The Allure of James Bond and Casino Culture


Ian Fleming never anticipated that Casino Royal would continue to charm readers decades after its publication in 1953. From Skyfall and GoldenEye films to Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day; his characters continue to please readers of books, movies and games alike.



Casinos play an essential part in James Bond movies. From Sean Connery playing baccarat in Dr. No, to Pierce Brosnan duking it out with Le Chiffre at a poker table in GoldenEye – casino scenes convey both skill and confidence of 007 in combating Le Chiffre at GoldenEye; these scenes reflect Fleming’s philosophy that a good gambler could control fate as easily as their enemies.

Casino Royale (1962), the inaugural movie in the series, established James Bond as an icon associated with gambling casinos. While not the greatest in terms of quality cinematic experience, its opening scene – in a London casino featuring him sitting across from Sylvia Trench at a Baccarat table – would become iconic throughout subsequent Bond movies, solidifying him further as an international symbol.


Casinos are lively places that represent society’s attitudes about risk and reward. While associated with luxury and aspiration, they also show the reality of gambling addiction – creating an important dialogue about ethics and responsibility within society.

Casino scenes in James Bond movies boast a sleek, polished aesthetic that perfectly encapsulates his debonair, deviant persona. He plays numerous casino games throughout his films – with baccarat taking center stage in five films: Never Say Never Again, Dr. No, Thunderball, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Golden Eye.

Casino Royale premiered on CBS television in 1954 and followed James Bond as he visits Montenegro’s Casino Royale hotel where shadowy private banker Le Chiffre hosts a high stakes poker game to recover investor funds. Bond slyly observes his opponents for tells as they battle it out for victory and defeat, finally emerging victorious after an epic fight against Le Chiffre at its conclusion.


When it comes to espionage, few settings are more conducive to action than casinos. From Bond playing baccarat with Xenia Onatopp or poker with Le Chiffre to playing with other characters such as Q, card games provide plenty of tense moments as well as opportunities for sexual tension and innuendo – not forgetting Fleming’s themes of luck/fate/chance which appear throughout his books.

The 007 franchise has brought its East-meets-West action to global cities such as Tokyo (You Only Live Twice), Hong Kong (From Russia With Love: The Man With the Golden Gun) and Istanbul (Die Another Day). Casinos provide an ideal setting for Bond’s adventures, providing plenty of high-stakes confrontations and thrilling twists – an aspect which ensures his films and character remain popular years after their releases; their legacy reflecting both British imperial spy thriller and Hollywood blockbuster tradition with influences coming from B-movies, British New Wave films as well as film noir films from 1960s Eurospy cinema.


James Bond movies have seen him travel around the globe, from Tokyo (Die Another Day) and Shanghai (You Only Live Twice), to Hong Kong (Goldeneye, From Russia with Love, and Skyfall). 007’s journey takes him through exotic East locations such as Japan (Die Another Day), Shanghai (You Only Live Twice), and Hong Kong (Goldeneye, From Russia With Love and Skyfall). These iconic cities represent key components of his adventures.

Bond may be known for his gambling exploits, but he’s been involved with other activities at casinos as well. Smuggling diamonds through Africa to Montenegro to play poker against Le Chiffre; and uncovering an international diamond smuggling ring operating out of Amsterdam to London to Washington DC from Whyte House Hotel in Washington DC.

Casinos have long been a feature of Bond movies since Sean Connery made his first appearance as James Bond in Dr. No in 1962. That iconic film introduced viewers to him and his trademark for enjoying vodka martinis “shaken, not stirred”. However, ironically enough this phrase was coined by one of Bond’s waiters rather than himself!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *