Gambling is a problem that for long has been causing trouble for footballers. Various high-level players have spoken publicly about the fact that gambling can lead to financial losses and emotional trauma.
Most football stars feel the lack of adrenaline during training and at home. The absence of vivid emotions encourages athletes to try their luck in a casino where their emotions go wild every time.
Premier League stars put up to £100,000 on betting websites, and some players even have their own bookmaker who visits the training base.
Injured players often join the bets. This way, they replace the pleasure they get from playing football. Among the most popular types of gambling among footballers are:
- Sports betting;
- UK online casinos.
Top 6 Football Players With Gambling Addiction
Let’s remember the most famous football players, who are seriously hooked on gambling.
Attacker Michael Chopra claims to have spent £20,000 a day on gambling. Eventually, he lost around £2 million.
The forward agreed to be treated for gambling addiction after he confessed that he signed a contract with “Sunderland” only for the sake of significant money, which can cover his large debts.
“The first bet is the worst. The more I earn, the more I bet. Sometimes I bet £20,000 a day. As soon as I went out on the field, I was fully focused on football. But in the locker room, I immediately grabbed the phone to see if I won.”
“When I played in a bookmaker’s office, I tried to go out on the field as often as possible to get bonuses for that. Sometimes I had to play with an injury.”
Paul Merson, famous in the past midfielder of “Arsenal” and the English national team, could lose up to £30 000 pounds in one match when he was into bets.
He overcame the craving for alcohol and cocaine, but in 2003, Merson confessed that he failed to solve the problem with gambling. Like Chopra, he agreed to treatment for gambling addiction in a specialized clinic of Tony Adams.
“I got rid of alcohol and drugs, but gambling defeated me. They are the most dangerous killers in the world. I was thinking about suicide every day at the time.”
Winger of “Stoke City” admitted that he lost more than one and a half million pounds playing poker, as well as betting on races and dog races. Etherington said that gambling is so popular among players that on the club bus, he and his partners could safely lose a week’s salary.
“I’m looking back now, and I understand how you can tune in to the game if you play cards on the bus for huge money that passes from hand to hand. That was so stupid.”
“It happens in football, but it is hard to guess who exactly does it. Take, for example, an alcoholic or drug addict – when you look at a person, you can immediately understand that one is not okay. But this is not the case with a player. I have not told anyone about my adventures. Most people don’t even know what my debts are.
David Bentley, a former winger of Tottenham and West Ham, could make a hundred bets in a day – so huge his game addiction was.
He said that his first visit to the betting office took place at the age of 14. But David did not have the habit of stably bet until he began earning good money.
“I bet on everything. At first, the amounts were just in pounds, then hundreds and then thousands. Firstly you want to win 100 pounds and then all 100,000.”
“When I woke up in the morning, the first thing I thought I had to bet, so the football went into the background. All I needed was to bet.”
Dominic Matteo, a former Liverpool universal player, told the press in 2011 that he lost up to a million pounds on gambling. He said that his addiction was caused by boredom. Once, he bet 100 thousand pounds on one horse, which eventually lost.
“I think that is a big problem for football players. I would say it is an epidemic. The gambling problem is a natural one these days. I was trembling about racing, but one day I opened an account on my phone. That’s when I started betting thousands of pounds just by typing.”
Italian football suffers from many unpleasant stereotypes. And numerous scandals with contract matches have not helped this reputation at all. The Italians are so fond of betting that even the first magnitude stars like Gianluigi Buffon are often seen in casinos.
The goalkeeper was twice suspected of making illegal bets – before the 2006 FIFA World Cup and in 2012 when it was reported about bets totalling 1.5 million euros.
Subsequently, Buffon was found innocent, but he never hid his love for gambling. He even was an ambassador of PokerStars for a while.
“Gambling can be called not only a psychological problem but definitely a brain disease, even if in its simplest form,” says Dr. Timothy Fong of the University of California.
According to experts, the borderline daily conditions of depression and euphoria, which often accompany gamblers, are the same for all “stakes,” regardless of the amounts operated by the person.
Stress on the verge of neurosis, identical in its violent effect on the cardiovascular system, can be caused by losing both $10 and $1 million.