Celebrity Ambassadors In The Gambling Industry - Are They Worth It?

Celebrity Ambassadors In The Gambling Industry - Are They Worth It?

Facts Checked
Published Date · March 4, 2024 · Last Updated · March 4, 2024 ·Read Time · 5 mins

The world of celebrity ambassadors can sometimes appear to be a bit of an odd marketing decision, depending on: both the celebrity chosen to represent the brand, and the brand themselves. Sometimes these celebrity partnerships can seem very far stretched and somewhat disconnected to one another. For example, who remembers rapper superstar Nicki Minaj being a brand ambassador for sports betting operator Maximbet? What association could a female rapper possibly have to sports betting? Especially when there's no record anywhere of them having any affiliation with sports, let alone sports betting. This is where trust gets lost between consumers and celebrity partnerships, especially in the gambling field…

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So just what are consumers really thinking about celebrity ambassadors in the gambling world? Are they worth the investment, or are celebrities too far detached from the gambling world to encourage their fans to participate, as though they most likely don’t even participate themselves? Let's find out!

The Statistics

Casino.Org surveyed 3,000 US participants in February 2024, to unpack their opinions on celebrities endorsing gambling products, and offers. Their findings discovered that the general public trust brands less when they use celebrity endorsements, and the gambling industry appeared to be the least trusted when utilizing celebrity endorsements.

  • 60.7% trust brands less when they use celebrity endorsements
  • 81.8% of participants believed that celebrity brand deals lack credibility, meanwhile 7.3% don't trust the brand’s marketing decision, 6.7% don’t like the celebrity while the remaining 4.1% selected ‘other’
  • When it came to why people trust celebrity endorsements, the majority (37.4%) said they liked the celebrity, 24.6% said they trusted the brand’s marketing decision, 23.% said it feels credible whilst the remaining 14.7% selected ‘other’
  • The gambling industry ranks as the least trusted industry for celebrity brand deals, followed by finance and technology, holding just a 2.3% trust rate.
  • 66.4% reveal that a celebrity and gambling partnership doesn’t make sense
  • 57.5% of people disapproved Paris Hilton’s latest WOW Vegas partnership
  • 53.6% expressed disapproval of Jamie Foxx and BetMGM’s partnership as well

Why Pick A Celebrity Ambassador for Gambling?

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Celebrity ambassadors can be an integral part of a marketing strategy for a brand, especially when the chosen celebrity has somewhat of a connection to the brand or industry. This is because they have a huge, often extremely loyal, following and fan base, who want to be just like them. Therefore, they trust the celebrity, and if they advise something, or promote something, then their fans are most likely to buy into it. However, trust is the key word in all of this.

Celebrity ambassadors have been used since the 19th century, to promote products and services. In fact, one of the first celebrities to be a brand ambassador was West End actress Lillie Langtry, who became the poster-girl for Pears Soap back in 1882. The brand used Langtry as she had a pale complexion and the advertisement was for the first ever translucent bar of soap - so the partnership made sense; especially as she was a well-known actress at the time.

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This is what you expect, when you see a celebrity partnership, you expect some sort of relationship to the product. When that relationship isn’t there, you wonder why the brand thought it would be a good idea, which in turn makes you naturally trust the brand less. The same goes for gambling, you want to see a celebrity endorsement that makes sense - a celebrity that loves to gamble, advertising a gambling brand? Perfect. A rich nepo baby, who has never gambled in their life, being the face of a huge gambling brand? It makes no sense.

Celebrities are also a great way of bringing in a new demographic, especially if they appeal to younger customers who could end up, potentially, being gamblers if they're persuaded by the right celebrity. Additionally, the brands are targeting the celebrities entire fanbase, so if they have millions of followers, a percentage of them will pursue the endorsement; and that can mean thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of new potential customers off the back of one marketing campaign.

Are Celebrity Endorsements in Gambling Worth It?

Similar to other industries, like the fashion industry and the food industry, the gambling industry also jumped aboard the celebrity endorsement bandwagon. So far we have seen big names like Paris Hilton, Chris Rock, Drake, Mike Tyson, and Conor McGregor - to name a few- be associated with both old and new brands under the gambling umbrella.

Back in 2015, PokerStars signed Cristiano Ronaldo to be the celebrity face of their brand, and the collaboration was a success - making many new players (presumably football fans) sign up to the site. However, fans of Ronaldo also know that he is actually quite the connoisseur when it comes to poker, in fact he beat Breaking Bad actor, Aaron Paul, in a PokerStars duel for charity. This might not mean much to some, but when you know how good Paul is at poker, it will reflect just how strong Ronaldo is, to be able to beat him. This partnership was effective because the celebrity endorsing the product had a relationship to the brand, making it make sense.

Meanwhile, some faces may make sense - such as Paris Hilton’s latest deal with WOW Vegas, although the general public and her fans don’t realize; and therefore, as clarified in the statistics, they disapprove of the partnership. However, she has a stronger connection than most would think - Hilton has actually been banned from a few of the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip too, additionally she won $30,000 at the Wynn on her birthday back in 2012 and she also won $50,000 on blackjack in 2014, so Hilton is definitely no stranger to gambling and certainly seems to be quite a fan of it herself. But, on the other hand, if people didn’t know this, they would presume it was artificial, inauthentic, and just a way for the brand to reach a bigger audience.

All in all, celebrity brand endorsements in gambling are…. a bit of a gamble. These sorts of partnerships are mainly effective when the celebrity actually participates in it themselves and there is a record of it - be that online, or in their history - whereas celebrities like Drake, sponsored by Stake, are a little harder to believe. Prior to his partnership, Drake didn’t gamble elsewhere and he is actually part-owner of Stake - so just how legit are his gigantic wagers that he makes on the platform?

Any endorsement made by a celebrity needs to be relevant; athletes (active and retired) being attached to sports betting brands makes sense, celebrities that enjoy to gamble (that the public knows about), make sense, anything out of that scale leaves much to be desired, and little to be trusted. So unless the celebrity fits in either of those boxes, the endorsement will probably do more harm than good; especially in terms of finances, because those celebrities cost a lot!


Lucy Wynne

Content Writer


Tim Williams

Head of Content