LAS VEGAS (AP) — It might be news to Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck, but the stars of thriller “Runner Runner” were playing key roles in the fight over online gambling regulation Thursday, hours before the film’s opening.

The American Gambling Association has bought ads on major websites including Google, Facebook and the IMDb movie database framing the film as a “cautionary tale” that underscores the need for Congress to legalize online poker.

The screenwriters have said their story of a young gambler pulled into the criminal dealings of an offshore poker site was never intended as a political parable.

The Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation, a national nonprofit, sent a letter to the casino lobby Thursday morning calling its ads “dishonest” and demanding they be taken down.