The music world has had a bond with gambling ever since the Rat Pack became the iconic faces of Las Vegas. Whether it was Sammy Davis Jr. gracing visitors with his smooth tones or Frank Sinatra dazzling the crowds, Vegas created a unique bond between music and the casinos.
And since then world-renowned artists, from Celine Dion to the Rolling Stones, have performed on the desert city’s various stages. Little surprise then that musicians have a liking for everything from slot machines to blackjack and the poker table. And as we’ll discover in this list of the music world’s biggest gamblers, some artists even have casino games named after them.
In between rapping about women and recreational drugs, Nelly has also revealed how he’s blown thousands of dollars on gambling in his single “Hot In Here”. The rapper from St. Louis is a frequent poker player and has taken part in major events including the World Series of Poker and a live match in Monte Carlo.
The singer, famous for recording the Bond theme music for Licence to Kill and fronting Gladys Knight and the Pips, spent a lot of time living in Reno and Las Vegas. It’s here where she started to frequent the casinos and once reportedly spent $40,000 in a single night.
Jay Z, a casino hobbyist, is known to be shrewd with his money, amassing a fortune of over $500 million across his various activities in music and business. That has meant he’s not averse to the high stakes tables and he’s known to be a regular in Vegas’s top casinos. It is claimed that he once lost $500,000 in a single poker hand.
Synonymous with casinos, Frank Sinatra’s many years performing in Las Vegas made him a regular on the gaming tables with pals such as Elvis Presley and Dean Martin. Ol Blue Eyes – along with the rest of the Rat Pack – created a unique kinship between music and gambling which has even seen the iconic singer’s name associated with casino games including PartyGaming’s five reel, 20 pay line video slot.
Lemmy, Motorhead’s late frontman, was known to be an avid gambler who enjoyed slot machines. The fact one of the rock band’s greatest hits was Ace of Spades is no surprise and the bass player was once spotted in London playing one-armed bandits after a gig. NetEnt’s five reel, 76 pay line Motorhead slots game – inspired by the band – is available to play at many online operators including LeoVegas which currently has a free spins offer via free-spins.org.
Scott Ian has become a notable poker player even though many will recognise him as the guitarist from Anthrax. He’s now known to take part in events around the USA following his success at a VH1 charity tournament in which he won. Phil Hellmuth, the poker legend, is apparently one of Ian’s mentors.
Stars from the world of music have as much fun in the casino as the rest of us. But maybe their approach to risk is a little less circumspect. With this unique relationship between music and casinos underlined by slots games inspired by Jimi Hendrix and Guns n Roses, the two appear synonymous, whether that’s the industry’s stars hitting the gaming tables or us trying to earn free spins and a big pay-out on the Karaoke Party slot machine.