Casinos in Sci-Fi Movies: A Good Mix?

Casinos have been part of human life since the middle ages. So, it is no surprise that gambling for money is one of the periodic recreational activities. Today, we can all play anytime and anywhere using only our internet-enabled smartphones!

Gambling has also made it onto the cinema screens as well as into literature due to its more or less normal presence. While James Bond was already playing roulette or punto banco years ago, numerous filmmakers seem to be convinced that gambling for money will continue in the distant future. Therefore, various games with cash prizes or the like are also organized in numerous science fiction film universes. Today’s article is about these gambling and NZ casino games in science fiction universes.

Star Wars

Sabacc is a card game played in the Star Wars universe. It was probably one of Han Solo’s and Lando Calrissian’s game night ideas since these two characters are particularly adept sabacc players. If you look at the rules of the game at Sabacc, parallels to our blackjack inevitably come to mind. For example, there are different versions of Sabacc, and the gameplay is similar to blackjack.

When playing Sabacc, just like playing blackjack, you have to reach a certain card value with your playing cards or come as close as possible to it. What’s more, if you reach this value exactly, then you win the game round. But poker also seems to have had an influence on the Sabacc played in the Star Wars universe because in this game, you can also win by bluffing.

Star Trek

Star Trek is probably one of the most successful science fiction films of all time. Decades ago, back in the days when James Kirk was in command of the bridge of the Enterprise, there was poker going on. At that time, it was the ship’s doctor Leonard McCoy who organized the poker club on the Enterprise and ultimately also taught the Vulcan Spock. Rumours even say that there was a weekly poker night on the Enterprise of the time.

These rumours persist, as the same is said about the poker club in Star Trek: The Next Century. This poker club included first officer William T. Riker, ship’s doctor Dr. Katherine Pulaski, Data, Geordi La Forge and Miles O’Brien. It is said that poker was so popular in the Star Trek universe that it was also played by Klingons, Romulans and other species.

Hunger Games

We can observe a slightly different kind of casino game in the science fiction universe of the Hunger Games. The first three volumes, first published as a book and later filmed, revolve around a bleak future. North America was largely destroyed by wars and catastrophes, and people lived in the newly created state of Panem. The Capitol is populated with wealthy residents, and the 12 districts are kept happy after a rebellion in the true Roman fashion of “bread and circuses.”

This hunger games consist of battles for pure survival. Randomly, the game chooses a boy and a girl from each area. However, before the fights begin, each participant must complete an individual demonstration. So, viewers can evaluate his chance of winning. Then wealthy Capitol residents bet on the winner, just like online sports bets!

In Time

The film In time is gripping and incredibly exciting. In this future, people will only live for a very limited time. People can extend their lifetime or even inherit it. Lifetime is the absolute currency in this movie. The poor try everything to buy themselves time, while the rich live almost indefinitely.

Lifetime also serves as a stake in gambling due to the money replacement. Will Salas finds out by playing poker in a casino. In doing so, he takes a whole 1,100 years from his opponent Phillipe Weis! This is where the adventurous journey of Will and Sylvia, Phillipe’s daughter, begins and together, they set out to change the rules of the world.


Gambit is a very special hero of the X-Men universe. His real name is Remy LeBeau, and he is one of the mutants with very special superpowers. He can charge objects with kinetic energy, and his favourite items include playing cards.

In the movie Wolverine, Logan stumbles upon Gambit in a casino for a reason. Because playing is almost part of everyday life for Gambit, who hails from New Orleans. The two X-Men heroes even fight part of their fight on the roof of the casino.

Batman Forever

Starting from here, all of the following films are classics. The first great classic movie is Batman Forever. Although it is not primarily about casinos and gambling, in one scene, Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson visit a casino called Penguin’s Lair. The two don costumes and take on the Penguin’s goons. It’s a wonderful and fun scene, worth watching only for the magnificence of the costumes!

Total Recall

Total Recall is one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best films. This movie has an interesting plot where people can implant their own memories in their brains. In one interesting scene in this movie, Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) visits the casino to test his implanted memories. In fact, it is a wonderful scene, and you will find yourself watching it more than once.

Although we mentioned earlier that this part is only for classic movies, this particular movie is suitable for all casino players s who love both old and new movies as it is fun to see your memories in the casino from the window of the future.

Blade Runner

Blade Runner is a 1982 movie starring Harrison Ford. The film takes place in the dystopian future of Los Angeles in the year 2019. At this time, synthetic humans “Replicants” work as in the space colonies! However, the master-slave pattern does not last long as a group of advanced clones led by Roy Bate (Hauer) escape to Earth. Then professional cop Rick Deckard (Ford) agrees to hunt down the rogue clones. In one of the movie scenes, Deckard meets a clone named Rachel at a casino and has a heated conversation. Although it was a quick scene, it is one of the most memorable scenes in the movie.

Written by Rob Nelson

Rob is an ecologist from the University of Hawaii. He is the co-creator and director of Untamed Science. His goal is to create videos and content that are entertaining, accurate, and educational. When he's not making science content, he races whitewater kayaks and works on Stone Age Man.

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