Though India’s relationship with gambling has been somewhat up and down, the country has a much richer and deeper history with the practice than most realise.
A lot of popular gambling games are usually spoken about in context of their European origins, however when early versions of these games – especially the ones with playing cards were discovered in Europe, many contained marks and symbols of Indian origin. Even if we don’t know the full extent, because of this we know the country had influenced the beginning of many games of this popular pastime.
Gambling houses had spread throughout India by the 1400s, and they were pretty seriously regulated by local authorities of the time. This was under the guise of ensuring games were played fairly, however it was common case for this to not be for the players sake, but to ensure the players would hand over the correct dues to the King.
So even though India played a significant part in the evolution of gambling initially, eventually a European impact took its toll. In the early 1700s, one of the most popular sports in the world today began to spread its influence: cricket. The game captured many hearts and within no time it became common ground for both entertainment and betting.
Nowadays, many celebrities in India, especially those on the Bollywood scene are publicly expressing their support and passion they have for online casino table games, such as poker, rummy, and others. With many locals indulging in offshore casinos, gambling has become a favourite pastime across the nation – in fact, the gambling market in India is expected to reach $1 billion, which definitely says something about its potential.
With that being said, carry on reading to find out which of your favourite Bollywood stars and actors like to try their hand in a bid to win it all.
1. Arjun Rampal
Known for his appearances in movies like Rock On and Rajneeti, Arjun Rampal is the brand ambassador of PokerHigh, a popular poker platform in India. Crucially it was the first one to have received a legal poker licence under new legal casino acts in 2016.
Arjun has expressed his own enjoyment of the game saying ‘after a tiring day, people look for little victories that keep them going, and PokerHigh is ideal for the purpose’ while also talking about how excited he is to be a part of the PokerHigh team.
2. Akshay Kumar
Akshay, also known by his full name, Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia, is an Indian actor who works in Canada. His net worth is staggering at a whopping 240 million dollars, and he must be busy because he’s also a martial artist, a producer, and maintains his status as a Bollywood TV star. No wonder he likes to wind down by playing some classic casino games, it’s even been reported that some of his friends call him a magician when it comes to gambling, specifically card games, saying that he possesses the luck of the devil.
3. Anita Hassanandani
Anita Hassanandani rose to fame after starring in films such as Just Married, Hero, and Maharaja. Her truly big break however came from playing the lead character in the immensely popular daily soap, ‘Kavyanjali’.
Aside from her work on screen, she has also been known to embrace her passion for poker and she is even the brand ambassador of PokerRaj, a super popular poker game platform.
His real name is Ravi Kapoor, but the man we now know as Jeetendra, is a professional actor, TV and film producer, and quite impressively is also chairman of three major Indian entertainment platforms, with a mouth watering net worth of roughly 200 million US dollars.
Jeetendra is also pretty famous on the casino and gambling scene. He’s been known to be labelled the king of card parties as a result of the infamous and exclusive card game parties he organises somewhat frequently.
Quite often thrown during the festival of Diwali, it’s reported in these parties he’d completely do up his home, spreading card game tables across his massive two floors, and all categorised based on the amount of money being bet on each table. Jeetendra basically transforms his own house into a mini-casino for the night, complete with bars and everything you’d want!.
5. Sunny Leone
Sunny Leone is known for her roles in films such as Bigg Boss from 2011, and Mahesh Bhatt’s Jism 2.
Sunny Leone is a popular name in the casino industry, as well as her entertainment escapades, she actually even has a slot game named after her known as Bollywood Diva – how many people can say that? Leone is also the brand ambassador of JeetWin Casino, she often promotes their events, as well as the enjoyment she gets both from playing herself and working with them.
6. Amy Jackson
Known for films like ‘Singh is Bling’, Bollywood idol, Amy Jackson, is a passionate brand ambassador of the vastly popular platform Rummy Passion.
She has spoken out about her collaboration with them, expressing that it is a real pride for her to be a part of Rummy Passion, and for good reason since It is one of the most in demand rummy destinations in India.