds have attempted to turn the tables by using probability and game theory to exploit the rigged system.

A casino’s success depends on a variety of factors, and no one person or organization has expertise in every area. To ensure that a casino has the best chance of making the right decisions, it must have people who specialize in different areas of gambling analysis and who are available to provide professional support whenever needed. These experts are called gaming mathematicians and game analysts.