Las Vegas vs. The Casino: Which is the Best American Casino TV Series?
Out of the different gambling industry-centered shows that have been released over the last couple of decades, two shows stand out: Las Vegas and The Casino. While Las Vegas is a fictional, dramatized take on the ups and downs of doing business in Sin City, The Casino is a behind-the-scenes reality show that follows several real-life characters trying to make it big.
Here’s why you need to catch up on these cancelled gems.
This show ran from 2003 to 2008. Centered around the exploits of Ed Deline, head of security at the fictional Montecito Resort and Casino, much of the show’s locations were based around the real-life Mandalay Bay. While the actual famed wave pool and other outside locations of Mandalay Bay were used for exterior shots, most of the interior scenes were done at Culver Studios where producers replicated Mandalay Bay’s famously luxurious facilities. In terms of production value, Las Vegas certainly hit the nail on the head. As for its storyline, the show’s premise is pretty simple, direct, and highly effective. Protagonist Ed Deline is joined by Danny McCoy as the two lead a crack surveillance team trying to catch cheaters, hosting the rich and famous, and making sure that those who win “too much” aren’t jumped before they reach their ride home.
The result is a dramatic, action-packed joyride through the 2000s’ take on casino life, often peppered with fun dialogue that sometimes borders on being “Sorkin-esque” —unrealistic, but nonetheless wildly entertaining. Las Vegas is arguably the definitive drama about the exploits of industry insiders in the gambling capital of the world. The Nerd Stash even goes so far as to say that if was shown today, it would still be a hit.
“This is the most nerve-wracking thing. I think they’re gonna start grilling me immediately about mob allegations and organized crime and my known associates file.” The reality show The Casino opens with these words from protagonist Tim Poster, who, together with Thomas Breitling, are tasked with the duty of managing the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino, which is located in downtown Las Vegas instead of the world-famous Vegas Strip. Thankfully, both Breitling and Poster are more than right for the job. As the latter explains, “We’re made guys, but not in the old Vegas sense. We’re self-made guys.” Therein lies the whole thesis behind this Mark Burnett-produced reality series: apart from the glitz and glamour, The Casino doesn’t fall short of showing the unglamorous, unsexy work that it takes to manage a world-class establishment.
Unfortunately, as Reality Blurred reveals, the show was passed around from network-to-network due to both poor ratings and network executives reacting negatively to its explicit content. We don’t know about you, but to us, this only serves to make the show much more interesting to see today.
Interestingly, both of these shows came out before the huge boom in online casinos that happened throughout the world. Since the aforementioned boom, globally recognized gaming companies have had to adapt in order to take advantage of the online casino industry. Prestigious gaming provider Grosvenor Casinos expanded its services to become a premium online platform with a diverse range of digital games. And they aren’t the only casino provider to make the jump to digital. Because of this, if any future remakes of these shows were produced, they would have to cover the rise of online gaming. In short, apart from making for great television, both of these shows have captured bygone eras in casino gaming history.
If you’ve had your fill of re-watching your favorite shows from the ‘90s and are looking for something new, you can’t go wrong with either series.