It is easy to see how some of the world’s most famous stars are quickly enticed into the world of the casino. A life filled with glitz and glamour, allied to a vast amount of disposable income and plenty of free time, means that some of the world’s most famous celebrities not only have plenty of cash to spend, but they also have the opportunity to spend it!
While you may not read of their exploits spread over the front pages of the latest newspaper, it is without doubt that many of the top casinos around the world regularly host some of the world’s most famous names to play their games quietly and, occasionally, privately.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most famous household names in the world today, the types of games they play and in which casinos you are likely to find them, both in the real world and also online.
Gambling insiders reckon that Las Vegas, given its ostentatious outlook, glamour and location is certainly the most popular celebrity gambling destination in the world and some of the most popular casinos along Las Vegas’ famous ‘strip’ often play host to the rich and famous.
In terms of grandiosity, the Bellagio is hard to beat and the cavernous insides, brimming with crystal, chandeliers, ornate decorations and lavish, sweeping staircases is the casino of choice for many Hollywood A-listers. Movie stars Matt Damon and Demi Moore are reported to be regular attendees in the casinos high stakes poker room, as is Baseball star Alex Rodriguez.
In addition to a host of famous names from the film industry, the Bellaggio is also a popular haunt for some of the world’s best poker players. Canadian ace Daniel Negreanu for example, is known to favour playing his games of high stakes poker in the legendary hotel.
It is not just the fountain-laced facade of the Bellagio that attracts famous people through its doors in Las Vegas. Many of the city’s casinos have realised that there is a lot of money to be made from celebrities with cash to spend and many will bend over backwards to accommodate a celebrities every whim.
One such casino that does this is The Palms casino. Over the years this has attracted many different celebrities through its doors including the likes of TV presenter Ryan Seacrest, model and actress Pamela Anderson as well as Hollywood superstars Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis.
The reason for this is that The Palms will offer to arrange games of poker, craps, roulette or blackjack, or indeed any other casino game that takes the celebrities choice, in a separate area of the casino, away from the general public. This means that celebrities and their friends, or carefully selected other players, can play away from the glare of the public and focus on their gaming.
Yet while many celebrities may enjoy the exclusivity that these rooms give them, many more are attracted into the palms for other reasons. Bruce Willis, for example, has been spotted playing craps in the general gaming area (at one point, the Die Hard and Moonlighting star was reported to be $100,000 down at the table), while Ben Affleck is believed to be a regular attendee at The Palms no-limit poker parlor, where the minimum bet is said to be a single $1,000 chip.
True to form, Baywatch star Pamela Anderson has also been spotted playing in the general gaming area alongside other punters from across the globe, favouring the Playboy slot machine.
While Las Vegas may attract most of the celebrity market in the US, it is by no means the only city to attract the big names. On the eastern seaboard, Atlantic City casinos are also bringing in the celebrity dollar, with many of New York’s most famous celebrities familiar faces in the gaming rooms.
At the upscale Borgata hotel and casino, the likes of singer Jon Bon Jovi, Soprano’s actress Jamie Lynn Sigler and star of The Wedding Singer, Drew Barrymore have been seen playing at many of its 4,100 slots, 200 gaming tables and 85-table poker room.
Another regular guest in Atlantic City is said to be Friends star and now successful director David Schwimmer, who is reported to play the general tables alongside the public frequently and often plays online too.
It is not just in the US however that the world’s most famous like to let their hair down. Head to The Atlantis Casino on Paradise Island in the Bahama’s and you may rub shoulders with celebrity couple Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell and basketball star Dennis Rodham. Alternatively, those down under living or visiting Melbourne can head to the lavish Crown Casino in the city, which is a popular haunt with Tennis stars Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova, especially when the Australian Open is under way, while pop star and actor Justin Timberlake has also been spotted enjoying one of the casinos many attractions.
Tempting as it may be to assume that celebrities playing in the casino is a recent invention, the truth is that almost since celebrity existed, they have found ways to spend their money in casinos. Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky for example, may be famous for writing War and Peace and Crime and Punishment, but he also wrote The Gambler and for good reason, as he was a chronic gambler and reportedly lost a fortune in Russian casinos.
Even nowadays, the likes of the British Royal Family, Australian billionaire Kerry Packer not to mention a whole host of people from the world of sports, film and the arts are all tempted into spending some of their vast fortune on some form of gambling. Indeed Packer still holds the record for the world’s biggest loss at a single casino, where at a London casino, he lost $28m within the space of three weeks.
So next time you venture into a casino, or log in online, take a look at who your opponents are and don’t be too surprised if one day, there is a famous face looking down at their chips, from behind a pair of expensive sunglasses.