Legendary Musicians That Were Really Into Gambling

There are a lot of interesting stories surrounding the legendary names in the music industry, and a lot of them seem to have been really into gambling. Well, nobody can blame them. They had access to significant amounts of money and some of them even had contracts with big casinos in Las Vegas.

Being stuck in a casino in the middle of the desert and with a lot of money in your pockets, doesn’t leave you with many options, does it? If you want to find out who the big names in the music industry are that couldn’t say no to a croupier, scroll down and discover for yourself.

Frank Sinatra

Don’t let his lovely voice and talent for entertainment mislead you into thinking that Ol’ Blue Eyes is innocent when it comes to gambling. Oh dear, not only did he enjoy himself by the table, but he was also known to unleash his temper on casino operators and croupiers. Especially when they denied him excessive amounts of credit he planned to use for gambling. Still, and without a doubt, Sinatra was the embodiment of the glory days of old Las Vegas, the days that gave rise to the family-vacation amusement park that is Vegas of today… but that’s a whole different article.

Back in 1967, on one occasion, he even picked a fight with Carl Cohen, American gambling executive and the manager of the Sands casino in Las Vegas. After throwing a handful of chips into the Cohen’s face, Cohen punched him. Frank ended up on the floor, with 2 teeth missing.

It’s still remains uncertain whether the fight was because Cohen closed his line of credit or Frank was about to end his contract with the Sands to sign a new one with Caesar’s Palace. In any case, he did it his way.

Scott Ian

Scott Ian, a famous rhythm guitarist, vocalist and founding member of the trash metal band Anthrax, also loves to gamble. In many Scott Ian interviews we could see his other interests. In fact, Scott loves to spend a lot of his time playing poker. He even pursued a professional career as a poker player.

In one interview, he said that thanks to technology he can now enjoy himself more playing poker, since he no longer needs to juggle poker and his music career. Today he enjoys playing poker online.

Scott Ian became interested in poker as a little child. He started to take poker seriously back in 2016, when he won the VH1 Rock & Roll Celebrity Tournament. On that occasion he had a chance to play against Sully Ema, Dusty Hill and Ace Frehley. Playing poker came quite natural for Scott Ian who has a lot of patience and great instincts.

Cee Lo Green

Did you know that Cee-Lo is, in fact, a gambling game? No? Yeah, a very popular gambling game played with three six-sided dice. The rules of this game are not exact and they vary from place to place. For instance, it can be played both with and without a banker. The mechanics are pretty simple though – all you have to do is wager on the points and roll the dice.

Now, why would Thomas DeCarlo Callaways, pick up CeeLo Green to be his stage name? The answer is more than obvious – Thomas either likes to gamble or he perceives his career as a musician to be a move of a gambler. In any case, his name did make a lot of us wonder whether he is really into gambling or just wants to leverage terminology to draw more attention to himself.

Lemmy Kilmister

Are you a fan of Motorhead? If so, then you already probably know that Lemmy Kilmister was really into gambling. After all, he did write Ace Of Spades. Unlike Scott Ian who prefers card games, Lemmy was not into poker and blackjack. Slot machines were definitely his cup of tea, if he ever had one.

If you want to hear about Lemmy’s life and career firsthand, I encourage you to see the documentary about this frontman and bassist, named “Lemmy: The Movie”. In this movie we can hear Dave Vanian, the singer of The Damned talking about Lemmy’s gambling habits. It seems that Lemmy was a frequent guest of a certain club in London, where he spend copious amount of time shaking hands with one armed bandits.

Dave Vanian recalls that Lemmy loved playing slot machines while taking sips of his favorite jack and coke cocktail. Which makes you wonder… If Lemmy hadn’t passed, would he have turned away from his London club and embraced the web experience, trying his hand at online Simba slot games, or the small and confided computer screen would have not been enough for his outsized personality?

Gladys Knight

Gladys Knight is another legendary musician with a celebrity gambler status. Her majesty, Empress of Soul, is a famous American singer and songwriter. In 1976 she even debuted as the lead in Pipe Dreams. She did so well that she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress.

We didn’t have to find out about her gambling habits from other sources than her own. In her autobiography book Between Each Line of Pain and Glory: My Life Story, Gladys Knight openly talks about her gambling addiction. Her favorite game was baccarat, though she also loved and enjoyed sports betting. She was so much into gambling that she almost lost everything.

It was impossible for her to keep it under control until one day she woke up after a gambling night drowned in alcohol. At that moment she realized that she had completely forgotten about her son, who she had to drive to school.

Sully Erna

Salvatore Paul “Sully” Erna is the lead vocalist for Godsmack. Hit Parader holds him in high regard and back in the 2006 he was put on the Top 100 Heavy Metal Vocalist list. As of 2010 Sully performs both solo and with Godsmack.

If you haven’t noticed the huge tattoo on his back, he has four aces going up in flames. The tattoo covers a large portion of his back and has a label beneath it – “No Justice”. It’s not by chance that he has this tattoo though. In fact, he had it done after losing a poker game. After he flopped quad aces, his opponent moved all-in, only to find out that his opponent has a royal flush. At that moment, Sully said: “There’s no justice in poker!”.

As you can see, some legendary musicians really loved to gamble. These six are just the tip of the celebrity gamblers iceberg. If you did a little extra digging, we are sure that you’d be astounded by the results.

Support Overblown!