Imagine: you’re 21 years old, your image is tacked to the wall of a thousand teenage girls, you are one fifth of the world’s most popular boy band. What are you going to do on your night off?
If your name is Harry Styles, it looks as if like to unwind at the roulette table and enjoy an evening in your favourite casino.
Young Mr Styles was spotted this month at the Crown Casino, in Melbourne, with his fellow band mate Niall Horan. According to Twitter, Harry won £350 and danced around the casino, hugging fans, and generally making merry.
To be honest, Styles, who is worth an estimated $23 million and is one of the youngest pop singing millionaires on the planet, probably didn’t get too excited about his win but he clearly enjoys a little bit of action at the Crown.
Big Down Under
The Crown Casino is the largest casino in the Southern Hemisphere, with a main floor that is a third of a mile long. It has hosted the likes of Maria Sharapova, Andy Roddick, and Justin Timberlake.
Two years ago, all of One Direction were spotted at the same casino. Styles was playing roulette in the casino’s VIP area – the Pearl Room. Harry even has a tattoo on his shoulder that reads ‘17BLACK’. No prizes for guessing what his single number roulette bet is.
It would appear that Australian tours bring out the player in Harry. As band mate Niall kisses a girl (turning swarms of heart-broken girls into vicious Twitter trolls), Harry settles down for a night at the roulette table.
Celebrities, casinos, and gambling have been bedfellows ever since Sinatra strutted his swinging stuff at the legendary Cal Neva Resort and Casino on the shores of Lake Tahoe.
Cal Neva was built in 1926. Judy Garland was discovered there in 1935 – performing as Frances Gumm, aged just 11. In the 1950s and 1960s, the casino was in its prime, hosting celebrities like the Kennedys, Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio, Clara Bow, and the Rat Pack: Sinatra, Sammy Davis, and Dean Martin.
Sinatra owned the resort briefly. In its heyday, it was where celebrities came to take time out and play blackjack, craps and the slots. It’s exactly where One Direction would be seen today.
(In fact: last year, it was announced the Cal Neva Resort was to get a $29 million makeover. At the time of writing, the new opening date is set for early 2016. Perhaps, Harry can walk in Frank’s footsteps one day).
Today’s A-list action hunters are a mixed bunch. Demi Moore’s ex-husband Ashton Kutcher is a massive fan of sports betting and once headed a gambling syndicate that raked in $750,000 on college football in a single month.
50 Cent, Charles Barkley and Charles Sheen also all love to bet the sports book. 50 Cent aka Curtis Jackson famously ‘followed the voices in his head’ and won a cool $500K. Not bad for a hunch.
Casino loving celebrities are easy to find. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s well documented love of poker is reflected in the fact that Affleck won the California State Poker Championship in June 2005 and Damon is a regular in the World Series of Poker.
George Clooney, Tobey Maguire, Jennifer Tilly, Martin Sheene, Matthew Perry, Denni Rodman are all poker fans. Some with major wins to their names.
For straight up casino action, it’s often the celebrity sportsmen who take to the tables. Tiger Woods is rumoured to play $25,000 hands of blackjack and Michael Jordan often tries to slam-dunk it at the craps table.
McCain’s Casino Chips
Gladys Knight – yes, the one with the Pips – was once a huge fan of baccarat. One time presidential nominee John McCain is renowned for the occasional 12 -24 hour session at the craps table.
Psychologist Frank Farley, from Temple University in Philadelphia, thinks there is an underlying reason why so many celebrities seek succour at the slots and relief via the roulette wheel
“Many people who get to the top in sports, politics or business thrive in uncertain, challenging, situations from an early age,” he said. “They have thrill-seeking personalities – defined as having a strong appetite for change, novelty and a desire to test their own limits.
“These are people who are not just confident but believe they have control over their own destinies,” he said, ”
Combine this with the legendary hospitality of Las Vegas and their code of discretion and you can see why a night at the casino is such an attractive proposition for a paparazzi-pursued celebrity.
The chance to kick back, have some fun, and bank a winner. Don’t worry Harry. You are in great company.