How classic casino movies might look today

March 9, 2020
Even for those who don’t like to gamble, there’s something glamorous about a casino. It’s unsurprising, then, that Hollywood has long been setting films in casinos. But the world of gambling has changed in recent years, particularly with the rise of online gambling sites.

So, what would these classic films look like if they were set in the present day?

Casino Royale

Casino Royale is based on Ian Fleming’s very first James Bond book. Bond is out to thwart Le Chiffre, a banker for the world’s villains and a poker enthusiast, who plans to win big on a game and use the winnings to fund his criminal clients’ evil endeavours – Bond’s mission is to win instead. The film follows Bond as he attempts to discern Le Chiffre’s tell, keep his identity and agenda a secret, and protect those who Le Chiffre is targeting. Nowadays, Le Chiffre might prefer to avoid all that hassle and bet online from his luxury yacht. He might take up one of the special offers in this NZ betting guide, where sites offer up to $1000 free credit upon signing up for slots games. Chancing his luck at slots has the added bonus that 007 cannot beat him to the jackpot – or so he thinks!

Ocean’s 11

The first film in the Ocean franchise features an all-star cast including George Clooney as protagonist Danny Ocean, Julia Roberts as Tess Ocean, Brad Pitt as Rusty Ryan, and also Casey Affleck, Matt Damon, and Don Cheadle. Danny and Rusty plan to simultaneously rob three cash-stuffed Las Vegas casinos with the help of a motley crew of specialists to break their way into the vaults. Needless to say, not everything goes to plan, and the action is riveting as their plan begins to unravel, or so it seems… Rather than a daring and dangerous heist, nowadays Ocean and co. might instead try to hack an online casino, using complex tech and computing skills to whisk away millions undetected.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Based on the semi-autobiographical novel by legendary ‘gonzo’ journalist Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a drugs-fuelled inversion of the American Dream. Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and his attorney Dr Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro) – who fuels the orgy of law-breaking more than anyone – plan to head to Las Vegas and win big on the casinos, enjoying all the pleasures that life has to offer along the way. But their hippie dream quickly turns into a nightmare, as they battle hallucinatory bats in the desert, as well as a host of oddball characters and nameless anxieties. Safe to say the duo could probably avoid all those bad vibes by simply gambling online – but as pursuers of authentic experience, they might prefer to play live online games rather than purely virtual ones.

Casino!” by David Baxendale (CC BY-ND 2.0)


You know Casino is going to be a good gangster movie as soon as you see it features Joe Pesci, Robert De Niro, and director Martin Scorsese, the star trio from Goodfellas and The Irishman. Casino is the story of the fictional mob-controlled Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas. The glamour of it all is quickly revealed to be a veneer though, as mafia politics and the FBI put the heat on Ace (De Niro) and Nicky (Pesci), the casino’s owner and enforcer respectively. They struggle against losing it all as the futility and fatality of a criminal lifestyle is depicted expertly on screen. There’s no doubt that Ace would be looking to expand into the online market today, perhaps even exploiting the low traceability of crypto-currency transactions (which some online casinos have been experimenting with in recent years), in an attempt to hide their money from the FBI.

With a lot of the casino industry now taking place online, these classic films would find plenty of new avenues for drama.

Main Photo: “Dunes Hotel and Casino, 1980s” by Roadsidepictures (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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