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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Wednesday November 13, 2019 

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The Best Movies that Portray Australia’s Love of Gambling

Can you name three things that Aussies covet more than anything? If you guessed the outdoors, a tasty barbie, and gambling then you’re spot on.

If you take a closer look at the land down-under and their insatiable love affair with pokies, you’ll begin to understand why this love is so renowned. The passion this nation has for casino online and offline, and their games such as lotteries, race betting, sports betting, scratchies, and everything in between is well-established and well-known. This means that it should come as no surprise that games of chance have played an important role in a few Aussie films.

If any foreigners venture to Australia, many of them can recount the Great Barrier Reef, Crocodile Dundee, the Sydney Opera House, the Outback, scary critters, and kangaroos. If you’re wondering why there is no mention of gambling, this is because few outsiders have any inkling of how prevalent it is in Australia. This is one of the reasons behind the gambling-themed domestic movies.

Oscar and Lucinda
Released in 1997, this is a film that received great cinematic success due to its straightforward storyline and talented cast and crew which was made up of Aussies and Brits. The Australian director Gillian Armstrong and Australian writer Laura Jones comes a romantic story set in the 1800s.

The narration follows the antics of Oscar Hopkins, a spirited young Anglican priest from England and Lucinda Leplastrier – a wealthy teen heiress and glass factory owner from Australia. Her goal is to change the male-dominated culture that exists in her country. Another part that the plot surrounds is the pair’s life-changing wager.

Lucinda bets her entire fortune that Oscar can’t transport a glass church she’s had built to the Outback in one piece – Oscar accepts. Next, the audience is treated to a dramatic and romantic series of events that changes their lives forever.

The film’s success was partly due to its gambling/wagering storyline and the strong Australian and English cast. Mainly shot in and around Sydney and across the state of New South Wales, this tale was applauded by critics and viewers.

Dirty Deeds
Released more than a decade before Broke (the next entry) is the film Dirty Deeds (2002). An Australian film about a fast-talking gangster Barry Ryan. The film shows how Ryan single-handedly controls the pokie machine industry in Sydney in the late 1960s.

This crime comedy does a good job of accurately portraying the high demand for pokie machines in Australia during the 1960s – similarly to the demand that existseven today. The one big difference is the existence of online pokies. The film was well-received and still holds up today as a fun and exciting crime film.

Broke
This 2016 hard-hitting film was based on Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL). The plot of the film revolves around a disgraced player, match-fixing, and problem gambling. This isn’t a biopic, however, the NRL has faced many allegations linked to problem gambling and match-fixing. Broke is a compelling tale that is based on all that.

The film received high praise from responsible gambling organisations for the accurate portrayal of addiction and the spreading of the message that it’s treatable. Another important message regarding addiction is how it shouldn’t be stigmatised.

Published August 26, 2019

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