Gambling begins as an enjoyable, harmless diversion from the hustles and bustles of work and daily life, which then turns into an unhealthy obsession if not put under control. This is true for many celebrities who play at the casino or gamble online primarily for fun and recreation but then end up becoming gambling addicts.
Given their tendency to go overboard with gambling, can celebrities practice and promote responsible gambling?
Stars Who Struggled with Gambling Addiction
While some stars manage to treat gambling simply as a pastime to take a break from their usually busy schedule and lifestyle, for others it has become a hard habit to break.
Considering the fact that most (if not all!) celebrities love to gamble and promote the activity as one that’s all glitz and glam, one begs to question whether or not they’re setting an example. Indeed, we’ve heard of quite a number of celebrities who couldn’t control their habits and had to call it quits.
Over the years, we’ve seen just how many prominent figures in the entertainment and sports industry have been negatively impacted by problem gambling.
In 2001, Ben Affleck was forced to admit himself into rehab after racking up massive losses due to compulsive gambling. After completing his rehab, many thought he would entirely quit gambling but that wasn’t the case as the award-winning actor continued to play cards.
There had been reports Affleck was advised to seek further help for his gambling problem, which allegedly led to him being banned from playing blackjack at a Las Vegas casino, a story he has repeatedly denied. His gambling addiction was believed to play a major role in the breakdown of his marriage with long-time partner Jennifer Garner. The pair divorced in 2018.
And who would forget Allen Iverson? The 11-time NBA All-Star and 2001 MVP, who spent most of his basketball career with the Philadelphia 76rs, is one of the most iconic players in NBA history. He had it all – fame, money, a decorated career, a beautiful family – but his gambling addiction ruined everything. In 2012, Iverson and his wife Tawanna ended their relationship in a bitter divorce, with the basketball star losing custody of his five children.
Following his retirement from the sport in 2013, Iverson went nearly broke. He had accumulated huge debts due to excessive gambling. His bank account was seized and his properties went into foreclosure as he was banned from Atlantic City casinos because of his gambling problem.
Celebrities as Gambling Promoters
Actors, sports stars, and other celebrities have massive followings which is why they are being used by gambling companies in their advertising and marketing efforts in a bid to attract more customers. The likes of Paris Hilton, Robert de Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Aaron Paul, Kayvan Novak, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Neymar all featured in gambling promotion materials at some point.
Celebrities are a huge help in terms of driving customers to the gambling world, but they can’t be relied upon when it comes to promoting responsible gambling.
For this reason, governments around the world have introduced tougher restrictions on gambling advertisements that feature famous personalities. The UK for example now bans gambling operators from using celebrities, including sportspeople, to promote their products. TV stars, social media influencers, and those popular among minors are also covered by the ban.
Responsible Gambling is Nearly Impossible in the World of Celebrities
As to the question of whether celebrities can promote responsible gambling, the reality on the ground shows they cannot.No matter how many times they tell people to gamble responsibly, it would be hard for them to practice what they preach.
Celebrities like Affleck and Iverson clearly failed in the crucial aspect of responsible gambling. Fame and wealth are a dangerous combination especially when it comes to setting limits. Celebrities tend to splurge their money on their lavish lifestyle and bad habits.
While some did manage to overcome their addiction, such as Charlie Sheen, Matt Damon, and Gladys Knight, many celebrities just couldn’t handle it, and unfortunately, the realization always comes too late.
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