Introducing The Gambler: A Film about Risk, Reward and Addiction

Mark Wahlberg stars in the modern adaptation of 1974 casino classic 'The Gambler' a standard bearer for all casino and gambling films over the last forty years


While films that charter addiction are not always box office sensations, there are some that manage to achieve this. Take the 1974 hit The Gambler, for example, which still maintains an impressive 86% rating on the popular movie review site Rotten Tomatoes. Starring James Caan as a downtrodden college professor struggling with a gambling addiction, the film charts his gradual descent as he borrows larger amounts of money and risks everything in pursuit of one, life-changing win. Both suspenseful and optimistic in parts, it has become the standard bearer for all casino and gambling films over the last forty years.

Given the rising popularity of online gambling, it seems apt that director Rupert Wyatt has decided to remake this classic for the modern age. Mark Wahlberg is charged with the task of reprising the role of English professor Jim Bennett, as he also borrows heavily from a local gangster and becomes increasingly immersed in an underground world. Delving a little deeper than the original film and featuring a fascinating relationship between Bennett and a paternal loan shark, the narrative offers a unique insight into risk taking and the thought processes of a typical gambler.

Due for release on Christmas Day in the U.S. and 23rd January in the UK, it is a film that is likely to strike a chord among anyone who enjoys both bricks and mortar and online casinos. Both of these platforms offer an immersive and engaging experience, while certain games also encourage players to test their skill and mettle against a multitude of rivals. The element of risk taking never sits far from the surface, however, as you choose how much to invest in games play and the type of returns that you are hoping to pursue.

The decision to release this film reflects the emerging status of online gambling, which is already legal in three U.S. states and likely to become a prominent feature of more in the months ahead. It is also widely accepted in Europe and the UK, as increasingly stringent regulation and the potential for cross-platform gaming makes virtual gambling a viable prospect. As a result of this, both traditional and online gambling platforms continue to become influential aspects of popular culture, and this trend is likely to continue for the years to come.