Best miami slots casino moments in films - has anyone won?

In the world of cinema, there’s nothing like the thrill and glamor of a casino setting. The hum of slot machines, the click of roulette wheels, and the sizzle of blackjack tables all provide a soundtrack to some of the most memorable scenes ever committed to film.

And what casino sets them off better than a slots cabinet or two? These towering metal boxes hold the secret to untold riches and dreams, the very symbols of hope and possibility themselves. But which are the greatest moments featuring these iconic gaming machines?

Let’s take a look at 5 of the best and ask ourselves an important question along the way: were any real money wins recorded during filming?

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MiAMI SLOTS CASINO in The Gambler (1974)

Based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel and starring legendary cool guy James Caan, this movie follows the fortunes of Alex Stivaly, a math teacher with a gambling problem.

After borrowing $30,000 from the college Dean and promising to repay it within a few days, Stivaly heads to a downtrodden beachside casino called Miami Slots to win back the money. Here he engages in a series of high-stakes roulette games, while also finding time to visit the slot machines for a quick spin.

In one scene, we see him playing a 3-reel, currency-operated machine called ‘Wheely Good Time’, produced by Hofman Machines Inc. Of North Hollywood, California, of all places.

The game features a brightly colored, clown-themed cabinet with the motto: “Tickling Your Fancy”, as well as a large wooden wheel above the screen offering additional prizes.

Stivaly hits the jackpot on this crazy machine, winning a tasty $250, only to donate part of it to a little girl outside who is selling ‘Wheelly Good Time’ cookies. What a guy!

Sadly, the poor schmuck loses everything else he earns during the movie, eventually ending up owing money to some shady characters named ‘The Boys’. Things get even worse when he goes to collect his gambling winnings from a football match, only to find they have been pocketed by said dean.

All in all, then, not such a lucky soul after all.

Was anyone in the cast lucky enough to hit a big win on set? Unfortunately, no real money was involved during filming, with fake coins and tokens used throughout.

But let’s face it, James Caan probably had plenty of stories to share from an earlier gamble the previous year, when his favorite football team, the Miami Dolphins, surprisingly lost to the ABC Wide World of Sports Jackonsville Jaguars. We can but imagine the amount of that he put on the game…

Oceans 13 Miami Slots Casino Scene

We move on to Ocean’s Thirteen, the third installment in Steven Soderbergh’s sleek, stylish heist trilogy, which finds our heroic gang of conmen and rogues attempting to bring down their once-loyal friend, the ruthless casino owner Willie Bank (played by the brilliant Elliot Gould).

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After learning that Bank has double-crossed them yet again, Danny Ocean (George Clooney), Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) and the rest of the crew hatch a plot to ruin the businessman by conspiring with other casinos to drain his funds.

But there’s a catch: they must first help the dorky new owner of the Bellagio, a man named Charles Wetherfield (newbie to acting Shaun Castle), to launch his big opening night. And so, the Ocean’s gang find themselves hanging out in a couple of the town’s finest virtual casinos…

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First up is MGM Grand’s Liberty Slots, where Pitt’s character Rusty tries out a futuristic-looking cabinet called the ‘Cabaret Celebration’ by Bally Technologies.

Featuring a plush red chair, dancing showgirls on the screen and the voice of Raquel Welch inviting the player to ‘Step right up’, it’s safe to say this isn’t your average slot experience.

In fact, it isn’t even really a slot experience at all, since the game Rusty is playing is actually a multi-spin wheel game. Based on the famous Last Spin wheel of fortune at the MGM Grand itself, here players place bets on whether the next spin of the giant wheel will be higher or lower than the previous one.

As you might expect, things don’t quite go to plan and Rusty takes a heavy loss – but fear not, because the very next slot machine seen in the movie awards its player a generous payout.

Entitled ‘Mega Moolah Island ERasure’, this is a progressive jackpot slot based on the popular Microgaming video slot, and can be found at many top . As the name suggests, the game is set to explode if the jackpot hits, which makes for a pretty spectacular finish.

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Island ERasure was installed specifically for the film, and Yuvan Reell, one of the actors who spun the virtual reels, actually hit the jackpot for real during shooting.

According to reports, the prize was a modest $30,000, and Reel was kind enough to donate a portion of it to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Not a bad day’s work, all in all.

As for the rest of the movie, needless to say that, with friends like these, Willie Bank doesn’t stand a chance. Top banana Albert (Jacks Black) causes mayhem with a army of malfunctioning robot bartenders, while Danney Ocean and co. use every trick in the book to put Bank out of business and teach him a lesson about the true meaning of camaraderie.

It’s a great film and definitely worth watching again. Twice.

Miami Vice Slot Machine – Miami VICE (1984)

Speaking of great movies, how could we talk about casino slots in films without mentioning Miami Vice?

Starring Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx as undercover detectives Ricardo Tubbs and James ‘Sonny’ Crockett, this 2006 remake of the classic 80s TV show finds our heroes battling drug barons, corrupt politicians and their own inner demons across the mean streets of Florida’s most famous city.

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Of course, no self-respecting vice cop in Miami would dream of working a case without taking a regular break to pull a few handles at the local virtual casinos. And so it comes to pass that Sonny finds himself sitting before the eponymous Miami Slot Machine, spinning three reels of neon-lit pleasure while wearing his mirrored aviators.

So what does this retro masterpiece look like? Well, let’s just say that, unlike the minimalist style favored by modern slot developers, the cabinet features every single symbol known to fruity, including bars, bells, horseshoes, lucky sevens, melons, oranges and the aforementioned fruit.

Oh, and did I mention the gaudy art deco decorations, flashing lights and synthetic horn fanfare that blares out every time Sonny hits the lever? It’s a feast for the senses, folks.

