Time To Play the Game: 4 Of the All-Time Greatest Rock Songs About Gambling

To say that the music industry is linked with the casino industry is an understatement. As different music trends emerge, the type of sound played in land-based and online establishments changes to reflect societal preferences. Over the past several years, various musical genres have been associated with the gambling industry, from jazz, pop, techno and, of course, rock.

The latter has been especially prevalent within the industry, with some of the most renowned rock musicians having used casinos as metaphors for their songs detailing the challenges they’ve faced in their lives, real-life encounters at casinos, living life on the wild side, taking risks, and much more. Be it online or offline, the casino industry has influenced the likes of the Rolling Stones, Pat Benatar, Iron Maiden, and the king of rock ‘n’ roll himself, Elvis Presley.

From rock anthems like ‘Ace of Spaces’ by Motörhead, often hailed as their most famous song, to lesser-known tracks like ‘The Angel and the Gambler’ by Iron Maiden that had a good reception upon its initial release but failed to top any charts – there are many rock songs with gambling themes. Let’s look at some of the very best below:

‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ – Pat Benatar

Despite being a song preliminary focusing on heartbreak, Pat Benatar’s 1980s top song ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot,’ is also popular in the gambling industry. Benatar’s powerful vocals earned her a spot on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart shortly after the song’s release in 1985; the lyrics were laced with sexual innuendos causing listeners to believe that the song was dedicated to an ex-lover. However, despite serving as a middle finger to failed romantic relations, at its core is a message about unshakeable self-confidence.

So, no matter how often the speaker is knocked down, ‘it’s all in vain’, and they’ll ‘get right back on (their) feet again’. Plus, the term ‘hit me’ is one of the most common gambling idioms in offline and online blackjack games, meaning the speaker would like another card. Due to this, the song has become widely known and played in the gambling industry since the lyrics talk about power, control and, of course, love.

‘Ace Of Spades’ – Motörhead

Hailed as one of poker’s biggest anthems of all time, Motörhead’s ‘Ace of Spades’ is jampacked full of gambling cliches and risks. Written in the back of a speeding transit van, the band’s late vocalist admitted that he did embellish the lyrics for dramatisation. Still, at the song’s core, it is a message about the pleasure of play and its associated risks.

Although a game is never mentioned within the song’s lyrics, it is commonly accepted that the speaker is singing about some form of card game, be it poker or blackjack, despite the band’s late vocalist’s preference for slot machines. This choice stems from the fact that Ian Fraser Kilmister, better known as ‘Lemmy’, thought it would be near impossible to produce a song to the same effect about slots.

Despite the ‘Ace of Spades’ failing to embody the play of slot machines, several online and offline slot games have been themed after heavy metal and rock music production. Many of the best-reviewed online casinos offer a selection of music-themed games featuring branding from artists like KISS, Motörhead, Ozzy Osbourne, and much more.

If you are looking for the best-reviewed online casino that provides music-themed casino games, visit Online Casinos for a comprehensive breakdown of the best-reviewed online casinos based on various factors.

‘Viva Las Vegas’ – Elvis Presley

No list of gambling-themed rock songs would be complete without the king of rock ‘n’ roll himself, Elvis Presley. His rendition of ‘Viva Las Vegas’ was recorded in the early 1960s for a film of the same name, with the lyrics detailing some of Vegas’s most prominent myths about lifestyle, culture, legends, and misconceptions.

Being one of the most prominent gambling destinations in the world, everyone and their uncle has heard about Vegas’s gambling history, whether good or bad. If you pay attention to the lyrics, Presley seems more focused on reassuring people about visiting Las Vegas instead of warning them to stay away.

Presley’s iconic vocals tell potential visitors to the city in the chorus that all they need is a ‘strong heart and a nerve of steel’, which seems to reassure people that money is no issue and that they can all afford to ‘viva Las Vegas.’ The optimistic note to the lyrics highlights how the speaker is heading to the big city with awe and determination and the chance to hit it rich.

Since gambling is known to be a game of chance, ‘Viva Las Vegas’ has become a popular tune to capture the pleasure of the game and have a fun time, which is precisely what the premise of gambling is all about. The main goal is to have fun with whomever you are betting alongside, and if you’re fortunate enough to win a little extra, well, that’s a bonus!

‘The Angel And The Gambler’ – Iron Maiden

 Arguably one of the darker gambling-themed rock songs on our list, Iron Maiden’s ten-minute-long epic ‘The Angel and the Gambler’ was released in 1998 and dealt with someone who won’t be persuaded to stop taking risks. At first glance, it is meant to be a light-hearted song about an angel trying to save a gambler by convincing him to end his habit.

However, in a twist of irony, an ‘angel’ is another term for a rich person who finances a gambler, allowing them to continue down their potentially dark path without using their own money. Ultimately the song paints a more realistic view of the gambling industry, detailing how the gambler is successful at times but unsuccessful at others, which is precisely how the game is played.

There are many more examples of gambling-themed rock songs that aren’t on this list, and with a vast following attached to both, it’s not surprising that the list has continued to grow and is sure to continue for many years to come!

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