The Untold Story of Nicky Santoro, the Mobster Behind the Movie Casino

If you’re a fan of gangster movies, chances are you’ve seen “Casino.” The 1995 film, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone, follows the rise and fall of Sam “Ace” Rothstein, a Jewish-American gambling expert who’s tasked with running the Tangiers casino in Las Vegas for the Chicago mob.

But while the character of Ace may be fictitious, many of the events depicted in the film are based on real-life events. And one of the most fascinating characters in the movie is Nicky Santoro, Ace’s childhood friend and enforcer for the Chicago outfit.

So who was Nicky Santoro in real life, and what led him to become one of the most feared men in Las Vegas?

Nicky Santoro was born Anthony Spilotro in Chicago in 1938. He grew up in a tough neighborhood on the city’s West Side, and by the time he was a teenager, he was already involved in illegal activities.

In 1962, Spilotro was recruited by the Chicago mob to help run their Las Vegas operations. He quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a trusted enforcer for mob boss Tony Accardo and earning a reputation for his brutality.

In the early 1970s, Spilotro was sent to Las Vegas to oversee the outfit’s operations in the city. He quickly became one of the most feared men in town, using his violent tactics to intimidate casino owners and employees.

It’s no surprise, then, that Spilotro is believed to be the inspiration for Nicky Santoro in “Casino.” Like his movie counterpart, Spilotro was a childhood friend of Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, a gambling expert who helped run several casinos in Las Vegas for the outfit.

But while Nicky Santoro’s storyline in the movie focuses on his affair with Ginger McKenna (played by Sharon Stone), Spilotro’s personal life was just as tumultuous. In addition to his wife Nancy, he was also involved with a woman named Antoinette Giancana, the daughter of Chicago boss Sam Giancana.

In the end, it was Spilotro’s penchant for violence and his arrogance that led to his downfall. In 1986, he and his brother Michael were invited by their associates to a house in Bensenville, Illinois, where they were beaten to death and buried in a cornfield.


  • Gina

    a passionate wordsmith, breathes life into her keyboard with every stroke. Armed with a keen eye for detail and a love for storytelling, she navigates the digital landscape, crafting engaging content on various topics. From technology to travel, his blog captivates readers, leaving them yearning for more.

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Lean Blog by Crimson Themes.