Online poker and casino gaming insiders are worried that the upcoming film Runner, Runner will have a negative impact on the game. As the trailer shows, Runner, Runner deals with corruption and cheating within the poker world.
Justin Timberlake stars as a college student named Richie Furst, who unfairly loses his tuition through a poker site. He then travels to Costa Rica to convince the poker room’s owner, Ivan Block (Ben Affleck), to return his money. Block instead makes Furst his righthand man which leads to a world of quick money and fast cars.
The overlying theme here is that internet poker is run by sketchy guys who’ll do anything for millions. This much is clear from the scene where Affleck pushes some bound guy into the alligator-infested waters below.
That said, you’d think organizations like the American Gaming Association (AGA) would fear the worst with this film. After all, the AGA is a casino lobby group tasked with convincing more states and the federal government that online gaming is a good idea. But the AGA is actually hoping to use Runner, Runner to fuel their lobbying efforts and send an even stronger message to Washington.
As Reuters reports, AGA President Geoff Freeman plans to argue that Runner, Runner is a perfect example of what can happen in an unregulated online poker environment. Assuming the federal government were to legalize internet gaming on a national basis, it could cut out the “seedy” offshore sites.
Runner, Runner hits theaters on September 27th and is expected to be a pretty big box office draw. The film seems to be a takeoff on sites like Absolute Poker and UB Poker, which were both rocked by cheating scandals. Eventually, these rooms went offline along with millions of dollars in player deposits following Black Friday.