Sports Betting Is The Central Plot In “Uncut Gems”
Adam Sandler is mostly known for his long list of comedy films — ranging from Happy Gilmore (1996) to Big Daddy (1999) and Mr. Deeds (2002).
But Sandler entered a different movie genre when he took center stage for Uncut Gems (2019), the blockbuster crime thriller directed by brothers Josh and Benjamin Safdie.
Though many of Sandler’s previous films were met with universally negative reviews and backlash, this one was generally well-received. It made $50 million at the box office, and Julia Fox — who played Julia De Fiore in the film — received a Breakthrough Actor nomination at the 2019 Gotham Awards. Taylor Russell would win the award for her performance as Emily Williams in Waves.
Uncut Gems was purely done for entertainment purposes, like most films. But sports fans and bettors can learn a lot about the New York gambling industry in Uncut Gems. Basketball Hall of Famer and former Brooklyn Nets big man Kevin Garnett stars in the film. The 2008 NBA Champion with the Boston Celtics is a vital part of the entire Uncut Gems plot.
The Empire State recently legalized sports betting. Aside from enjoying New York-based casinos and sporting events, you can also bet online when you visit New York betting sites.
The betting market has taken off rapidly in New York. Back in February, it was noted that there was $2.4 billion worth of sports wager in the state over a five-week period.
Major sportsbooks like Caesars NY, DraftKings NY and FanDuel NY launched in early 2022. You can bet on New York’s major professional sports teams — the NHL’s Rangers and Islanders, the NFL’s Giants and Jets, the NBA’s Knicks and Nets, Mets and Yankees of MLB and the New York City Football Club of MLS.
There’s a wide variety of bets you can place. This includes betting on the winner of a specific game, parlays, futures(championship odds, division winners) and prop bets.
Lessons In “Uncut Gems”
Sports betting was not legalized in the Big Apple at the time of the Uncut Gems’ theatrical release.
In fact, it had only been slightly over a year and a half since the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which essentially banned sports betting in most parts of the country.
The SCOTUS argued that it was a violation of the Tenth Amendment. The ruling legalized sports betting around the United States, and several states have since made a form of it legal.
Uncut Gems follows the life and career of New York-based jewelry store owner Howard Ratner (played by Sandler).
Ratner is a gambling addict who gets tied up with mob-related criminals, thus placing him in trouble. Ratner lends Garnett a priceless opal that was discovered in Ethiopia. In return, the NBA legend lends his ring to Ratner, who ends up pawning it.
Throughout the movie, Ratner places a wide variety of bets in order to get enough money and pay off the bets he owes to the film’s villains. This includes betting on the outright winner of a game (in this movie, it’s the Boston Celtics), the point spread of the game plus several over/under lines for Garnett.
So by watching Uncut Gems, first-time sports gamblers can get a firm idea of the variety of sports bets and parlors.
It provides a clear outline of the many different bets you can place. For instance, a New York-sports fan could place a bet on the Yankees, Knicks and Rangers all winning in one game — which would lead to a greater payday compared to betting on one specific team.
Ratner finds himself in a series of personal life hardships due to a failed marriage and his associations with the gambling criminals. In short, the movie cautiously shows viewers how a gambling addiction can take over and endanger one’s life.
Sadly, gambling addiction is a real-life problem that affects millions of Americans. According to the National Center For Responsible Gaming (NCRG), about one percent of America’s adult population “has a severe gambling problem.”
In the case of the Howard Ratner character, he jeopardized his career, family relationships and life by getting addicted to gambling. That ultimately leads to the heartbreaking demise of his character.
Uncut Gems greatly outlines the danger of getting too caught up in gambling. Sandler brilliantly portrays a devoted and caring person whose gambling addiction ultimately costs him everything.
Ratner’s character may be fictional, but it’s a strong depiction of how a real-life gambling addict can lose the most precious things in their life. Sports betting is a pastime for many, but as the 2019 blockbuster film showed, it’s important to do so responsibly.