Regulated districts in Europe are now allowing online gambling promoters to sign celebrity endorsement deals with international sports celebrities, clubs and events as a means of promoting their brand.
Striking while the iron is hot, Full Tilt Poker has signed tennis pro James Blake as a “Friend of Full Tilt,” meaning that the 2005 Comeback Player of the Year will now be sporting the familiar FT logo when he competes. Blake isn’t the only athlete on the FT payroll either, as the poker room has signed agreements with UFC fighter Mike “Quick” Swick and “the Great One” himself, Wayne Gretzky.
According to alliterative gaming analyst Steve Schwartz, the move to sign celebrity endorsements represents a growth of online poker as an industry.
“There is no doubt that online gambling has become more prevalent over the past decade thanks to the game of poker,” Schwartz told the press. “The payouts are getting bigger at online tournaments, more countries have regulated online poker, and those factors combined with the celebrity power has made online gambling one of the biggest industries in the world.”