Studies have shown that there is a potential link between being a professional athlete and enjoying casinos. The continual emphasis placed on competition in the profession leaves athletes highly susceptible to pursuing competitive games even in their spare time. Casino games offer a similar thrill to that which may be experienced on the pitch, field or court, replicating the excitement of winning in a different way.
The online casino industry launched in 1996 with the establishment of the first online venue from Microgaming. Since that time, online casinos have proliferated across the internet, and online casinos has become a favoured pastime in many countries. In the UK, there are more than 30 million licensed accounts at online iGaming companies, and remote casino accounts for the largest share of the market.
Online casinos have opened the doors for many people who may have previously been unwilling to indulge in casino games. People who may have been intimidated by the idea of visiting a brick-and-mortar casino, who did not live conveniently near to one or who had simply never considered visiting a casino now have all the excitement at their fingertips, without having to leave the house.
All types of people now enjoy playing casino games, as the comfort and convenience of being able to play from home or from anywhere on a mobile device at any time makes the pastime more accessible. While people from all walks of life now play casino games, one of the key demographics is professional athletes.
Many professional athletes have attracted the attention of the media; not for their sporting prowess, but for their love of making large wagers in the casino. These athletes have a passion for the rollercoaster of emotion that comes with wagering large amounts, and often also have the financial resources to be able to visit casinos both in person and online regularly.
The hometown of boxer Floyd Mayweather is Las Vegas, which perhaps plays some part in his love of casinos. Growing up surrounded by some of the most popular casinos in the world is bound to have some effect. Mayweather is famous not only for his fighting skills, but also for making huge bets on a single hand of blackjack, often wagering as much as $100,000 per hand.
Famous basketball player Michael Jordan retired from his main profession several years ago. However, his love for competition can still be seen in his casinos. Jordan is infamous for making high stakes bets in Vegas casinos and for bet on the outcome of golf games with other celebrity friends.
The golfer John Daly has gambled huge amounts in the past, occasionally playing as many as seven hands of blackjack simultaneously for anywhere between $5,000 and $15,000 per hand. However, in recent years he has curbed his habit somewhat – setting stop-loss limits and maximum bets of $25. Casinos sensibly without risking too much money ensures an enjoyable and exciting casino experience, as Daly has proven.
Charles Barkley has been talked about in the media almost as much for his casino outings as for his basketball. He is rumoured to have once won as much as $700,000 in a single weekend in 2007, through a combination of high-stakes blackjack and bets on the Super Bowl.
Footballer Wayne Rooney has loved a flutter on a variety of games and events throughout his career. He is famous for not always being able to win big off the pitch, having one reputedly lost £4,000 a minute in a two-hour casino session. However, with earnings at the time exceeding £300,000 per week, Rooney is one of the lucky few who can afford to play high-stakes games and take a loss.
Mario Balotelli, formerly of Manchester City, has made a name for himself as one of the most generous gamers of all time. While the footballer is known to enjoy a flutter on casino games, he is also known for sharing his winnings, He famously gave £1,000 to a homeless man on the streets outside a casino in Manchester after winning big inside.
Still in the world of UK premiership footballers, former England player Teddy Sheringham is renowned for his skill at the poker table. Sheringham has played in numerous professional tournaments over the years, including in the World Series of Poker, and has estimated career winnings of over $300,000.
Many athletes are in the enviable financial position of being able to afford to place high wagers on casino games without risking money they cannot afford. For most people, online casinos are a place where they can bet a few pounds or dollars at a time and enjoy the same thrill. Online casinos revenues are growing by approximately 10% per year in Europe, with no signs of this slowing down. In the UK, around 23% of people aged between 25 and 34 play online casino games for real money at least one a month, across all professions. While athletes may be more susceptible to the draw of the casino given their naturally competitive natures, people from all walks of life can enjoy casino responsibly and experience the excitement of a variety of games online.