Casinos are not the booming business they once were. While the glamour and sleaze of Vegas remains as alluring as ever, the fact is that the average casino is making less from poker and blackjack than it was twenty years ago, and millennials are not frequenting gambling establishments as often as their parents did at their age. It’s not just a poor economy that is to blame, however. In an increasingly online world, poker players and slot fans would rather have the comfort of gambling in their own homes.
In fact, statistics suggest that as many as 128 million people regularly play on online casinos in the West. The online casino industry brings £2.8 billion to the UK economy alone – a figure which will only rise with the growing popularity and convenience of playing online casino games on mobile devices. Traditional casinos are bound to lose a chunk of players to the online world, but the unique experience of visiting a casino can’t ever be entirely trumped by internet competitors.
The fun lies not just in the game but in dressing up in fine attire, soaking up the glamorous atmosphere, enjoying cocktails, socializing with friends and hearing the thrilling sound of slot machines and chips shuffling. I mean – can you real beat feeling like you’re in a Bond movie? The following movies showcase some of the most beautiful and famous casinos in the world which, though sometimes depicting a fictional place, can be visited today.
So next time you head to Monaco, Vegas or New York – why not check out the filming locations to some of the most iconic gambling scenes in cinema history?
Monte Carlo Casino, Casino Royale
The 2006 revisit to Ian Fleming’s first novel, ‘Casino Royale’, was the film to debut Daniel Craig as Bond. Critically acclaimed as an exhilarating ride of a movie, and lauded for taking the Bond franchise in a modern, more serious direction; ‘Casino Royale’ is also the favourite of the franchise for poker fans thanks to its many casino scenes and poker-centric plot. While the story takes place in Montenegro, no filming actually occurred there. Instead, the crew used a luxurious hotel and casino resort in the town of Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic ,in its filming of the exterior and interior of the casino.
The casino as described in Fleming’s original story, however, can be found in neither Montenegro or Czech Republic. Fleming placed the fictional casino’s location in the French seaside town of Royale-les-Eaux. The inspiration behind the extravagant and luxurious casino, meanwhile, was none other than the world famous Monte Carlo casino in Monaco. This unique gambling establishment boasts a fascinating history, having been commissioned by Monaco’s Royal Family in 1856. Located amidst the glitzy Monaco nightlife, it’s no surprise Fleming used the casino as inspiration for the sophisticated establishment at the centre of the plot in Casino Royale.
Bellagio, Ocean’s 11
One of the highest grossing films of 2001, and a movie that spawned two similarly successful sequels, Ocean’s 11 will forever remain a classic and one of the best heist flicks of all time. There casino in the slick first installment of the series is the famous five-star hotel and casino Bellagio. The insanely ambitious heist plan sees Danny Ocean and his team attempt to rob the casino’s vault for its $180 million in cash. Though the casino in Ocean’s 11 is both real and as grand as the movie makes it seem – the security system depicted in the movie was fictionalized. It’s nonetheless safe to assume that the real Bellagio has an equally extensive security system in place.
Fans of the iconic De Niro crime drama, Casino, will be pleased to know there are multiple filming locations from the movie that can be visited today during a trip to Vegas. In fact, Thrillist compiled a list of them. The casino featured in the film was the fictional Tangiers, but its filming location – the luxurious Landmark Hotel – has sadly been demolished. The interior, meanwhile, was filmed at the Riviera…which, last year, was also blown up. Maybe there’s a curse on Martin Scorsese filming locations. In either case, you can still head to the Atomic Liquors bar and Oscar’s Steakhouse featured in film if you find yourself passing through Vegas.
Hard Rock Casino, 21
21 depicts the true story of a group of MIT students who won millions beating casinos with their advanced BlackJack card counting techniques. Several casinos were used as filming locations, including Planet Hollywood, the Red Rock Casino, and Hard Rock Casino – all of which are in Las Vegas and can be visited today. In reality, the infamous card-counting students made money at casinos all across the country in an attempt to keep a low profile.
Siwanoy Country Club, Rounders
Most of the scenes from the cult classic Rounders are filmed in New York – and not at casinos. Fans of the poker flick can still visit the location of the memorable poker game between Damon and the golfers at the real life Siwanoy Country Club, Bronxville in New York.
Caesar’s Palace, The Hangover
The Hangover is far from the only movie to have been partly filmed at the iconic Caesar’s Palace, but certainly one of the most memorable after Zach Galifianakis’ line “Did Caesar live here?”. To be fair – the opulent gambling establishment would arguably have been fit for the Roman Emperor, with its its many statues, columns and marblesque interior. Even if you’re not one for gambling, you can check out the casino for its music venue, where entertainers as big as Mariah Carey and legends as iconic as Frank Sinatra have performed.
Pop in for a drink, a turn on roulette or just a bit of sightseeing at these gambling locations, where you can stand where the stars stood and feel like a wealthy high-roller yourself.