A gangster, Joe Farrow, kills a man after a game of craps, then offers gambler Marc Fury a payment of $50,000 if he will take the rap and stand trial. Farrow tries to renege on the money, so Fury steals a ledger with information that could put Farrow behind bars.
Fury manages to be acquitted in court, but immigration officers arrest him and take to Ellis Island and threaten to deport him, proving that neither he nor his parents never become naturalized citizens. Fury slips the ledger into the possession of an immigration social worker, Lynn Warren, then later tracks her down, retrieves the book and tries to begin a romance.
Farrow's gunman comes looking for Fury, but ultimately double-crosses his boss. Lynn still isn't sure how she feels about him, but when Fury offers the $50,000 to a family that needs it to remain in America, she finally admires and trusts him.
The story was originally called Mr Whiskas. It was purchased by RKO in 1947 and scheduled in 1948 as a vehicle for Victor Mature, who had a contract with RKO to make one film a year. However the project was postponed to enable Mature to make Easy Living. In July 1949 it was announced he would make Mr Whiskas next. Warren Duff was to write and produce.
In late 1949 the project was renamed Alias Mike Fury. Mature refused to make the movie and was put on suspension by Fox. The script was rewritten and Mature ended up making the film, which was retitled Gambling House. Filming started February 1950.
When first released, critic Bosley Crowther panned the film. He wrote, "Don't look for very rich pickings in R. K. O.'s Gambling House, a run-of-the-mill melodrama that came to the Mayfair on Saturday. Your chances for solid satisfaction from this tale of a crook who goes straight after meeting a decent young lady are about as good as they would be from a fixed wheel ... Put it down as claptrap and the performance of Mr. Mature as another demonstration of an actor doing the best he can with a bad role. Miss Moore is entirely incidental and William Bendix is mulishly mean as the tough and deceitful rascal who crosses up Mr. Mature. To say any more about it might tend to incriminate somebody."