The Relationship Between Casino Games and Popular Movies

min read
three well dressed men sitting around a green felt poker table smoking cigars, drinking and playing poker, playing cards are flying in the air
BetMGM Jun 13, 2023, 3:59 AM

Casino games and popular movies have influenced each other a great deal over the years. Many people’s perceptions of gambling are influenced by the movies – think about the iconic Texas Hold’em poker scene in Daniel Craig’s remake of Casino Royale (in the original movie it was baccarat) – and movies, in turn, have had an influence on gambling games, especially online slots though movie tie-ins. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship that drives the broader entertainment industry to new heights, year after year. But it also has a downside. Let’s take a closer look at the ins and outs of this fascinating symbiotic relationship.

Popular Movies Influenced by Gambling Culture

The best casino movies are successful because they combine A-list actors, nail-biting plots and the heightened suspense that comes naturally from games such as poker, blackjack, baccarat and roulette. They appeal to a broad audience of both actual gamblers and curious bystanders. As a result, these movies rake in profits worthy of the most successful casinos, making them popular not only with audiences but also with studio execs! A great example is Rounders, released in 1998, with Matt Damon cast as a talented poker player who is forced to enter the underground gambling world to pay off a debt. Damon played the part to perfection, and the movie was such a hit that he followed up on its success with a starring role in the 2001 release Ocean’s Eleven alongside George Clooney, the mastermind who’s focused on pulling off a massive heist involving three Las Vegas casinos. Widely regarded as one of the best casino movies of all time, Ocean’s Eleven received widespread critical and commercial acclaim, followed by the release of two sequels.

Do Gamblers Like Casino Movies?

The short answer is yes. People who enjoy gambling and high-stakes casino games are some of the biggest fans of popular casino movies set in smoke-filled rooms where gamblers stare each other down at the gaming tables. People who enjoy a good game of poker or high-stakes gambling naturally enjoy watching other characters take risks and to see how they end up playing out. Sometimes those risks are too extreme and have tragic, even fatal consequences, other times the risks pay off with hilarious results. Often there’s a lesson to be learned, too. One of the best casino movies that can teach all gamblers something about life is Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Starring Steve Martin, Michael Caine and Glenne Headly, this side-splitting satirical comedy is set in a casino resort on the French Riviera. Two professional con men are fighting over a mark (a wealthy heiress who appears to have more money than sense) only to have their schemes backfire when it turns out that she’s been playing them all along. Anybody who plays gambling games that involve bluffing (I’m looking at you, poker players) should watch this movie repeatedly!

Movies That Became Casino Games

Gambling games have done a lot for Hollywood, and Hollywood has returned the favor. The genre of online slots specifically has seen a lot of movie tie-ins. Some of the most iconic examples are derived from movies that have nothing to do with gambling as such but do portray human beings in high-risk, do-or-die situations. The parallel with gambling is obvious. Slot games take the most iconic elements from these movies – the heroes, the villains, the monsters, the locations – and represent them as slot game symbols in HD graphic quality along with cutting-edge sound, creating an immersive atmosphere for gamers to enjoy. Movies that have inspired slots include thrillers such as Gladiator, Rocky, Scarface, The Dark Knight and Jurassic Park. Sometimes entire movie genres are reflected in slot games – vampire movies, for example, which are perfectly distilled in Immortal Romance, a smash-hit slot that also has a video bingo spin-off. Even classic casino table games are being influenced by the movies. There’s an online roulette version of Terminator 2, for example. These popular games all have one thing in common: they allow people to indulge in the suspense of the greatest movies without having to leave their homes. The trend for online casino games to have movie themes is unlikely to end any time soon.

What Movies Get Wrong About Gambling

As entertaining as the casino theme may be, often TV series and movies get some things about gambling wrong. They often show the gambling industry in a false light, glamorizing gambling as a means to get rich quickly and portraying casino owners as ruthless mobsters. (Probably one of the most influential movies in this regard is Casino, starring Al Pacino.) The fact is that while there’s undoubtedly a historical connection between the Las Vegas Strip and mobsters such as Bugsie Segal, today’s casinos are respectable, well-run corporations that have zero tolerance for crime. Gambling to make money instead of having fun is actively discouraged. Land-based and online casinos typically have responsible gaming programs in place that people can use to get help if they have a gambling problem. You can bet that if you put real-life Matt Damon or Daniel Craig in a game of poker, they would know when to stop, shake hands and call it a night.

Play Hard and Safe With BetMGM

Having fun doesn’t mean disregarding all the rules and setting fire to the guide. On the contrary – when used well – simple rules and guidelines support and sustain the success of a game, much like security on a rollercoaster. You don’t want to be flying upside down without a safety belt and you wouldn’t want to do the same with your life savings. Register with BetMGM so you can enjoy gambling the smart way.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.