'Runner Runner': Gambling Groups Use Ben Affleck Film to Push for Online Supervision (Report)

3:04 PM PST 08/23/2013 by Hilary Lewis

Trade organizations say the movie, which also stars Justin Timberlake, demonstrates the risks of a poorly regulated market.

Gaming organizations are using Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake's upcoming movie, Runner Runner, to push for increased regulation of online gambling, Reuters reports.

In the Fox movie, set to be released Oct. 4, Timberlake plays a college student who believes he's been swindled by one of Affleck's character's gambling websites.

Casino trade group the American Gaming Association is using the film as part of its effort to lobby for increased regulation of online gambling, even preparing ads and discussion screenings connected to the film to make a distinction between the seedy world it portrays and the federally regulated market the group wants, according to Reuters.

VIDEO: Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake Are Outlaw Gamblers in 'Runner Runner' Trailer

A legal, well-supervised market protects against fraud and increases revenues, its proponents claim.

AGA President Geoff Freeman plans to argue that the film underscores the risk of a poorly-regulated market, according to an email he sent to the AGA board last week, which was obtained by Reuters.

The AGA and Poker Players Alliance have long pushed for a federal online gambling bill, allowing for a larger, more uniform market.

Of the movie, Poker Players Alliance executive director John Pappas says, "People very well could get the wrong idea. Not all offshore operators are unregulated bad guys. This is a dramatization, let's be clear about that. It shows what could be happening in a worst-case scenario."

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