The Folklore of Professional Darts Players as Gamblers
Professional darts has ascended in recent years to become a favourite betting sport among European sports gamblers. Much of the credit for this phenomenon goes to the marketing brilliance from the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC), formally the World Darts Council (WDC). The Corporation has been able to successfully capture a significant brand built around Darts superstars like Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen, Gary Anderson and the incomparable Peter Wright with his signature Mohawk of brilliant colours.
Through this marketing brilliance, the world’s top leagues and tournaments have been able to create a substantial following that includes hundreds of thousands of crazy fans located all over the world. It just so happens that many of these loyal followers also fancy themselves as sports gamblers. It’s rare today to see a top land-based or online bookmaker like Casumo that doesn’t offer darts as a primary betting market.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone to find out that the players themselves are prone to doing a little gambling online or in land-based casinos where darts tournament are quickly becoming commonplace. As gamblers, successful or not, some players have become part of the folklore that represents the ties between Darts and gambling. Here’s a couple of stories to support this contention.
In 2005, Pro Darts player Adrian Lewis was a new member of the PDC on his way to becoming a two-time PDC Darts champion. This was a man many people thought would eventually claim the throne as the greatest darts player of all-time, a title currently held by the legendary Phil Taylor.
While on a gambling excursion, Lewis found himself surrounded by a number of enthusiastic slots players after he had stepped up to a machine and hit a jackpot of near $72,000. Back in 2005, that amount of money represented the top-prize purse money from a combination of several top PDC Events added together. As he stood by the machine in amazement of his good fortune, he was about to learn about the rules and regulations put forth for gamblers in Las Vegas.
At the time, Lewis was only 20-years old. Little did he know that the legal age for gambling in Nevada was 21-years old. Within a span of a few minutes, he went from a big winner to despair. The casino rightfully elected to not honour the jackpot, leaving Lewis with empty pockets and a new nickname, “Jackpot.” It’s worth noting that had he hit a similar jackpot with a UK online casino, he likely would have been paid.
With the Pro tour in Nevada for the US Masters event, Gerwyn Price had just been given a devastating beating 8-0 at the hands of current PDC #1 ranked player Michael van Gerwen. To ease the pain of his loss, he took to the casino floor at the Tropicana Hotel and preceded to pull in $10,000 playing table games and slots. Combined with his purse money of $6,250 from the tournament, he was to get past the pain of his semi-final loss in rather quick fashion.
As these stories indicate, there seems to be an inherent connection between professional darts and gambling. The sport is currently having success picking up sponsorships from some of the top online gambling operators. This assures the sport of darts will remain relevant to sports bettor and TV audiences throughout Europe and someday, other parts of the world. As for the players, they are well aware of the odds being posted on their matches. If winning purse money doesn’t provide enough motivation to play well, a chance to prove odds-makers wrong might just do the trick.