‘Dr. No’ Producers Faked Sean Connery’s Famous Roulette Win to Sell Bond Movie

It has long been a beloved nugget of trivia by James Bond nerds that Sean Connery could boss a gaming table with the same nonchalant proficiency as the suave secret agent he portrayed.

Sean Connery
Sean Connery
Sean Connery, shown in the iconic opening scene of Dr No, filmed at Les Ambassadeurs casino in London. (Image: Eon Productions)

Well, apparently, it’s all a lie.

Connery’s famous hot streak at the Casino de la Vallee in Saint-Vincent in northeast Italy in 1963 was apparently nothing more than a rigged marketing stunt. That’s according to a newly unearthed interview with the late Bond publicist Jerry Juroe,

Turns out they were just trying to get publicity for the first Bond movie, Dr No, and the then-relatively unknown actor in the title role

The story goes that Connery, who died in October of last year at age 90, seated himself at one of the casino’s European roulette tables, placing his stake on his lucky number, 17.

The first two spins yielded no joy. But the budding Bond stuck to his guns, and on the third spin the ball settled in the 17 pocket.

Being a Scottish badass, Connery decided to let his winnings ride, leaving them on 17. Again, the ball bounced into the 17 pocket. And then, again, a third time.

The odds of this occurring are about 50,000/1, the kind of odds Bond overcomes in every movie, otherwise he would be totally dead.

Except that he didn’t. It was all faked, according to Juroe, in a previously unseen interview.

Sean Connery
Sean Connery
Connery shortly after the casino caught him cheating at roulette. Not really, this is a scene from Goldfinger, as we all know. (Eon Productions)

Unseen Footage

The stunt was easy to accomplish because the wheel was rigged, the bets were rigged, and for a brief period of time, Sean – as well as one or two other people who were part and parcel of the operation – was sitting there winning money until he literally broke the bank,” Juroe said.

“It was not that difficult. But, I must tell you, as soon as it was handed over, the money was handed back. It was quite a few billion lire.”

The interview was uncovered by Paul Duncan, author of a new book, The Bond Archives, who was given exclusive access to archive footage by Bond production company, Eon.

Of course, Bond’s game of choice was not roulette at all, but baccarat, as established in the very first scene of Dr No.

Nevertheless, the marketing ploy was a hit. It made headlines around the world. And it probably helped Dr No become a box-office smash, setting the Bond franchise rolling.


Although the Vatican’s denouncement of the movie as “a dangerous mixture of violence, vulgarity, sadism and sex” was probably the clincher.

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