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The Role of Gambling in the Movie “In Time”


Meta Title: Representation of Gambling in the Science Fiction Film “In Time”

Meta Description: Can you imagine a world where time is a currency used for betting instead of dollars? Read the post about “In Time” to see how gambling is shown in the film.

Gambling is a source of entertainment. It is categorised as such because of its thrilling features. These days, we find more and more movies centred on the gambling theme, further promoting its concept. While many aren’t very keen on this source of entertainment or see it in a negative light, others are slowly warming up to the idea. Perhaps this is because it is becoming an easy subject in different contexts.

Technology is rapidly evolving, and physical casinos are becoming a thing of the past. So, who knows, maybe the next gaming-related movie will capture players placing bets online on platforms like syndicate casino or any other analogue. For now, our article is centred around the representation of gambling in land-based settings, namely in the film “Im Time.” So, let’s explore the existence of gambling in the movie together!

About the Movie

It is set in the futuristic 2169. At this period, humans are engineered to stop aging when they reach 25 years of age. After this, they have just one year to live. To keep track of the lifetime they have left, every individual has a timer on their forearm that shows how many days, hours, minutes, and seconds they have at their disposal. When it reaches 0, the person instantly dies and ceases to exist.


Time is an essential aspect of the movie: it becomes a currency that is transferred directly between people and stored in capsules as money is stored in safes. As with the usual human society we live in, people were also divided into different classes called Zones. While New Greenwich houses the richest people who are considered immortal, Dayton is a ghetto inhabited by the poorest of the poor with barely more than 24 hours on their timer.

The protagonist, Will, is a factory worker who lives with his mother, Rachel, in Dayton. On a fateful night, he rescued a drunk and vulnerable Henry from a notorious time-stealing gang. They had a discussion where the latter disclosed that the people living in New Greenwich hoard their time and keep increasing the purchase rates to let the poor die.

The movie took an interesting turn from here on. While sleeping, Hamilton transfers all of his lifetimes to Will until he times out and dies. However, the situation is misunderstood, and the leader of Timekeepers makes an assumption that Will killed Henry. On the run, Will decides to take his mother to the greener pasture land. However, his mother dies a second before he can do the transfer. With this event, he vouched to make those in New Greenwich pay for her death.

During this attempt for revenge, he encounters Sylvia, the daughter of a rich-time banker. They had their back and forths before they became partners and put it upon themselves to break the classist system and make the world an equal place. They continuously do this despite the different trials and near-death experiences until the end of the film.

The Role of Gambling in the Movie

Since people were timed and already knew how long they had to live, gambling became a useful tool. It was employed for:

  • Differentiating Between the Rich and Poor: Gambling served as a means to segregate between the rich and the poor in the movie. In that, the rich gambled because they had extra lifetimes to spare and were quite content. However, the poor gambled for a whole different reason, mainly rooted in desperation. It was made the ultimate prize, and they did everything in their power to win. This depicts the extremes of inequality, even in a fictional society where time instead of money remains the determining factor of survival and existence;
  • Prolonging Life: While this was a risky endeavour, it was worth it for the winner. Rather than bet on chips or money, lifetime was the ultimate wager. The rich could afford to bet in vast amounts and treated it as expendable. On the other hand, the poor risked their remaining lifespan to either escape poverty or just survive another day;
  • Spicing up the Film’s Themes: Some major themes centred on the value of time in relation to risk and mortality. Gaming was used as a metaphor to depict and spice up the unpredictable nature of life. It also portrays the extent to which humans can change their situations.

In a nutshell, the role of gambling in the plot of this film comes down to depicting different classes of people and their attitude to time; however, for the audience, its addition intensifies the action and piques the interest.

Have a Taste of the Futuristic World!

Human’s imagination runs wild most of the time. However, the plot of this movie is amazing, and it depicts the issues of our contemporary society with a fantastical touch. It also uses gambling as a tool to enhance its immersive and relatable features. You must definitely add “Im Time” to your list if you haven’t already seen it.