Top 3 Casino-Related Movies Filmed In Canada


Regardless of the type of movies you enjoy, gambling movies are likely to carry some kind of appeal as there are multiple ways to spin the plot. Even some of the gambling scenes in non-gambling movies usually emerge as some of the most distinctive moments throughout the film.  

In Canada, the casino business is incredibly vast, and no doubt will continue to expand for years to come. This, of course, presents a perfect platform for most casino-related movies, three of which we will detail below.

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1. The Last Casino

One of the most iconic movies in the casino arena is The Last Casino. This movie, and another Hollywood favorite, 21, have many similarities in their storylines. They’re both loosely constructed from a true story. The story of the famous 1979  MIT Blackjack Team, led by Bill Kaplan that managed to multiply $1,000 into $35,000 in a mere nine months, is a famous one. He had apparently fashioned a mathematical formula to beat the system and assure their success. 

The actual movie centers around an MIT professor named Doug Barnes who trains three gifted students who seem to have rather impressive memorization abilities to read and count cards. Seeing as he’s banned from the local casinos, in Quebec and Ontario, he has to resort to recruiting a few students to help him capitalize on a $1,000 investment and pay off his sizable debt, particularly after losing a finger to his usurer. 

The movie ends with everyone going their separate ways after the students discover that Barnes had in fact lied about the amount of debt owed.

Unfortunately for him, this movie was filmed in 2004. Had it been filmed 18 years later, when Ontario online casinos are all legal, his attempts may have been way less complicated and risky (makes sense if you get where we’re going with this).


2. Owning Mahowny

Owning Mahowny is yet another iconic casino-based film based on a true story. Mahowny is played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, a Toronto bank employee. This seemingly innocent and honest man surprisingly is revealed to be a compulsive gambler who stole approximately $10 million from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce’s accounts to pay off his bookie and fund his numerous visits to the casinos. 

With encouragement from the corrupt casino boss, Mahowny’s debts begin to accumulate, to such a degree that they’re no longer able to fly under the radar, and consequently, his life spins out of control. If you had hoped for a happy ending for Mahowny, prepare to be disappointed.

Albeit, the movie is quite entertaining and compelling, though it may repel your affinity for gambling … if any.

3. Lucky Girl

Lucky Girl, released in 2001, stars Elisha Cuthbert (who plays Kaitlyn) and Sherry Miller. This film details the life of a high school student by the name of Kaitlyn, whose gambling obsession results in an accumulation of debt and sparks severe tension within her family. 

Her addiction is brought on by a need to garner funds for an upcoming trip to Amsterdam with her friends. After winning a magic-wand lottery ticket and a poker game at a birthday party, Kaitlyn begins to see the appeal of gambling, and she soon gets involved in sports betting. Of course, things begin to go south as she loses money. She resorts to stealing from her family and develops an addiction. At this point, her losses are piling up as much as her debts and her life begins to take a downward plunge. 

Things become even direr for the young gambler, as she continues to make rather poor choices which, of course, land her in even worse states than before. In the end, it’s her family who comes to her rescue.

Quick Take

All three of these movies seem to have a general outlook when it comes to gambling, or rather the addiction it may foster and the repercussions that can follow. It may start off as innocent and harmless, but may veer off course and cause damage to so many other aspects of life. There are many other casino-related movies not mentioned here that shed even more light on the dangers of improper betting practices.

The transition to online betting has made it even easier and more convenient to place wagers, hence, potential gamblers will need to be more vigilant in exercising restraint and betting with caution. As most films have shown, there is always the opportunity to win big. However, there is also an equal opportunity to lose big as well. 

If there are any takeaways to be had from these movies, it would be this; as with most things, gambling should be done in moderation… and definitely not with other people’s funds.