Gambling, Poker And Celebrities: Not So Chalk and Cheese

Celebrities have been earning a fortune for random sponsorship deals for many years. From sporting apparel to soft drinks, nothing is crossing the line. And with the boom in recent years of online gambling, new poker operators and other gambling entities have looked to our loved celebrities to promote their brand. And why not, a billion-dollar industry can afford to splash some cash here and there, and nothing says fancy more than a well-placed socialite.

1. Sprightly Sporting Sponsorships in Online Poker

PokerStars, hands down the world’s biggest online poker site, has used celebrity sponsorship to near perfection for years. Starting with the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, their quest to be the best was an ideal match to the world record holder. But they didn’t stop there, continuing on the back of their Lightning Bolt campaign, they managed to coax long time poker fan, Cristiano Ronaldo into their marketing team too.

Neymar Junior of Brazil football fame, and holder of the world’s highest paid football player record, is also on their books. Champions rely on champions it seems. With millions being pumped into these sponsorship deals, it seems to be working for the StarsGroup as they continue to lead the way in online poker.

Other famous sports star signings include Swedish footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic teaming up with casino powerhouse BetHard. The LA Galaxy star broke into the US with relative ease and has been a successful investment for the Maltese based casino operator. Likewise, Liverpool football’s Michael Owen whose contract with BetVictor was rumoured to be worth a whopping sum to help them break into the Chinese sportsbook market.

2. No Publicity is Bad Publicity

With not exactly the best reputation as a wholesome family past time, gambling embraced their bad boy image with their perfect bad boy counterpart in none other than boxing legend “Iron” Mike Tyson. Cracking a deal with Inspire Gaming including becoming the muse for their Mike Tyson Knockout Slot was money well spent, and a 15-year deal was born from it.

And speaking of interesting characters, BGO Casino managed to rope in one-time television celebrity and general socialite Paris Hilton to boost their stock. 

3. Money Talks, and Gamblers have Money

Possibly the most famous of all marketing strategies when it comes to gambling was the 2015 City of Dreams Manila commercial. Picture both Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro vying for the same role in none other than Martin Scorsese’s new film. The pair meet in the City of Dreams Resort and Casino to find out that no, they weren’t finally acting together. A competition was to be had. The fact this commercial contained not just Oscar-calibre actors but also an Oscar winning director in Scorsese wasn’t the most amazing part of this ad. That was the budget.

At a cool $70 million, with $13 million apiece for the two actors, it proved that gambling was on par with any other sector in the world. And were just as apt to spend a small fortune as Nike or Coca-Cola. The recent Michael Jordan documentary adding to this as basketball has been a mere pittance of his income when compared to sponsorship deals, amassing him a cool $2 billion.

In the far-east, gambling has been a huge industry in the likes of Macao for many years. That this kind of money could be spent by a company based in the Philippines was possibly a little more of a shock to some. Again, to be the best you have to compete with the best and in this case, use and pay for the best.

What’s the future of Gambling advertising to be?

Like most industries, it’s a dog eat dog world out there. To say that online gambling is a competitive industry would be like saying Trump has fantastic hair; everyone is talking about it and it just gets bigger. And like any business, to be the best, you need to adapt and remain productive to keep your place at the top of the pile.

Gambling companies will, for sure, keep spending the money to lure celebrities into their marketing strategies. And why not? If we keep putting these people up on the ridiculously high pedestals like we have, then we will certainly follow them blindly towards whatever it is they decide to endorse. For better, or for worse, you be the judge.