Athletes are known for their physical prowess, endurance, and agility. Sometimes, the odds are stacked against them, yet they still do their best in the hopes of a win. It’s not surprising then that many sportsmen and women enjoy the thrill of online gambling. Besides, the booming igaming industry has taken the world by storm.
Nowadays, you can play poker against someone on another continent, watch and bet on sports in real-time, and even participate in gambling game shows. This global phenomenon has forced many countries to adjust their gambling laws or lose out on massive economic gains. Take Sweden, for example. In 2019, the Swedish Gambling Act was enacted, allowing previously outlawed private gambling operators to set up shop in the country.
Today, Swedish coaches, sports stars and the rest of the population can claim perfectly legal offers of “gratis pengar vid registrering”. That said, our expert author, Dominic Andreasson, takes a closer look at gambling, online games and athlete celebs who love both.
When Games, Gambling and Athletes Meet
Gambling, for athletes and the rest of us, can be an exciting way to pass the time. It can also be a serious hobby or profession. For some, it’s both, like those footballers who turned into poker players. Similarly, online games have become incredibly competitive, with hundreds of tournaments and championships held each year.
The esports industry has attracted sponsors, investors and a whole new generation of sports stars. Thousands of people tune in online to watch the action unfold as digital athletes battle it out in high-definition. What was once a fun way to spend time with friends and let some steam off has turned into a multi-billion pound industry.
Gambling operators didn’t waste any time cashing in on the action, either. Today, you can wager on your favourite esports player or league at many online casinos and sportsbooks. Even a few traditional athletes are known for enjoying this next-generation pastime.
4 Top Athletes Who Enjoy Online Games and Gambling
There’s no doubt that sports celebrities are competitive. Whether they’re out on the field, in the ring or on the court, they’ll usually play their hearts out. Some bring this same spirit with them for a bit of lighthearted fun in the virtual or brick-and-mortar casino lobby. Here are four sports stars who enjoy gambling online and playing games.
Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
As one of the highest-paid athletes of the decade, Mayweather is certainly no stranger to winning inside of the boxing ring. The world champion’s stellar professional record is matched by an impressive gambling streak.
He’s not shy to share the details, either. The boxing star often talks about his seven-figure bets on social media. He once made $45,000 after placing a $50,000 bet. Then again, when you’ve got that much money to burn, it’s not really a big deal.
Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson
Record-breaking and inaugural UFC flyweight world champion, Demetrious Johnson, enjoys playing online games during his downtime. Ironically, you won’t find him playing many sports titles. The Mighty Mouse much prefers fantasy games like Tekken or The Legend of Zelda. However, he has said that playing fighting games helps him choose different angles when he’s in the octagon.
When he’s not busy being the most-liked person on Facebook, the soccer superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo enjoys putting on his poker face. While he loves playing the card game with his friends and family, the pro athlete is no beginner, either. In 2015, the highly-skilled gambling enthusiast signed a deal with PokerStars and went against the Breaking Bad actor, Aaron Paul. Naturally, he won and donated his winnings to charity. Today, he’s still a member of Team PokerStars.
If Emmanuel Frimpong ever needs to come out of retirement, he can always make a living with a gaming console. The Ghanaian footballer and ex-AFC Eskilstuna team member has played and won FIFA against the famous YouTuber known as “KSI” on more than one occasion.
The Last Word
Thanks to technology, both gambling and games have been brought online to millions of people across the globe. As laws continue to change and betting becomes more accepted, so does the esports industry continue to evolve. In the midst of all of this, sit the athletes. Some enjoy poker, while others prefer to pick the gaming controller. Either way, one thing’s for certain – gaming and gambling aren’t going anywhere.