In Casino the story revolves around the mob stealing from the Tangiers casino by skimming off the top of all money earned. In order to get away with this, they seem to have their people in place - they get their man, Sam "Ace" Rothstein to run it, they arrange the loan which allows the casino to be built in the first place, etc.

The fact that they have the authority to do all this implies to me that they own the casino, but that flatly contradicts the fact that they are stealing from it! So the question is, who actually owns it? Who are they stealing from? And if they don't own it, how are they able to impose their will on it? The real owner(s) never seems to be mentioned in the film, e.g. being intimidated or conned into hiring Rothstein, etc.

4 Answers 4


The union pension fund put up the money for the hotel and the casino, but the union officials were corrupt and with the help of the mob diverted some of the casino's profit into their own pockets. That money should've gone back to the union and help pay benefits to the members.


There's two sets of "stealing" going on....

1. The Skim

The point of the "skim" is to hide the income from the Tax / Revenue Services

Skimming refers to the illegal transfer of funds from casinos to outside personnel without official documentation. Skimmed money is usually transferred in cash to evade taxes and to fund organized crime anonymously. The quantities of money skimmed are usually small portions of the casino's total profit so as not to arouse suspicion from regulators or law enforcement.

Skimming @ Wikipedia

Since the money is removed before it goes through the 'official' counting process it's not taken into account by tax officials nor does it show in the casino's books.

Taking advantage of gaming laws that allow him to work in a casino while his gaming licence is pending, Sam doubles the casino's profits, which are skimmed by the mafia before they are reported to income tax agencies.

Casino @ Wikipedia

2. Stealing from the Skim

The casino is owned by the Teamsters Union which is in turn controlled by the Chicago Mafia who want to "skim off" the cream of the money without the money coming to the attention of the tax authorities.

Being authorised to skim is one thing, that's OK by the Mafia who expect to get ALL the skim.

Stealing from the skim is stealing from the Mafia....that will get you killed.

  • It is worth mentioning that tax rates during and after WW2 were crazy high until probably Reagan. The Beatles song was about England I and I think it was 95% for amounts above some level, which of course affected the Beatles a lot. The USA was I believe as high as 90% and this may have persisted into the 1960s and beyond. So the skim amounted to very serious money indeed whereas today, it might not even be worth the risk especially taking into account modern methods of detection.
    – releseabe
    Commented Jan 22, 2022 at 6:01

Like most corporations, the The Tangiers Hotel Casino was (at least on paper) publicly owned by multiple entities and persons. The initial funding was provided by the Teamsters Union, which itself was controlled by the Chicago mob families. The union boss (Andy Stone) listened to and reported to the Dons. The Union received shares in the Casino and a dividend of the profits. The CEO of the Casino (Philip Green) was a clean guy they appointed & was a rubber stamp for all intents and purposes. The real controller on the ground was another mob affiliate appointed by the Teamsters: Ace Rothstein, the brilliant bookmaker.

So there's the network: the name sake CEO (Phil Green), the shareholders (Teamsters), the field controller (Ace), the real remote controllers (The Mob) and the muscle (Nicky Santoro).

The laws and regulations were set by the NGC, which itself held shady local characters. Even Ace could not get into the counting room, by law. The licensed men who worked the counting room, were appointed by John Nance, who was the Mob's courier. Nance could get in and leave once or twice a month with a bag & the cash skim. The skim was the cherry topping for the Mob and funded various activities.

No, they were not stealing from themselves literally. With the skim, they were stealing pre-tax revenue from the Casino, which in effect was stealing from both the Casino and taxes from the govt. off the books.


I believe that before the skim Tangiers was doing not really well. It may even belong to somebody else. By funding the New Tangiers the bosses could become de facto the directors and succeeded to put their men in (Green, Ace, the counting room skimmers). The film skimming steals taxes from the government which is tax evasion. That's why FBI got involved in the end.

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