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Playing to Win: A Moment of Truth Movie (1998)

A young girl is taken with a boy that she meets, but he leads her into gambling where she begins losing money, becomes desperate, and starts to steal.


James A. Contner


Sibyl Gardner


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Shelley Fabares ... Nancy Erickson
Lisa Dean Ryan Lisa Dean Ryan ... Dana Erikson
Malcolm Stewart ... Paul
Teryl Rothery ... Counsellor
David Lascher ... Marshall Kearns
Melissa Barker Sauer Melissa Barker Sauer ... Janice (as Melissa Barker-Sauer)
Kirby Morrow ... Ryan
Kimberley Warnat ... Kristi / Kate Erikson
Robert Moloney ... Artie
Gordon Currie ... Frank
P. Lynn Johnson ... Ellen
Terry David Mulligan ... Mr. Kearns
Alandra Alandra ... Pat Donohue
Ken Camroux-Taylor ... Judge Black (as Ken Camroux)
Alf Humphreys ... Matt (as Alfred E. Humphreys)


A young girl is taken with a boy that she meets, but he leads her into gambling where she begins losing money, becomes desperate, and starts to steal.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






USA | Canada



Release Date:

11 February 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Playing to Win See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Are these people real?
21 January 2006 | by paultrefzger-1See all my reviews

The acting was OK. This problem of the week was "addictive gambling". My problem today was watching this TV-movie. I loved Shelley Fabares in, I think it was "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" or one of its spin-offs. She plays the concerned mother of the teenage girl (played by Lisa Dean Ryan) that follows every suggestion her new boyfriend (played by David Lascher) gives her, to get money, short of armed robbery.

In the very beginning when he's talking to her about how "you never lose" at gambling, a thug (well played by Gordon Currie)comes up to boyfriend and tells him, very audibly to our heroine, that if he doesn't repay him the $200 he owes him he'll do something akin to breaking his kneecaps. "Dana" cheerfully goes gambling with her new boyfriend. She loses, learns how to steal, gambles some more with prince charming, wins a little, loses much hore, steals some more, pawns her mother's wedding ring, etc.

If that seems unbelievable, you should hear her mom (Fabares) when she finds out that her jewelry and the girl's stereo, etc. are all missing,(also Dana's been fired from her job and been arrested) and it's because she's lied, cheated and stolen so she could gamble. Mom says to the boyfriend's dad, after "the kids" are let off because of his "connections" with the judge, "I was relieved it was gambling." and then, "You mean gambling is addictive?" Have she and her family been living in a bubble?

The other thing that bothered me was that neither women......the daughter nor the mother was strong enough, nor capable enough to figure out the obvious. Daughter did everything "new boyfriend" suggested without question, then eventually, after the "thug" threatened her and her family, she told her mom the truth about how she'd been doing about anything to get money and what did mom do when daughter asked her advice? She said "I don't know, but I'll find out from .....(HER new acquaintance)", the "jerk boyfriend's" father, an alcoholic.

The answer ultimately, of course, was to join gambler's anonymous. Nothing was said about the outcome of the thug's threats. But, more important, the flick ignored both women's inability to say "no" and to make intelligent decisions on their own. You'd think they had never watched a TV-movie.

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