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Theme Casinos: Gambling and Fantasy

Sometimes it’s not enough to just want to gamble. Sometimes you want to play to a theme – and that’s true online too.


There are certain time periods that lend themselves to the gambling world very well. Westerns are the obvious one, followed by the 1920s/30s. These are times that we instantly relate to bawdy card games or illicit gambling in underground bars.

And for most people that part of the experience isn’t really necessary. The theme adds nothing but a backdrop. But others like to almost role play their way through their gambling games. And so whether your casino is Wizard themed, related specifically to a country or something else entirely, it can change your game entirely.

Living Another Life – Casinos and The Theme

It doesn’t take long to find websites or even real life casinos that adhere to a certain theme. Somewhere like Rapid Casino, which has a Western theme, really leans into the idea. Every picture, every bit of marketing material, harkens back to that idea.

And it’s true for real life casinos as well. One of the most famous gambling locations in the world is Caesar’s Palace – the Roman theme implicit in the title.

And I suppose there are few people turning up to Caesar’s palace in a toga. In fact, I’d guess there are even fewer that have opened up Rapid Casino in their spurs and giant hat. But the theme undeniably adds something. It gives it a certain feel, an atmosphere that’s not entirely like any other business.

And if you were to argue to me that it’s all about marketing and nothing else, I wouldn’t entirely disagree. These themes give us something to latch onto in our memory. If we like the feel of a place, we will return.

But they’re also giving us a way of experiencing gambling that’s entirely unlike anything else around. Thing for a second about those old casino games – I’m talking about the really early stuff for the Spectrum. The feel, by and large, just wasn’t there.

Granted, there was a green table. The theme was “you’re at a casino”. And they were fit for purpose, but nothing else.

Variations on a… You know

By adding a sense of character, you add a sense of identity. In real life that’s just a bit of fun. It’s something that controls your decoration style, the names of your games, how you serve your drinks – everything really. But it is a style choice, and one that differentiates you from the guy next door.

Online it’s different. You don’t have decoration in the traditional sense, and the player can make whatever drink they want without adhering to pictures on your website.

It’s still a means of differentiating yourself from the other guy, but it’s more than that. It’s already a staggeringly full industry, and it isn’t going to get any better. Every year online gambling gets bigger and bigger, and when it does it gets harder to find exactly what you want.


Instead, an online theme is about creating an idea. It’s about giving someone something fun to look at between games, about making the player feel part of something.

And yes, in the best places, that may well mean a sense of role play. I don’t mean Dungeons and Dragons dress-up. But poker accompanied by honky-took music is very different from poker accompanied by swing music. It’s about creating a sense of participation.

And if that’s what the player wants, it’s only fair that that’s what the player gets.


Themes are an often overlooked part of the casino experience, because they’re designed to be overlooked. If something is too obvious, it becomes more important than the gambling itself and that isn’t right.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s something that hasn’t taken a lot of work. In fact, the less you notice it, the more you feel it blends into the gambling experience, the more work has probably gone into it.

But without, we’d be looking at a very boring gambling landscape.


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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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