Not Enough Movies About Australia’s Love Of Gambling

March 11, 2018
What is your favourite Australian gambling-themed movie? If you are struggling to come up with an answer – don’t be surprised. Australians seem to have an obsession with gambling, so it is surprising that very few movies have been produced dealing with gambling and Australian casinos.

Australians Love To Gamble

Gambling is one of the most popular recreational activities in Australia. In fact, four out of five Australians engage in some form of gambling whether it is online or offline. That figure is the highest in the world when compared to nearly 200 countries. There is some debate about why gambling is extremely popular in Australia.

Some experts believe it is due to the many venues that offer some form of gambling. There are more than 6,800 hotels, clubs, and pubs that offer betting to Australians and over 4,700 lottery outlets and over a dozen casinos spread across the country. Crown Resorts and Star Entertainment are two of the major casino operators that cater to the Australian market. Their casino resorts are spread across Australia and offer patrons a mix of gaming and non-gaming activities.

Australian Gambling Themed Movies: This is why it is surprising that movie producers have not picked up on Australia’s love for gambling and come out with more gambling related movies that have a link down under. We take a look at the few Australian gambling-themed movies that have been released over the years:

Oscar and Lucinda (1997)

This British-Australian film is in the romantic drama genre and was directed by Gillian Armstrong. The award-winning filmmaker has directed feature films and documentaries. It stars Cate Blanchett, Ralph Fiennes, Ciaran Hinds, and Tom Wilkinson and was nominated at the Academy Awards for Best costume Design.

The movie is also based on the Peter Carey novel that won the 1988 Booker Prize. It is told from the point of view of the great grandson of one of the film’s main characters named Oscar. Flashbacks are used to show the events that led to the great-grandson’s birth.

Lucinda Leplastrier is a wealthy heiress who buys a glass factory. She then starts gambling when she is introduced to casino games by her company’s accountant. As Oscar studies to become an Anglican clergyman, he ends up becoming a very successful gambler. This allows him to pay for his studies and donate money to charities. Oscar later meets Lucinda and explains to her that gambling is not a sin.

Oscar becomes addicted to gambling and loses his scholarship. He then works at Lucinda’s glass factory. They both bet their inheritance over the production of a glass church model. Oscar wins the wager yet dies when he falls asleep in the glass church.

As a result their friend Reverend Dennis Hasset becomes concerned that Oscar’s friend Miriam will inherit Lucinda’s wealth. So he burns the papers that verify the wager between Oscar and Lucinda.

This Victorian-era film is based on the reckless behaviour of two dreamers and gamblers. The movie includes an interesting plot about a pair of misfits’ lives. Oscar is ironically a religious person who has a gambling obsession while Lucinda enjoys poker games in particular.

Dirty Deeds (2002)

This movie was directed by David Caesar and was also shot in Australia. It was produced by Nine Films and Television of the free-to-air TV Nine Network.

Dirty Deeds is set in the late 1960s. It centres on the Australian mobster Barry Ryan who controls the gambling industry in Sydney and earns profits from casino slot machines. Barry’s business becomes very lucrative due to the surge of US soldiers who visit the Australian city for rest and relaxation in 1969 during the Vietnam War.

The American mafia notices Ryan’s profits and try to grab some of the profits. They send two henchmen including the older/thoughtful Tony and the younger/violent Sal. This situation requires Ryan to deal with many professional and personal issues. They include fighting off the “yanks” and tending to his wife and mistress.

The movie includes various sub-plots including a rival who wants to put the mobster Barry out of business. His problems get worse when the American mobsters Tony and Sal arrive in Australia. Barry is advised to get rid of the hitmen while not attracting more attention from the mafia.

Barry’s nephew Darcy becomes another issue the mobster must deal with. The Vietnam veteran does not want to become a gangster and falls in love with Barry’s mistress Margaret.

Broke (2016)

This is a drama directed by Heath Davis. It was filmed on location in Queensland and is about the ups and downs of Rugby League. It has won several international film awards including a Film Jury Award (Best Screenplay) at the 2016 Southeast New England (SENE) Film, Music, and Art Festival.

In recent years rugby league has been rocked with alleged match fixing and gambling addiction. “Broke” focuses on issues related to Australia’s hot issue of gambling and sport.  It takes up the lives of champion players who strive to keep winning after they stop playing rugby.

The movie is fictional. However the writer/director Heath Davis has shared that the motion picture is based on real-life rugby players he has known who became gambling addicts. Davis grew up in western Sydney and personally knew many ex-National Rugby League (NRL) players.

The movie not only has won praise from movie critics but also professionals who treat gambling addiction. They include counsellors of various groups who explained the movie addresses several issues that problem gamblers deal with including financial issues, depression, and relationship problems. Many counsellors remained optimistic that the movie will help to increase awareness about gambling addiction and reduce the stigmatisation associated with gambling.

Australian Movie Producers Must Take The Initiative

During the last decade, movie producers are focusing on the growing casino industry and coming up with scripts that revolve around gambling. Online gambling has also helped boost the overall gaming industry down under. A number of online casinos offer free spins and free slot games to encourage players to try their online casinos. If you would like to find out more about the Australian casino industry, you can sign up at AustralianCasinoClub

Considering Australia’s growing casino industry, it will not be very long before Australian casinos and gamblers start playing a bigger role in movies. The other thing that could happen is that Netflix could end up producing a TV Series revolving around Australian casinos – you never know! This would make it easy for Australians to watch free Netflix gambling dramas online.

For this to happen, it might take initiative from one of the Australian producers or directors to take a cue and develop an Australian themed gambling movie and delight millions of Australians who love to gamble.


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