Quick, everyone jump on the sports gambling bandwagon! The latest media outlet to cover gambling will be Showtime, which announced a four-part documentary called Action on Tuesday. The series will premiere on March 24th at 8 PM, and followed various people in the sports betting industry through the 2018 NFL season, with the narrative ending a week and a half ago on Super Bowl Sunday.
Here’s more, per Showtime, including some of those featured (Brent Musburger, Cousin Sal, and Russell Wilson, to name three).
ACTION chronicles the lives of professional gamblers, bookies and oddsmakers throughout the 2018 NFL season following the Supreme Court decision to lift a ban on sports betting. The series will culminate with the biggest gambling day of the year, Super Bowl Sunday. The character-driven narrative delivers intimate access to a diverse cross-section of authentic and sometimes garrulous subjects within the sports gaming community, documenting the effects of legalization through their prisms.
An estimated $400-$500 billion is wagered annually on sports gambling in the United States. The central figures introduced in ACTION range from some of the most respected experts to influencers in the industry, such as reputed professional gambler Bill “Krack” Krackomberger, sports handicapper Kelly Stewart and polarizing sports betting consultant Dave “Vegas Dave” Oancea. ACTION also features Seattle Seahawks quarterback and Super Bowl Champion Russell Wilson, legendary bookmaker Jimmy Vaccaro, sports broadcasting icon Brent Musburger and comedian Cousin Sal.
And here’s a trailer.
Alright, so it really seems like this is less about “sports gambling being legalized,” and more about “people who love to bet on sports,” which is fine, but arguably is aimed at a more niche audience. That seems to be backed up in these quotes from Showtime in the release.
“The world of sports gambling has fascinated Hollywood for decades, but never before has a documentary captured the essence of the industry at such a pivotal period,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports and Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc. “Through the lens of industry professionals and real-life gamblers within every virtual layer of the business – both legal and illegal – ACTION delivers a one-of-a-kind look as sports gambling enters a brave new world.”
Said director Luke Korem: “The chorus of human stories we present in ACTION will resonate far beyond the world of sports and gambling. This is a sub-culture that reflects to an extreme the risk, reward and uncertainty we find in our everyday lives. I’m thrilled that SHOWTIME is allowing us to capture these stories at such a unique moment in history.”
We’ll see what people think of this series when it premieres next month. I think people who are firmly embedded in the world of sports betting will dig it, those looking to get involved in the industry will be turned off, and the opinions of those somewhere in the middle will see their mileage vary. Whatever the case, I don’t think anyone should go into this series expected a balanced look at sports gambling.