Over the past few decades, filmmakers have included the casino industry as part of the plot in their movies. The excitement of the high-stakes bets has recreated an artistic representation of the gambling industry, featuring in action, thriller and even comedy movies. Scenes from these movies have also shown actors gambling on online casinos such as New Zealand casino bonuses, thereby increasing the popularity of casino-themed films.
Let’s have a look at 4 casino films that avid gamblers can learn from to get better at the game. All the movies discussed premiered in different decades, showing the timelessness of gambling phenomenon:

1. Cincinnati Kid (1965)

Steve McQueen who plays the main character Eric ‘The Kid’ Stoner, is obsessed with being the best card slinger in town. After easily winning a poker game at a table with thugs, Eric is quickly thrown out. He finds out that Howard is the current reigning poker champ, and immediately decides to challenge him. During the game, a deal is made between the dealer and one of the players called William.
William wins all the money with a queen-high straight flush, to the disappointment of Eric Stoner. He realises his luck has truly run out when he loses a coin toss with the shoe-shiner boy, which he had earlier won.

2. Goodfellas (1990)

Hollywood’s obsession with the gangster-themed movies could not have been depicted better than in Goodfellas directed by Martin Scorsese. The film is based on the story of Henry Hill, a half-Irish, half-Sicilian boy in Brooklyn who runs errands for the wise guys. Ray Liotta who plays Henry Hill, works tirelessly until he is accepted into the family.
Henry and his associates had over the years developed a knack for betting on college basketball. They would reach out to a player on the Boston College basketball team and convince them to save a few points. This way, the odds were tipped in their favour. ESPN captured this story in a 30 for 30 documentary titled, ‘Playing for the Mob’ in 2014.

3. Casino (1995)

Also directed by Martin Scorsese, Casino brings to the audience an inside perspective on what happens behind the scenes in Las Vegas. It outlines the massive greed for money, and how casinos bleed their customers dry. Robert De Niro, playing Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein, shows a gambler who does thorough research for all his bets, avoids bad picks and never loses. His winning streak catches the attention of the local mob who employ Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci) to protect him.
In the movie, Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein is heard saying, ‘In the casino, the cardinal rule is to keep them playing and keep them coming back. The more they play, the more they lose, and in the end, we get it all.’ This quote shows us how casinos continue to operate.

4. The Gambler (2014)

This movie begins with Mark Walberg who plays the character of Jim Bennett, sitting by his grandfather Ed (George Kennedy) who, on his deathbed, challenges Jim on how much he is worth. After his grandfather’s funeral, Jim finds himself in a casino where he loses all the money he had. He is approached by a loan shark who offers to extend to him a line of credit and before long, Jim owes him over $200,000.
A literature professor and gambling addict, Jim Bennet doesn’t quite understand when to quit, even when he is up. Things get even more scary for him when the loan sharks give him a seven-day ultimatum to pay up, failure to which there will be dire consequences.


Gambling has become a common backdrop for Hollywood movies, creating some of the most epic, intense and entertaining scenes. With the movies discussed above having been nominated or won awards, it is clear to see the synergies brought about by marrying filmmaking and gambling. It is inevitable that we will see more casino-themed movies, breathing new life into these two industries.