Athlete endorsements and the online casino industry

Athletics Weekly
Athlete endorsements and the online casino industry
Super Slots
Combining renowned athletes and online casinos is a smart marketing tool that can easily boost a brand’s player base

As the online casino industry continues to develop in the United States and internationally, we see marketing strategies emerge to capture players’ attention. Online casino sites work hard to strengthen their brands to ensure player retention and engagement. One strategy that is often utilized is athlete endorsements. Combining renowned athletes and online casinos is a smart marketing tool that can easily boost a brand’s player base. However, there is also a fine line to walk when it comes to challenges that can emerge with such partnerships.

Effective Marketing Strategy

Using athletes to bring in players via online casino sites is an effective marketing strategy. A respected athlete can bring in thousands, if not millions, of new players, based on the athlete’s influence. The athlete’s image, values, and persona can easily be used to boost a brand’s identity and credibility. Being smart with athlete endorsements can lead a casino gaming company to reach a broader audience base, boosting revenue earnings.

In the past, brands have teamed up with major athletes to increase their mainstream audience. In 2021, Shaquille O’Neal signed a deal with WynnBET in the US for a promotional partnership. Wayne Gretzky worked with BetMGM along with Tom Brady. These big names have helped bring more viewership and players to the casino brands.

Online casino operators utilize commercials and online ads to push athlete endorsements to the forefront. Athletes may be featured on the casino’s websites and gaming platforms, connected to promotions or special events. Gaming operators can use the athlete’s likeness in various ways to try and boost player retention. Smart online casino marketers use plans that make the most out of the endorsement deals by using various marketing methods and materials.

Regulatory Issues and Sports Integrity

Athlete endorsements have many advantages, but there are also downsides. Regulatory challenges often come into play, particularly with online gambling services. Only certain jurisdictions allow casino games or sports betting when connected to real-money play.

Companies must adhere to advertising standards and guidelines. To offer iGaming, an operator must be licensed and regulated in a state that has legalized gambling. In each state, the operator must follow the guidelines and rules set forth by gaming commissions and lawmakers.

This includes advertising and marketing standards. Athletes and casinos must ensure that all bases are covered regarding following guidelines and avoiding a negative public perception. For example, gambling is limited to certain age groups, usually 21 or older. Gambling advertisements must not cater to a younger audience.

Athletes are popular among kids, so measures must be taken to ensure children are not enticed to gamble. Some areas even restrict when ads can air or where they can go live to prevent minors from seeing the betting information. Commercials may be limited to particular time frames, usually late at night, or a limited number of commercials during a sports event.

It’s also important to uphold the integrity of the athlete and the sport regarding endorsement deals. Athletes are considered to be public figures with an established reputation in a given sport. If a player teams up with an online casino with a bad reputation, it could tarnish their image. Athletes must ensure they are working with an acceptable brand that also has a good reputation and is focused on integrity.

Responsible Gambling

Another key factor to consider is responsible gambling. Online casinos must offer resources and assistance to ensure players gamble safely. The information must reveal the perils associated with gambling and the aid provided for gambling-related problems.

Athletes must be able to communicate responsible gambling messaging and educate their fans. The goal is to ensure that participants can enjoy gambling as entertainment and stay safe. Most operators will feature responsible gambling messaging in ads to cover the required guidelines. Great care must be taken to place responsible gambling messaging in ads so players can understand the activity and take the appropriate action to protect themselves from harm.


Athlete endorsements can be a great option for athletes and online casinos. If conducted responsibly, the athlete can benefit from a lucrative deal, and the casino can build a larger player base thanks to the selected athlete’s popularity. More endorsement deals are expected in the future for the US as more states begin to launch sports betting and online casino gaming.