Who are the most Famous Gambling Addicts?

Who are the most Famous Gambling Addicts?

Gambling addiction affects people of all ages, income groups, cultures, and occupations. 

And celebrities are not immune to this vice. Let’s reveal some facts about famous gambling addicts.

What is a gambling problem?

Gambling is a social activity, just like having drinks with friends on the weekend. 

However, similar to drinking, some people find that once they start gambling, they can’t stop. When an addict is in the grips of their addiction, they believe they have complete control. 

In the UK, a third of the population gambles every week, and 1.4 million of them are problem gamblers. 

What are the gambling addiction symptoms?

While gambling in moderation is not a problem, it can grow into addiction and harm your mental health, relationships and your professional life. 

These are some of the symptoms that gamblers have:

  • Feeling of restless and agitation
  • mood swings
  • Feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, or sadness
  • Lying to or stealing from family members 
  • Chaining losses 

Although it’s no consolation, but even famous people struggle with addiction. Here is a list of the biggest celebrity gamblers.

10 Most Famous Gambling Addicts

50 Cent

Better known by his stage name 50 Cent, Curtis James Jackson II is a famous rapper from the United States. Besides his music career, he is also an avid sports bettor favouring the New York Giants. In 2012, during one of his sports betting activities, he won half a million dollars betting on the New York Giants to beat the San Francisco 49ers. 

Tiger Woods

The famous golfer not only helps others get rich, but also dabbles in gambling himself. Tiger’s interest in gambling began after he became friends with celebrities such as Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley, well-known high rollers and famous compulsive gamblers. But Tiger Woods is no ordinary gambler. He has a $1 million limit in every casino in Vegas, and he bets up to $25,000 per hand. The Mansion at the MGM Grand is his favourite casino, while blackjack is said to be his game. 

Michael Jordan

Basketball superstar and NASCAR team owner Michael Jordan is also known for spending a fortune on gambling. While it’s difficult to determine how much money he has lost gambling, the sum is large enough to have sparked an urban legend that the Chicago Bulls star’s initial retirement was a ban imposed by the NBA due to his excessive gambling.

Charlie Sheen

Charlie Sheen, one of Hollywood’s most successful and controversial actors, also has a gambling problem. It is estimated that he spends $200,000 every week in casinos to satisfy his gambling needs. His biggest loss is believed to be $1 million. Sheen’s biggest bet was on the Manny Pacquiao vs Oscar De La Hoya match, backing $1 million on Pacquiao to win. 

Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck is probably one of the most famous celebrity poker players and gamblers. Known to frequent casinos, he had lost a lot of money—most notably in  2001, when he lost $400,000 by betting on a poker hand. In addition to poker, Ben Affleck also enjoys blackjack. He reportedly bet $60,000 on blackjack once and won $800,000, giving all employees a huge tip. He was also banned from Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas after being accused of counting cards.


Nelly, or Cornell Iral Haynes JR, is a well-known singer, songwriter, and actor. In addition, he is a significant admirer of poker. He even competed in the Main Event of the 2007 World Series of Poker and is a regular at the PokerStars European Poker Tour Circuit. He was recently filmed losing his cool at a Casino Hold ’em game where he yelled at the casino employees over an alleged insult from another player. 

Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley, a former NBA player and current TNT NBA sports analyst, admitted in 2006 that while playing blackjack, he lost almost $10 million in total, including $2.5 million in one night. It seems that for Charles Barkley, the gambling debt was the turning point. After being sued for owing a casino $400,000 in 2008, he said he had decided to stop gambling. He still gambles to this day, but only venturing to lose “a couple hundred-thousand dollars”.

Shannon Elizabeth

Shannon Elizabeth, a former model and actress from Texas, is one of the most famous female gamblers. Shannon’s interest in poker grew from a hobby to a full-fledged career, which explains her long hiatus from the film industry. From 2006 through 2010, she won 12 poker tournaments, making her one of the most successful poker players among celebrities. Her total winnings come up to an impressive $235.866. 

Gladys Knight

Seven-time Grammy Award-winner Gladys Knight was also a gambling addict. Her experience is described in her autobiography, where she writes about her ten-year gambling addiction to baccarat and sports betting. Unlike other performers, she was never addicted to drugs or alcohol, but she did lose $40,000 in one night while playing baccarat in the late 1980s. After that, she joined Gamblers Anonymous, which helped her break the gambling habit. 

Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson has a gambling problem that almost overshadowed his NBA basketball career. Iverson didn’t just go to casinos for a few hours of gaming. He would play blackjack and roulette for hours and days at a time. He was a sore loser, too, and he often caused chaos at the several casinos he frequented during his career, resulting in his ban from two different casinos during his stint with the Detroit Pistons. What’s more, he is said to have lost $1 million in one night of gambling in an Atlantic City casino. It’s a good thing he has a lifetime deal with Reebok to cover his losses. 


Gambling can be a lot of fun, but it may quickly turn into a problem. Hopefully, these stories of some of the most famous gambling addicts will show you that problem gambling is a serious matter and encourage you or someone you know to come to terms with their addiction. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *