If you’re taking a little break from sports wagering, why not get your fix with a gritty documentary? Here are seven of the best sports betting documentaries to keep you entertained with an inside look at how the world of sports betting works.
These films provide a great understanding of betting strategies, but you can also learn a lot about what not to do! Here are some of our favorite sports betting documentaries from over the years.
Some of these can be a little hard to find, so we’ve also included links on where you can watch them. If you’re looking for lighter entertainment don’t miss the five best movies about sports betting.
1. Fantasy Sports Gambling by Frontline
The PBS investigative series, Frontline, teamed with The New York Times to deliver a look into the underground world of online sports betting. The series focused especially on the rise of fantasy sports.
The hour-long episode, aired Feb 2016, details how a loophole in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 actually allowed fantasy sports betting to become a multi-billion dollar industry. Featuring in-depth interviews with prosecutors, regulators, and gamblers, Fantasy Sports Gambling focuses on the darkside of fantasy sports betting.
How to watch: Full documentary available on YouTube
2. 30 for 30: The Legend of Jimmy the Greek
This 2009 documentary took a look at the exciting life of legendary sports commentator and Las Vegas bookmaker, James George Snyder, Sr. (aka Jimmy the Greek).
Jimmy was famous for his 12 years on The NFL Today program, where he predicted the results NFL games, but he was also well-known for his gambling antics at a time when sports gambling was more taboo.
The documentary, which was part of the ESPN 30 for 30 series, features commentary from the likes of sportscasters Brent Musburger and Irv Cross, as well as Phyllis George from The NFL Today.
How to watch: Available to purchase from Amazon
3. Life on the Line
Life on the Line was released in 2013 and features some of the most legendary names in sports betting. Lending their expert knowledge are professional Vegas bettors Teddy Covers and Erin Rynning. There are also appearances from the Hilton/Las Vegas Hotel oddsmaker, Jay Kornegay, and famous local sports radio talk show hosts Brian Blessing and Ken Thompson (just to name but a few!).
The 52-minute documentary gives unprecedented access to the normally-closed world of Las Vegas Hotel’s ‘SuperBook’ in the run-up to the biggest betting event of the year: the Super Bowl.
How to watch: Amazon Prime
4. Now Place Your Bets: The History of Sports Betting in America
This 2017 documentary takes a detailed look at the rise of legal sports betting in Las Vegas, and how it’s become the multi-billion dollar industry it is today. Through in-depth interviews and personal accounts, Now Place Your Bets gives the lowdown on the past, present, and future of betting in Vegas.
It features a number of sports betting experts and professionals from all avenues of the industry. There’s a wealth of insightful interviews from the oddsmakers, bookmakers, professional gamblers, sports journalists and many more. If you’re looking for a real in-depth look at the lives of professional gamblers, their motivations, and obsessions, then this has it all.
How to watch: Available to watch at FilmFreeway.com
5. The Best of It
The Best of It explores the life of professional gamblers, Alan “Boston” Dvorkis, Alan “Dink” Denkenson, Lem Banker, and Ken “The Shrink” Weitzner.
Released in 2016, the Scott Pearson Eberly documentary focuses on the 2010 NCAA basketball tournament, and follows the betting highs and lows of these four pros during March Madness.
The documentary gives an honest insight into the life of the pro bettors, which can be unpredictable and unforgiving, even for the most seasoned of gamblers. In fact, just a few weeks after being interviewed for the film, Weitzner committed suicide along with his wife Jackie, after reportedly sustaining heavy losses during March Madness.
How to watch: Available on YouTube Movies
6. 60 Minutes Sports Betting: Billy Walters
Considered to be the most successful gambler Vegas has ever seen, Billy Walters has been described as “the ‘godfather’ of Las Vegas sportsbetting.” This 2011 interview with Lara Logan of 60 Minutes provides rare insight into a notoriously private man.
The story goes that he has never had a losing year while betting on sports (Walters once made $1 million in a round of golf and £3.5 million on a Super Bowl bet.) You could certainly learn a thing or two from this guy!
How to watch: Available through CBS All Access
7. The Gambling Mafia and International Sports Betting
Soccer is one of the most popular sports worldwide and has a huge betting fanbase, making it the most bet-on sport in the world. Annual international estimates hover around €200 billion.
The documentary reveals how the matches are fixed, and how players, goalkeepers, referees, and coaches are bribed. It gives an interesting insight into how the gambling mafia and organized crime rings of Asia, Europe, and America manipulate and infiltrate all levels of soccer from youth leagues to the Champions League and make millions of dollars in the process.
How to watch: Free on YouTube
Have we missed your favorite sports betting documentary? Let us know.
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