As gambling is legal in almost all places in some variant, people have become accustomed to it. It is intertwined with regular, everyday life, so much in fact that there are songs about it. Think House of the Rising Sun by the Animals. But days of visuals have taken over the radio days, and songs without music videos are rare.
Many music videos included gambling in their scenes or are entirely devoted to gambling. Usually gambling is portrayed in land-based casinos and bookmakers – there aren’t many videos that show signing up through websites with offers such as the Ladbrokes Cheltenham promotions, given that it would probably take out some of the allure. Nevertheless, here are some of the more notable music videos that included gambling.
The Gambler – Kenny Rogers
Back in 1978, this was a really big deal. A music video with a really specific theme was not something you see very often. Sure, there was the artist here and there, singing, dancing for the camera, but a full story was a rare sight.
Kenny Rogers made a very nicely themed video. A lonely gambler, playing poker at an empty table with lots of bottles and cigarettes around him. It is pretty much the foundation of gambling in music videos.
You’re Makin’ Me High – Toni Braxton
Fast forward 18 years and you get this song. It’s an R&B song from Toni Braxton. How does this have to do with gambling, you ask? Well, it is not directly related but the girls do take oversized cards and use them as a rating system. When guys enter the room, they get graded by the cards. Given how gambling-related songs tend to be serious and gloomy, with clear warnings, this one is very upbeat and light.
Live Your Life – T.I. featuring Rhianna
Trip-hop and hip hop songs tend to use gambling metaphors, if not just in their lyrics, then also in their music videos. T.I. is a perfect example of this. Rolling the dice with his buddies before things take a very serious turn for the worse. This is a more modern example of how gambling-related metaphors are used to express something, the video was published in 2008.
Uniting Nations – Out of Touch
A bit back in time, four years only and you get a cover of a very popular song form Hall & Oates. Out of Touch is a modern take on the classic hit and it features an interesting music video. Please note that it isn’t safe for work, at all. Four girls and a guy are playing poker in the entire video, yet it’s not your regular kind of poker but strip poker. The video itself has a story which evolves, but not as one would expect. It is entertaining to watch and even more once you see the conclusion.
Katy Perry – Waking Up in Vegas
2009 again and for the young couple, things were not looking up so great. After a night of celebration and spending a lot of money, you realize that they have had significant losses in the casino the day before. Yet the music video starts with a lever of a slot machine, the couple pulling it and winning a jackpot.
Luck shifts in Vegas, in all casinos, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. For this couple, it was for the better.
Gambling is a frequent theme in songs and videos, too, so do not be surprised if you see your artists playing poker or throwing dice.