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What's the Connection Between Basketball and Casinos?

Over the past couple of decades, commercial casinos have grown rapidly. This is believed to have happened because of two different reasons.

Firstly, gaming in various parts of the world has been slowly legalised. Plus, the experience economy has also experienced growth.

Licensed casinos are expanding into new markets and generating colossal revenue figures, the likes of which have never been experienced before. The online gaming market's size, combined with global casinos, has now surpassed $220 billion.

This remains impressive, considering the increasing pressures bricks and mortar casinos continue to face.

Connection Number One. Use of Casino Games in Video Games

The first connection between basketball and casinos is their use within video games titles such as NBA 2K20. This game can be considered more of a casino than anything to do with basketball.

As well as card packs, basically another form of a loot box, trailers feature slot machines, roulette wheels, and pachinko machines that encourage players to gamble their money.

The slot games aim is to gain prizes from matching up gems, a similar premise used with the roulette wheel and pachinko machines, something used to overcome tight gaming laws in Japan.

The adverts are so packed with casino games that some have mistaken it for an advert for an actual casino. They also portray gaming positively, emphasising the joy of winning and the thrill of taking part.

As you'd expect, the use of gaming within video games has attracted some degree of controversy. This may soon force Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony to include the odds of winning on the boxes of physical video games.

Aside from this, 2K have managed to utilise loot boxes in their games well. Perhaps they have been careful about what they can get away with, with a keenness to earn some serious money before things change once more.

While some aren't pleased about using casino games in video games, many players simply don’t care. After all, they have been a feature in sports games for some time. In fact, games like FIFA have relied on card packs as an integral part of overall gameplay.

It can be argued that it is an essential part of revenue as well. $800,000 alone for EA is generated through this kind of activity in their "Ultimate Team" game.

Connection Number Two. Basketball Players who Enjoy Casinos

Firstly, there's Michael Jordan. Once taking a starring role in the 1996 film "Space Jam", he is well known for leaving the court, then heading to the closest casino for some gaming.

He even gambled straight after the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, heading straight down to a local casino after one of his games and playing until the early hours of the morning.

Games he's a particular fan of are placing sports bets and craps. He certainly has a competitive personality, both on and off the court, regularly competing with other sports stars and his friends.

However, how much he wins may be questionable. He once lost $1.25 million during a single crisp session. In comparison, one of his friends managed to walk away with a cool $1 million during another bet.

Charles Barkley is yet another NBA star who enjoys casinos. This 6'5" football star who puts in an impressive performance on the court is no longer with the NBA. However, he still gets involved with gaming.

Despite experiencing some pretty devastating losses, this hasn't come at a deficit to him or his family, which is good.

Another NBA star gambler is Alan Iverson, a Philadelphia Sixer who has played in eleven all-star games. He is very devoted to games like blackjack and poker.

The final basketball player who also happens to enjoy a spot of gambling is JR Smith. Formerly of the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks, he’s now the Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard.

One sign he is a somewhat successful gambler is when $15,000 in cash was recovered from thieves when his mansion was once broken into. He later referred to it as "gambling money".

Several Interesting Connections Exist Between Basketball and Casinos

The first is the use of gambling within video titles such as NBA 2K20, where players can spin roulette wheels, play slots or pachinko machines in the game or in adverts.

Although this has proved controversial with some people, it appears to be hugely popular with many players. In fact, this type of activity actually produces a large amount of revenue in itself.

The other connection is with basketball players. When not actually on the court, many enjoy heading down to their local casino. Or perhaps even a well-known establishment in Vegas.

Some aren't particularly successful in their pursuits. Like JR Smith, others, with his mysterious suitcase of $15,000 "gambling money", clearly are!