Top 5 Eye-Opening Documentaries About Gambling Addiction

Sep 13, 2023 | Articles, Gambling

Casino games and betting have been common for centuries, but the appearance of their virtual analogues brought a new popularity twist. Entertainment is now more accessible than ever, which is beneficial for risk fans. However, this seemingly innocent activity hides unpleasant consequences in the form of gambling addiction. Addressing this issue is on the agenda globally – and preventing the disease is easier than treating it. For this purpose, there are many programs that block users from accessing online casino sites. This is called self-exclusion, and every article dedicated to GamStop and other similar solutions points out the importance of informing people of the harmful impact of casinos.

If you do not like reading articles and prefer movies instead, we’ve got you covered nonetheless. Gambling documentaries are among the most accessible means of increasing awareness on the subject. Grab a list of the best films about gambling addiction. We recommend watching them even if you are far from the world of casinos and betting, as they are really impressive.


Understanding Joy

The sense of this documentary lies in revealing the devastating effects of gambling addiction. The story is about a middle-aged woman, Joy, who couldn’t think about anything other than risky games. The addict has stolen over $700,000 from her employers – and she states that addiction and constant desire to play made her do it. When waiting for the verdict from the court, the woman tries to understand the essence of this disease and explain everything to her children and close ones.

We bet Joy would be happy to know what GamStop is – but the self-exclusion software only appeared in 2018, while the documentary was filmed by Frank Batavick in 2014. Considering that the woman started thinking of how addiction has ruined her life, such a program would help her recover from the disease. However, we have what we have. The documentary protagonist was eventually sentenced to 25 years. At the same time, multiple psychiatrists consider her case when researching the compulsive gambling nature.


Out of Luck

Another film revealing the harmful impacts of gambling was released in 2015 by Bert Klasey. This work investigates the downsides of lotteries in the US and the way they target the poorest and the most vulnerable societies. According to the creator’s research, lotteries have even bigger revenues than top Las Vegas casinos, where millions are spent daily. “Out of Luck” provides numerous interviews with people who’ve lost everything due to this seemingly innocent pastime. Does it mean the system is guilty of people’s losses, or should players be more cautious?


Gambling Addiction and Me: The Real Hustler

Even among the documentaries for self-excluded casino players, this one stands out. Directed by Iain Scollay in 2012, it provoked a lot of interest among the public. Alexis Conran is a semi-professional poker player, spending lots of money in land-based casinos. However, his behaviour is an example of responsible gambling, which cannot be said about his father.

The latter is a fraudster who was sentenced to prison for committing crimes. He starts gambling and getting involved in illegal activities immediately after his term ends – and the documentary aims to show how different the approach to casinos can be. Completely opposite behaviours of both players allow experts to discover where the addiction comes from and search for efficient treatment.



This film is a clear indication of how vulnerable populations can be affected by gambling activities. “KidPoker” was released in 2015 by Francine Watson and Gary Davis. It’s the story of Daniel Negreanu, who is currently known as the most successful player. Born into a dysfunctional family, he started gambling when he was 15 and faced multiple challenges.

The boy eventually succeeded but had to overcome multiple obstacles, including the risk of gambling addiction. The documentary created a lot of noise in the public – and is an additional reminder that gambling is prohibited for underage individuals and must be banned in any region.


Louis Theroux: Gambling in Las Vegas

This is one of those must-watch gambling movies that make you think. The protagonist heads to the world gambling capital to reveal all the industry secrets. Louis Theroux explores how casinos work and the measures they implement to attract players to the gaming halls and keep them for as long as possible. The film was created in 2007, but all its narratives are more than relevant now. The author explores regular players’ behaviours and tries to understand what motivates high rollers to invest millions in casinos and how gambling addiction develops.


Final Verdict

Watching documentaries about gambling addiction is not only informative – it can help viewers avoid potential problems and diseases associated with this little hobby. Forewarned is forearmed! Awareness of possible consequences can assist in significantly reducing addiction levels globally. But does it mean people should completely avoid casinos and sportsbooks? Of course, no. This entertainment can be harmful when players gamble responsibly and set appropriate limits. Remember, it’s just a game that cannot replace real life!

Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

Thomas B.