Exploring Partnerships Between Athletes & Online Gambling Platforms 

In recent years, there has been a growing trend of athletes becoming ambassadors for online gambling platforms, forming unique partnerships that blend the excitement of sports with the thrill of casino gaming. These athletes are usually iconic players who have a huge influence on and off the pitch/court. Even though there have been many such partnerships over the years, some have stood out.  


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What Is a Casino Partnership About? 

As casino ambassadors, athletes participate in promotional activities like appearing in ads, attending events, and interacting with fans on social media. They lend their names and images to casino sites, giving them their stamp of approval and bringing in more people. In return, these athletes often get big endorsement deals and a chance to connect with their fans in a special and exciting way. 


Top Athletes With Casino Endorsements 

Cristiano Ronaldo 

Cristiano Ronaldo is without a doubt one of the most crowned football players in the world, with five Ballon d’Ors and multiple trophies on his shelf. With over 500 million Instagram followers, he’s also one of the most influential people on the planet. Back in 2015, the Portuguese superstar signed a partnership with Pokerstars and agreed to star in an advert for the platform.  


The commercial showed Ronaldo hosting a fun-filled charity poker night with his friends, and engaging in typical home game activities such as ordering takeout. Even during the excitement, Ronaldo found time to capture a memorable selfie with the pizza delivery guy before swiftly returning to the intense poker action with a surprisingly good poker face. 


Usain Bolt 

Usain Bolt, an 8-time Olympic gold medallist sprinter, also known as the fastest man on Earth, has dominated the world of track and field throughout his illustrious career. In 2020,  Bolt extended his influence past the track by collaborating with international iGaming company Ganapati PLC. The partnership aimed to create the very first official Usain Bolt online slot game. 


In February that year, Bolt joined Ganapati at the ICE London to prepare for the launch of their new game. Bolt expressed his excitement about the collaboration, emphasising the natural fit between Ganapati’s innovative content and his own brand. Ganapati’s COO, Juliet Adelstein, echoed the sentiment, stating that the partnership showcased the company’s significant growth. 


Boris Becker 

Back in 2016, Olympic gold medal winner and tennis legend Boris Becker teamed up with Partypoker to become their brand ambassador. To commemorate this collaboration, Partypoker launched a tennis-themed promotion called “Beat The Ace.” Players had a chance to join four $5,000 freeroll tournaments, with the ultimate winner getting the chance to face Boris Becker live in Germany, with a prize pool of up to $25,000.  


Tom Waters, the Group Head at Partypoker, expressed his excitement about having Becker on board, highlighting his mental strength and competitive spirit. Additionally, Partypoker announced the upcoming “Partypoker MILLIONS” tournament, rewarding a £1,000,000 prize for the winner, making it one of Europe’s largest prize pools.  


Neymar Jr 

In 2021, Neymar Jr, the celebrated Brazilian superstar of PSG, joined forces with Pokerstars as their Cultural Ambassador. In this collaboration, Neymar worked closely with the casino on various aspects of culture, including music, art and design. Neymar’s creative touch extended to crafting exclusive playlists, designed to infuse every poker game with a captivating soundtrack.  


Neymar also starred in an advertisement for the casino, with some extra promotions and activities featuring the star being displayed on the Pokerstars website. The Global Director of Brand and Creative at Pokerstars, Martin Niere, hailed Neymar’s artistic flair and underscored the thrilling fusion of poker and culture as an exciting breakthrough. 


The Impact of Athlete-Casino Partnerships 

For the players, these casino endorsements usually give them a fantastic chance to connect with their fans beyond the sports arena. Additionally, online casinos usually pay millions of dollars to secure endorsements from these popular athletes, so it’s a great way for them to earn more income using their personal brand and image. 


What about the gambling platforms? They’re not just randomly teaming up with sports stars; instead, they are smartly leveraging the fame and influence of these athletes to attract a wider audience. Think about it, when you see your favourite sports personality endorsing a particular gambling platform, it creates a sense of authenticity and credibility. You trust their judgement and are more likely to give it a try.  


Are The Partnerships Successful? 

Overall, the partnership between athletes and online casinos has been mutually beneficial, providing a win-win situation for both parties. Athletes have gained additional income streams and forged stronger bonds with their fans, while the gambling platforms have boosted their credibility while drawing more customers at the same time. 





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