It’s well known that being a celebrity tends to open new doors. If we take, for example, the footballer David Beckham, the former England Captain has made much more from his various advertising and modelling campaigns than he ever did as a player. Brand “Becks” has led him to release several books, documentaries, calendars, and numerous Beckham-branded fragrances. Celebrity endorsement is big business, and it adds another level of appeal to a product.
But did you know that many celebrities have also lent their backing to casino games? The phenomenon is not entirely new, but it has accelerated in recent years, particularly in light of the growth of online casinos. If you’ve walked through a casino floor in a US city like Vegas or AC, you’ll probably have come across an Ellen Degeneres slot machine, as IGT launched a hugely popular game based on the talk show host in the 2010s. But online, you’ll find even more choice.
Enter Hell’s Kitchen
So, where to start? Perhaps with some of the most popular celebrity casino games. And one of the biggest celebrity games is Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen slot, which is based on the hot-tempered chef and the titular television show. It became a huge hit for NetEnt when released in 2020, and it has proved a popular choice for food lovers and slots fans all over the world.
Rock bands are perhaps the most common example of celeb-backed casino games, and we can provide a huge list of big bands and individual artists that have officially branded casino slots. Some of the big hitters include KISS Reels of Rock and KISS Tomb of Madness, Guns N’ Roses Video Slot, Motorhead, Twisted Sister, and Ozzy Osbourne. The high-octane guitar music, which is often incorporated into the games, sits well with the explosive style of these slots.
Of course, there are correlations between sports betting, particularly horse racing, and casino, and it leads to a plethora of sports stars backing casino games. Arguably the most famous is Frankie Dettori’s Magic Seven, which celebrates the legendary jockey’s incredible feat of winning all seven races in a single day at Ascot in 1996. Dettori also appears in a game within the Sporting Legend series by Playtech, with another featuring Northern Irish jockey AP McCoy. Not to be outdone, the jockey Peter Scudamore has a NetEnt game – Scudamore’s Super Stakes.
Soccer players pop up in the slot world
Soccer players have appeared in a host of casino slots. These include a cracking Diego Maradona slot game by Blueprint, which celebrates the career of the iconic Argentine. The aforementioned Sporting Legends series by Playtech also has a title based on the brilliant Brazilian Roberto Carlos. In the world of boxing, Mike Tyson has a game called Mike Tyson: Epic Knockout.
All of the games we have mentioned above are officially licensed products, and they will have to have an agreement with the image rights holders before launch. However, sometimes games developers can take some creative interpretation. An example of this would be Trump It Deluxe Epicways, which is based (unofficially) on the former President of the United States. We know, of course, that Trump has always been involved in the casino business, so perhaps he’s happy enough for his likeness to be used in a game.
Certainly, not all the “celebrities” who have casino games need to be alive, and many are more aptly viewed as historical figures. These include games based on Henry VIII and Tesla, as well as more contemporary figures like Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis. While they aren’t directly endorsed by the celebrity, it is often the case that image rights are purchased from the estate.
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Perhaps the final question to ask is whether the games are any good. The answer, as with all types of gaming, is that they vary in quality. But we would point out that the cream tends to rise to the top. Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen is hugely popular not because it is played by legions of foodies or budding chefs but due to the fact it offers fun gameplay and innovative features that capture the imagination of slots players.