The world of cinema has left no stone unturned in glorifying gambling such as sports betting. In fact, you’ll find many Tinseltown creations that depict rags to riches journey through betting. There is no doubt that casinos and sportsbooks are like fun la-la land. However, it’s not always so rosy and glorious. Beneath all the seemingly convincing storyline, there is one truth that remains. That is, you don’t get the real picture of what gambling is.
The betting industry’s popularity has prompted many filmmakers to bring out the real face of gambling to the audience. We’re talking about documentaries that have captured the evolution of sports betting through the years. These short films give a sneak peek into the lives of real-life gamblers and the ups and downs of betting. What’s more, they help you understand a lot about betting tactics.
So, take a break from betting and check out these top 6 sports betting documentaries that are worth a watch!
1. Gamblers Like Me: The Dark Side of Sports Betting (2019)
Betting on international soccer matches is an exploding pastime in Africa. But are the gambling companies playing clean? Moreover, do the gamblers understand the odds they’re getting? In a gripping documentary, BBC Africa Eye follows a young Ugandan football fan. He goes on to discover what happens when betting giants target the most vulnerable people of the continent. Eventually, the young African realizes the fatal effects of compulsive gambling on the lives of youngsters like him. Youngsters, who are lured into the quicksand in the hope of making quick money, are brought into light in this film.
2. Now Place Your Bets (2017)
This seminal film recounts the rise of legal sports betting in Las Vegas. A Dennis Tobler film, it highlights the milestones that shaped today’s sports betting industry. It does so through personal accounts, interviews, photographs, and footage. The film depicts the transformation of Las Vegas into a gambling town and how it was overseen by corporates, organized crime elements, and the U.S. government. In addition, it features casino operators, oddsmakers, professional gamblers, bookmakers, historians, and journalists who were witnesses to the events.
3. Fantasy Sports Gambling (2016)
This one’s a joint effort of Frontline and The New York Times. The hour-long film details the dark side of online sports and fantasy sports betting. It focuses on how the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act’s (2006) loophole made fantasy sports betting a multi-billion dollar business. With upfront interviews of regulators, prosecutors, and gamblers, the film trails the growth of these thriving industries and their operations.
4. The Best of It (2016)
This character-driven documentary follows the life of professional gamblers Boston, Banker, Dink, and Shrink. The film centers around the NCAA basketball tournament of 2010. Further, it explores the betting highs and lows of the bettors struggling to make a living in the betting world. The documentary is an honest depiction of the unforgivingly uncertain life of pro bettors. In fact, Shrink committed suicide a few weeks after interviewing for the film. Sadly, he took the drastic step after suffering heavy losses in the tournament.
5. Gambling Addiction & Me – The Real Hustler (2012)
This film is a very personal account by Alexis Conran, who presents the theme of gambling addiction. In this film, Conran tries to find answers to how compulsive gambling landed his father behind bars. He seeks to understand if this harmful habit would lead him to meet the same fate as well. Addiction to betting is a grave concern, and Cornan gives a realistic view of the damage caused by it. What makes people cross the fine line between recreational gambling and compulsive betting? The documentary focuses on this one pertinent question throughout.
6. 30 for 30: The Legend of Jimmy the Greek (2009)
The film follows the career of professional sports commentator and famed Las Vegas bookmaker James Synder. He helped in endorsing NFL games betting during pre-game shows through points spreads. Further, Synder was known for his 12 years long gig on The NFL Today Program. In the show, he predicted the NFL games’ outcome. Besides, he was quite famous for his gambling tricks when even sports betting was a taboo.
Sports betting and gambling are, no doubt, enjoyable. There is the prospect of big wins. Moreover, it’s an unlimited source of entertainment. However, the craze and thrill of betting often take gamblers away from reality. But taking a while away from betting to learn about the experiences of real-life bettors is enriching. So, why not watch some groundbreaking sports betting documentaries to get an insight into the unseen side of gambling?
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