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In 1973, sports handicapper and Mafia associate Sam "Ace" Rothstein is sent by the Chicago Mafia to Las Vegas, Nevada to run the Tangiers Casino. Front man Philip Green serves as the casino and hotel CEO, but Sam unofficially runs everything. Sam quickly doubles the casino's profits, with cash skimmed directly from the count room before it is tallied and delivered to the Midwest Mafia bosses. Chicago boss Remo Gaggi sends Sam's childhood friend and mob enforcer Nicky Santoro to protect Sam and the casino. Nicky makes sure everyone is kept in line, but his own criminal activities start drawing too much media and law enforcement attention. He recruits his younger brother Dominick and childhood friend Frankie Marino to gather a crew that specializes in loan sharking, shakedowns, safe cracking and jewelry store burglaries. Nicky is eventually placed in the Nevada Black Book, banning him from every casino in Nevada.