The gambling industry is afraid of Ben Affleck, but not because he’s Batman. Rather, they’re preparing for any concerns that might arise about the legal online gambling industry after the release of his new movie Runner Runner next month.
In the movie, Affleck plays a wealthy online gambling entrepreneur, Ivan Block, who’s pursued by a college student, Richie Furst (played by Justin Timberlake), a player who thinks he’s been cheated by Affleck’s site. Industry groups like the American Gaming Association are getting their advertising and special screenings ready in order to let people know that the legal and regulated online gambling market doesn’t have this problem.
Keeping the gambling public enthusiastic about online gaming is worth billions to the industry, which could see that sector grow to $10 billion in the coming years, from $4 billion in 2011. At a time when Las Vegas is making less from table games, this is a good thing.
But, in 2011, the Justice Department also charged the founders of a number of offshore online gambling companies with bank fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling. So with the industry trying to make a comeback, pushing out a positive message has become a top priority.
Gambling industry organizations are even pushing for Congressional legislation to push away any misperceptions players may have about manic gambling moguls and their penchant for kicking people into pools of crocodiles. Geez… if that were true, you’d be gambling with more than just your money when you log on for a friendly Internet poker game.