How casino has been immortalised through pop culture
As the years have gone by, since the initial creation of the brick-and-mortar casino, the gambling hub has made several bold progressions. The internet took the gambling world by storm, transforming the way we play, win and enjoy our favourite casino classics, especially on sites such as Megalotto. With this, the popularity of the casino began to increase, and this was soon to be reflected in pop culture around the world!
The majority of the best casino references come in the form of hit songs, and casino-loving singers, so that’s where we will start! Along with a few honourable movie mentions.
We’re sure you’ll agree that no casino compilation would be complete without the late, great Frank Sinatra. Sinatra was a frequent visitor to the Las Vegas casinos throughout the 1960s, also performing his music in a lot of these locations on his travels. Before his love affair with Vegas, Sinatra had released the well-known jazz classic Luck Be A Lady, where he is heard begging for the casino gods to be on his side as he goes on to place a potentially risky bet.
Sinatra also went on to play the prolific gambler Nathan Detroit in the 1955 classic Guys and Dolls. You just can’t stay away, can you Frank?
Known as the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley performed many Vegas-themed songs based on the bright lights and ringing bells that we’ve grown to love. Presley’s most notable contribution to casino-based pop culture is arguably his soft and gentle heartthrob role in the 1963 film Viva Las Vegas, also penning a song of the exact same name. The film sees the star play an out-luck race car driver who is on a relentless quest to win enough cash at the casino to buy himself a new car. The accompanying song paints a glamorous image of “a thousand pretty women” with a “whole lot of money that’s ready to burn” weighing down the protagonist’s pockets, accentuating the already established Vegas image.
Presley also released another gambling-themed anthem in 1968, called A Little Less Conversation. At this time, Presley had already played the Las Vegas stages on a regular basis, being known across the strip and earning a firm association with the flashing lights of Sin City. The song’s main message is of a gambler begging for “a little less conversation, a little more action please”, referring to the game at hand. It also went on to be featured in numerous films, including a resurgent remix of the track being used in that iconic Ocean’s Eleven scene.
When it comes to casinos on the big screen, our first thought is almost always the elusive 007. In 2006, Casino Royale was released as the next instalment in the Bond series, showing our suave protagonist outwitting his enemies over a devious game of Poker. We see Bond sit at the table with the three other men, and watch in horror as all four players go all in, convinced that they each hold the winning combination. The real nail-biting moment comes at the finale of the film, as we see the use of “bluffing” being demonstrated in their game. “Bluffing” is when a player acts as if they have the winning hand, regardless of whether they actually do or not, in order to coax the other player(s) into backing down, or making riskier decisions. This can often play a key part in any Poker game, as the nature of the game is often known to be a flurry of misdirection and misinformation. Of course, as the movie comes to a climax, Bond reveals the winning hand – hooray for our hero!