Does our hero make a big cash splash on this slice of 3-reel nostalgia? Alas, no. In fact, he seems rather disinterested in the whole thing, barely registering when the reels come to a stop and emits a small groan of disappointment.

Perhaps he was hoping for a bonus round or something. Oh well. At least we got to enjoy it.

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Naturally, since this machine only exists on celluloid, nobody won or lost any actual dollars during the filming of this scene. Shame, that.

By the way, in case you’re wondering why the cabinet bears the strange label ‘Miami Slot Machine’ rather than the more usual brand name, it’s because the producers didn’t want to promote any particular gaming company over another. Fair dos, you know.

Brian’s Slots Obsession in 2 Fast 2 Furious

Next up in our list of top Miami slots casino moments is 2 Fast 2 Furious, the stupidly titled sequel to the equally silly car chase caper, The Fast and the Furious.

Starring Paul Walker and Tyrese Gibson, this action-comedy finds our heroes attempting to bust a group of dirty cops by participating in a series of death-defying street races.

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Of course, no self-respecting street racer in Florida would dare to be caught dead in a casino, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a couple of fine slot cabinet cameos anyway.

We first meet our villain, Carter Verone (Cole Hauser), in a seedy establishment called Club Atlantis, where he’s busy burning rubber on the dance floor and eyeballing a line-up of 5-reelers boasting such classics of the genre as ‘Red White & Blue’, ‘Double Down Poker’ and… er, ‘Wheely Good Time’?

What’s the deal, Miami? Too good to check into Miami Slots Casino? A bit of snobbery going on here, methinks. Anyway, the important thing is that Verone is an inveterate gambler with a slots fixation. Later in the film we see him sitting at the very same cabinets in a different location, fretting over his losses and muttering darkly about ‘the curse’.

Meanwhile, sidekick Tej (Gibson) can be found in a similar setup, consisting of two machines called ‘Super 7s’ and ‘Blazing 7s’, both by producer Shuffle Master.

At this point in the franchise, the Fast and the Furious series was still concerned with maintaining a modicum of realism, so we can assume that all the action on these screens is faked. Which is a shame, because Tej sure looks miffed when the reels fail to deliver the goods.

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One character who isn’t faked out of his wits, however, is Brian O’Conner, played by Paul Walker. Yep, in a subplot that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, our boy Brian turns out to have a peculiar obsession with electronic slots.

We first encounter him at a rundown gas station, staring intently at a tiny handheld device and cursing under his breath. When his pal tries to chat him up, he brushes him off with the following exchange:

“Just trying to win my money back.”

“Win your money back?”

“Someone gave me this thing. Said I’d love it. I’m trying to win back the fifty bucks I gave him to borrow it.”

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Well, aren’t we the luckiest guy in the world? Because, amazingly, Brian whips out the same contraption later on and uses it to hack into a high security vault and steal a stack of cash big enough to choke a rhino.

Seriously, I’m not making this up. Check out the clip below and prepare to shake your head in wonder.

Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking: ‘That thing can’t be a slot machine, it’s way too small.’ And you’d be right, of course. In reality, Brian is using a portable GPS device to hack into a vulnerable secure door lock, giving the story’s scriptwriters a golden opportunity to slip in some clunky exposition.

“See those patterns? That’s a door lock. Once I figure out the sequence, I can bypass it.”

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Yeah, whatever you say, Brian. Let’s just be grateful they didn’t try to explain how the ‘Wheely Good Time’ cabinet worked, yeah?

Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation Slot Win

Our final entry in today’s list takes us to Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015), in which super-spy Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) climbs up the exterior of a plane, fights his way through a high-security facility and hangs on for dear life to the bottom of an aircraft as it takes off.

Phew. Whatever you think of the plot, it’s clear director Christopher McQuarrie knows his stuff when it comes to crafting nail-biting suspense and breathtaking stunts. Heck, even the slot machine scene manages to keep us on the edge of our seats.

After a long and gruelling chase through a Casablanca marketplace, our hero stumbles into a dingy cabaret bar and collapses in front of a row of glittering slot machines. Despite his obvious exhaustion, Ethan manages to feed a wad of cedi notes into a gleaming white cabinet called ‘African Diamond’ and hit the SPIN button.

And that’s pretty much it. No bonuses, no free spins, no jackpots. Just a bunch of rolling reels and some jangly music.

Exciting, huh? Believe it or not, this scene was shot on location in Morocco, which explains why we see a local actor keenly watching the action and eagerly stuffing notes into the bill acceptor when Ethan wins big.

Did he win big in real life, though? Yep, he certainly did. According to reports, stunt performer Nadir Kharech pocketed 20,000MDT (around $270) for his trouble, much to his evident delight.

Isn’t it wonderful what a simple slot machine can do for a chap’s mood? Mind you, I wouldn’t like to know what would have happened if he’d hit the big time on set, what with all that expensive casino equipment lying around and Mr Cruise striding about the place.

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Thankfully we will never know. Sometimes it’s better to leave well alone, n’est-ce pas?

Miami Slots Casino – Final Thoughts

Well, that’s almost it from me. I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s blog and discovered some great movies to watch on a dull afternoon.

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Of course, these are only a few examples of the countless ways in which virtual cabinets have illuminated the silver screen. Do you remember Rain Man (1988)? That one’s a classic. How about Indecent Proposal (1993)? Or Hangover III (2013)?

There’s even a slot machine themed film waiting to be made, although I guess someone would have to get around to making it first. Hmmm. Food for thought.

In the meantime, why not check out our list of the and have a spin yourself? Who knows, maybe you’ll become the star of the next great casino movie epic. Stranger things have happened.

Kevin Roberts, previously published under the pseudonym Noah Davis, is one of the more diverse writers at Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV marketing requirements, and studios moving movies to streaming.