When you’ve been watching movies for a long time, the chances are you’re likely to have seen a movie in which gambling is a key component of the plot or in which there is a gambling scene. There’s long been a connection between gambling and movies, one which has existed in various forms. Firstly, as mentioned, gambling makes for a terrific theme for a movie (the adventure of casino and the consequences, for instance, create thrilling entertainment); secondly, movie stars often feature in advertising for gambling services; and thirdly, slot developers produce lots of slots that have themes based on movies, such as on superhero movies. Below is a look at the rise in gambling online and offline, followed by a discussion of some of the best gambling scenes in movies.
The rise in gambling
Online gambling is getting bigger and bigger. In a press release published online in Bloomberg, it was reported that the online gambling market was forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.56% during 2022-2028. Economic events such as the recession of 2008 to 2009 and the Eurozone debt crisis of 2011 to 2012 is thought to have boosted the prospects of the online gambling market. Increased gamification of online gambling, the introduction of virtual and augmented realities, and the growing number of live casinos across the world are all considered driving factors. If you’re looking for a good online gaming site, why not try visiting the website of a company that evaluates online gaming operators first and then decide where to play online.
In the UK, the nation’s Gambling Commission reported that in the year up to March 2022, overall participation in gambling had increased to 43% and that in-person participation had increased to 26%. The executive body explained on its website that a return to in-person gambling activities such as sports betting, horse races, slots and bingo had driven the increase.
Gambling scenes in the movies
Today, a lot of moviemakers incorporate casino scenes or other gambling scenes into their films. There’s no two ways about it: gaming is exciting. When a film features a gaming scene, the audience experiences the rush of gaming without putting any money on the line themselves. The psychological impact of a gaming scene helps the scene, not to mention the movie, stick in the audience’s mind. Below are some of the best gambling scenes in movies.
“Swingers” shows a blend of old and new Vegas, and stars a young-looking Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau as wannabe actors who hit Vegas and become casino regulars. They mistakenly sit down to a high rollers blackjack table, lose their stake and almost all of the betting money they have in one game. Then, in comic fashion, they witness an elderly lady hit a 21 and beat the dealer over on the lower stakes blackjack table they’ve chosen to game on.
Rain Man (1998)
“Rain Man” is the classic “walk into a casino as a broke everyday Joe but come out of it a millionaire” type of movie. In this case, it’s Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman, with Cruise starring as Charlie, who takes his autistic brother (played by Hoffman) on a road trip to Las Vegas. Charlie’s car dealership is failing badly, so he and Hoffman drop in on a casino in Nevada. What he and no one else expects is for Charlie’s brother to have sharp mathematical and card counting skills, and soon Hoffman has a large pile of chips in front of him.
Casino Royale (2005)
In this outing starring Daniel Craig as the debonair British spy, Bond takes on the international arms dealer Le Chiffre at a high stakes poker game that has a million dollar buy-in. The scene is incredibly tense as Bond has to survive food poisoning and a heart attack before beating his opponents. The look of surprise on the villain’s face when Bond returns to the table and explains “Oh, I’m sorry. That last hand… Nearly killed me.” is priceless.
“Goodfellas,” starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and the late Ray Liotta, tells the true story of Henry Hill and his life in the mafia. This classic gangster movie spoils the audience with memorable scenes, especially the “Funny Guy” scene, and the gambling scene is truly shocking. The nasty Tommy DeVito, played by Pesci, has a terrifying presence that brings more tension to the table than the card game itself. After a minor misunderstanding with a waiter, DeVito first shoots him in the foot and later, after getting cross with the waiter again, shoots the waiter dead at the card table at almost pointblank range. Even his colleagues are shocked by his actions.
Gambling creates excitement in real life and in the movies, which is why filmmakers incorporate scenes in casinos or of other gambling into their movies. If you’ve not seen the films above, why not check them out for their incredible gambling scenes.