The flashing lights, the sirens, the hum of conversation, and the thrill of placing a bet are all part of the allure of casinos. While gambling has been around for centuries, casinos began popping up in Italy in the 17th century. The Casino di Venezia, which opened in 1638 in Venice, is the world’s oldest casino, though it was originally known as Theatre Saint Moses. It offered guests the opportunity to gamble during theatrical production intermissions.
By the 19th century, casinos appeared all over Europe. In the United States, towns like Las Vegas and Reno in Nevada, and Atlantic City in New Jersey, became known for casinos and the infamous ties held to organized crime. Gambling itself had a reputation as a vice that could lead to other bad habits.
Hollywood’s own obsession with casinos has a long history as well. Classic film “Casablanca” features a casino as part of Rick Blaine’s nightclub. Throughout the next several decades, directors like Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Soderbergh tried their hand at movies about the appeal of gambling and the casinos that supported the lifestyle.
OLBG researched the history of casinos on screen and put together a list of 20 of the best casino films. To be included, movies had to have important scenes take place in a casino, and the film had to have at least a 6.0 on IMDb or a 65 on Metacritic.