Traditional cable subscriptions have dropped dramatically in the U.S. since 2015. Research shows that only 56% of people still pay for these services. Furthermore, out of those who were surveyed, 71% of people who no longer use cable or satellite TV claim that they unsubscribed because the content they want to see can be found online anyway. It’s fair to say that at this point online streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, and Hulu host the majority of the most popular shows and films (with Disney+ and Apple TV+ both keen to join the pack). Aside from the major productions that garner most of the attention however, these platforms are also prized for their variety. They host seemingly endless productions covering all manner of subjects and genres, such that there is content for everybody. One example of a subject you don’t see too many shows based on –– and really only a few prominent films –– is casino activity. Traditional studios tend to ignore the potential casino-centric stories might have, and instead bypass this genre altogether. Streaming platforms, however, do not have that same issue. To that point, there are a few casino-based shows across major platforms that are well worth checking out.
This show revolves around what life is like behind the scenes of Binion’s Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. This docuseries follows the staff of the establishment and shows what their daily lives working for the venue look like. Through this lens, the show tackles the reality of the Vegas party scene, from wild bachelor parties to the antics of rowdy high rollers. Thee show is described as one that exposes the “underbelly of Las Vegas,” and in this respect it really is quite eye-opening. So if you’ve ever been interested in Vegas behind the neon-lit curtain, give this one a watch! It’s streaming on Amazon Prime.
The second entry on this list is actually a film, albeit one on a streaming network. Specifically, it’s a scripted comedy depicting the life of small-time gamer Eddie (Jake Johnson) after he loses $20,000 of his friend’s money. Eddie attempts to “win it all” back before his friend is released from prison and finds out that the cash is missing. While the show plays out almost like a comedic spoof of Rounders, it also packs some legitimate poker scenes. Jake Johnson is known to be a player himself and worked to make the scenes realistic –– depicting how to play poker with strategies that are authentic to the experienced but accessible to beginners. Eddie knows how to value his hands and how to bet strategically, which makes the poker side of this otherwise-spooky film quite gripping. It’s an interesting film if you’re intrigued by poker, or if you just want a good laugh. You can find it streaming on Netflix (where it’s an original production).
A bit different from the last two shows on this list, Mob City is somewhat of a period piece that focuses on the rise of Bugsy Siegel (Eddie Burns), an American mobster who is credited with much of the development of the Las Vegas strip. This show is set in 1947, as Siegel opens the Flamingo Hotel while authorities try to hold him accountable for a life of crime. It’s a grippingly dramatic limited series styled as an old Hollywood noir –– which is both its strength and its weakness, as one review argued when the show was released. Regardless of how you feel about the effectiveness of the noir styling though (it can be a little strained at times), it’s easy to get swept up in Mob City’s depiction of the beginnings of Vegas as we now know it. The show was originally a TNT production, but is now available to rent on Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, or in the Google Play store. The next time you want to stream something a little different than what you see on cable or in theaters in an average week, consider one of these productions. Each one is a lot of fun in its own way.