There are lots of elements which are common to virtually all gangster movies – including guns, violence, bonding and rivalry, but most of the also seem to feature a scene set in a casino at some point. One of the reasons why this is the case is that so many of the gangster films are set in Las Vegas – including Casino by Martin Scorsese and the Bugsy Siegel biopic starring Warren Beatty. Gangsters and organised crime are central to the story of Las Vegas, and therefore of casino gambling, making the two a natural fit in movie terms.
It should be remembered that Siegel actually created Las Vegas, thus the mob ties to the resort – although now purely historical – are extremely strong, and this naturally makes an interesting subject for filmmakers. Realistically you can’t have a film in Las Vegas which doesn’t feature at least one casino scene, but even those which don’t take place in Sin City usually have one. Again the reason for this is partly because in other cities gangsters have often competed over running the casino gambling industry – while of course casinos also provide a glamorous and exciting backdrop, as well as a metaphor for the risk involved in crime. Part of the enduring popularity of casino gambling is that it provides the law abiding amongst us with a taste of that risk.
It was widely predicted at one point that the rising success of online casinos would lead to the death of land-based ones, but in fact the two coexist very comfortably. After all both allow for classic games such as roulette. However in terms of movies, the land based casino is always going to be king, with the great casinos in cities like Vegas still having that Hollywood magic.