Online gambling continues to grow across the world, and right here in the US too. Online casinos and sports betting sites are the dominant forces, but how much do you actually know about the industry? Generation Gamble was one of the most recent gambling documentaries to hit our screens and uncovered how gambling is opening up to digitally-savvy youngsters. However, to give you a complete outlook of the gambling industry, we have also picked out some of the top documentaries that highlight the ups and downs, truths, and misinterpretations from the industry itself and those people who lead gambling lives.
Expect eye-opening tales from the casino, sports betting fans, and poker pros that have been there, done it, and either won or lost it all.
Cheating Las Vegas
Cheating Las Vegas is an honest look into the extreme levels that some gamblers go to as they try and get one over the casinos. These are no ordinary “run of the mill” cheating situations, either. You’ll be introduced to some of the most cunning gamblers and professional con artists to have ever stepped foot into Las Vegas. The narrator, James Woods, takes you deep into these people’s lives as they divulge information into how they attempted to cheat Las Vegas. Keep your eye out for the almost unbelievable story of a jeweler who won large sums of money by melting silver to create counterfeit coins.
Now Place Your Bets
Sports betting is a multi-billion-dollar industry and has always had an intriguing history across the US. Now Place Your Bets is a sports gambling documentary that looks into all sides of the industry and covers multiple interviews with various gamblers, bookmakers, and well-known journalists. Those interested in the organized crime rings of Las Vegas will want to watch this documentary in particular. It holds no punches and sheds light on the connections between Las Vegas and the birth of sports betting operations.
Frontline: The Fantasy Sports Gamble
Fantasy Sports Gamble has been critically acclaimed as one of the most progressive gambling documentaries of recent times. The New York Times and PBS combined to bring a hard-hitting account on DraftKings and FanDuel. Each of these brands is a giant in the fantasy sports betting world, but do you know how they make their money in states that prohibit sports betting and gambling? You need to watch this one to get a complete understanding, but the main idea is that the unregulated market of fantasy sports was classed as entertainment. For DraftKings and FanDuel, that meant no huge gambling taxes, no license fees, and a lot of profit.
A Kid’s Game: The Story of Online Poker
Poker is a truly fascinating area of gambling and one that took on a new path with the birth of the internet. A Kid’s Game: The Story of Online Poker dives into the dark and murky world of underage gambling and poker stars, as well as highlighting how their poker skills have been developed from an early age. Several interviews reveal some of these young poker players and how their careers started well below the legal age to play online. What is also interesting is how the documentary looks into the egos and lifestyles of these youngsters and how they handle vast amounts of money with little to zero real-life experience.
Bet Raise Fold: The Story of Online Poker
If you’re looking for an all-encompassing gambling documentary of how online poker evolved throughout the 2000s, Bet Raise Fold: The Story of Online Poker is what you need to watch. It takes you through the impacts of both the online industry and the new breed of professional players that it created. All the details from the showdown between the US government and the online poker industry come to light and culminate at the moment when the billion-dollar industry finally fell, also known as “Black Friday.” The whole documentary cleverly weaves the lives of three poker players from three different backgrounds into the story; Danielle, Martin, and Tony.
Inside Underground Poker
Inside Underground Poker is a hard-hitting documentary released back in 2012. The cast of characters makes viewing all the more compelling, with Brad the Conductor, John the Banker, and Mikey Tats. Jon Bulette, the producer, takes you deep into the New York underground poker scene and explains how it impacted the lives of all those involved. There are always moments of ups and downs when gambling is involved, and this documentary uncovers the lengths to which Brad the Conductor managed to host these poker games while also staying out of the law’s reach. Thousands of dollars being exchanged every night was just a regular occurrence, without the law and gambling authorities ever getting close to the tables and players.
Louis Theroux: Gambling in Las Vegas
Louis Theroux has had his name behind many revealing documentaries. The English journalist has a particular knack for uncovering the deepest and darkest details of anything that he puts his mind to, so Gambling in Las Vegas is one documentary that hits hard. Theroux talks to various gamblers who call Las Vegas their home and one Doctor who managed to gamble away over $4 million, to the annoyance of her son and his lost inheritance. One of the key highlights of this documentary is the part where casino employees explain how they keep players gambling and entertained in their ongoing quest to drop one of the many jackpots. The whole idea behind Gambling in Las Vegas ultimately reveals that anyone can turn into a gambling addict. It’s a sharp but engrossing look into gambling and the darker realities it can lead to.
Gambling Addiction & Me – The Real Hustler
The UK-based The Real Hustler follows Alexis Conran and his journey to uncover how and why his gambling addict father was put behind bars. It’s a personal, forthright, and real-life viewpoint on how gambling addiction can ruin a family and everything linked to that family as well. Marriages, careers, and houses can be lost instantly when recreational gambling becomes an addiction. Conran looks into the links between online casinos and the growing number of addicts while also showing firsthand how various companies try to help those who become problem gamblers. England, Las Vegas, and a personal quest to find out important answers is what you can expect from The Real Hustler.
The Player: Secrets of a Vegas Whale
Secrets of a Vegas Whale is a fascinating casino documentary of Don Johnson, one of the most famous recent players who took vast amounts of money from the top casinos in a short space of time. The story outlines how Johnson took on three casinos and beat them through various betting strategies and customer promotions. Of course, luck is always a factor when gambling at land-based venues or any of the top USA online casinos, but Johnson had a game plan that the casinos simply did not think clearly enough about. This is a detailed look into the mistakes of casinos and dealers that helped Don Johnson pick up millions in winnings throughout his gambling career. Caesars, Borgata, and Tropicana were all victims to his winning strategy, and all of this ultimately led to the casinos adjusting how they treat these big-money “whales.”
Out of Luck
One of the more recent gambling documentaries, Out of Luck, shows a startling look into how lotteries are some of the US’s biggest and most profitable gambling platforms. This documentary shows how the under-educated and poorest players become the most addicted. It’s these types of players who then generate the most profits for these seemingly harmless lottery games. The history of lotteries goes back a long way, with many political and economic factors entwined. Out of Luck uncovers the true odds of gambling on the lottery. It also asks the question of whether this type of gambling operation is an appropriate channel for governments to raise revenues. One thing you can be sure of is that lotteries will never look the same again after you watch this gambling documentary.
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