Fans of today’s online gaming are in for a September treat when they get to see “Runner, Runner”. The upcoming movie is about online offshore gambling back in the days when the industry was still unregulated and far from the reach of law enforcement authorities. The movie, which top bills Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck in the lead roles, is a gambling crime thriller set in Costa Rica.
Timberlake portrays a college whiz kid who uses and loses his Princeton tuition money by playing poker at an online gambling site, operated by a downright evil Internet gambling operator played by Ben Affleck. Timberlake goes on a desperate mission to meet head-on with the people behind the remote gaming site, since he suspects that there was some form of cheating involved.
What is interesting though is that Ben Affleck himself was actually a victim of a real-life online poker ruse, involving Ultimate Bet (UB) owner Russ Hamilton and other UB execs. Ben reportedly lost as much as half a million dollars several decades ago, because of the site’s “God Mode” tool. The tool allowed a conspiring player to view and know the opponent’s hole card, or the card dealt facedown and stays as such until final showdown.
The movie’s setting and the online cheating scandal happened before the U.S. Feds applied the full force of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006, which culminated in the total ban of Internet gambling operations and activities in the U.S.
Nonetheless, laws legalizing online gambling have since been enacted in three U.S. states, namely Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware. However, this comes with a condition that only players physically located in their respective jurisdiction can access the online gambling facilities, in order to ensure player protection.