Unibet Puts Rivals in Check by Sponsoring Chess Ace Magnus Carlsen

February 3rd, 2020 | by Jason Reynolds

Unibet has strengthened the ties between poker and the chess community by signing one of the sport’s biggest stars, Magnus Carlsen.

Magnus Carlsen

Unibet has partnered with chess maestro Magnus Carlsen in a bid to show poker and betting aren’t all about luck. (Image: YouTube/FIDE Chess)

The 29-year-old is regarded by many as one of the greatest chess players in history. Nicknamed Mozart, he’s internationally known and it’s this reputation that Unibet will be looking to exploit.

The deal between Carlsen and Unibet was announced on Jan. 31. Under the terms agreed, the Norwegian will serve as a Unibet ambassador until 2021.

Betting is More than Luck Says Carlsen


The online gaming company celebrated the deal by releasing the first in what’s likely to be a series of promotional videos. During the 60-second piece (see video above), Carlsen can be seen in a number of training scenarios. The implication is that luck isn’t a coincidence.

Although luck is an inevitable part of poker and betting, the chess pro believes logic and data are also important.

“To make the right decisions, you need a well-balanced combination of knowledge, skill, and intuition,” Carlsen said in a Jan. 31 press release.

As well as sponsoring Carlsen, Unibet has negotiated a deal with Offerspill Chess Club. Carlsen formed the club after a dispute with the Norwegian Chess Federation.

According to Norwegian gambling laws, only state-owned gaming companies Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto can sponsor certain chess events. Unibet was previously able to get around the ban by not providing a patch to sponsored players.

However, along with Carlsen, Unibet has since lobbied to have the laws changed. For his part, Carlsen left the Norwegian Chess Federation and set up Offerspill Chess Club in protest.

As it stands, Carlsen won’t promote Unibet in his native Norway. He will, however, sport the company’s logo at chess events around the world. Based on that alone, Unibet has the chance tap into a market of 600 million fans worldwide.

Unibet Strengthening Chess Ties

However, this won’t be the operator’s first foray into chess. In 2014, Unibet became the first betting operator to offer live odds on chess matches. Beyond this, poker and chess have had a long association.

From early chess-to-poker converts such as Dan Harrington, to recent crossover stars like Jennifer Shahade, the two games share common ground. In a 2010, Carlsen told Chess Base that online poker is one of his hobbies.

Although he admitted he loses when he’s not focused, he enjoys playing. His deal with Unibet could lead to new opportunities in the poker world. As well as playing online at Unibet Poker, Carlsen could represent his partner at stops on its live tour or, potentially, the WSOP.

For poker as a whole, the deal is an interesting one. Chess players are often regarded as highly intelligent, master tacticians. The Kindred Group’s chief commercial officer Rhodri Darch confirmed that the company will push this angle with the help of Carlsen.


    Comments are closed.