Gambling is something a lot of people indulge in. Some people do it as a pastime and play just for fun while others, like poker players, actually do it professionally. There are some however who actually have a problem with it and have to find ways to break the habit they’ve developed of heading to casinos and betting their money away.
Gambling, per se, is not necessarily evil. It is just something that you can do to try and get the thrill of winning, and the anticipation of almost winning can be addictive to some. Others actually gamble to meet new people and think of it as a social activity that they can indulge in. Still others, particularly those who have surplus income from their careers, get into it simply because they have enough extra money to use for this and are generally bored or are looking for something to do.
Footballers Who Had Problems with This Habit
Indulging in this pastime does not necessarily mean that you are addicted to it or have a problem stopping yourself when you spend more time and money than is necessary on it. There are some however who do find themselves hooked on to gambling and are actually having a difficult time trying to stop from spending their life’s savings on it. Some even end up in debt because of it.
People from all walks of life can be prone to such a problem, even famous people like footballers. While a lot of popular football players actually get into this pastime without having to worry about getting addicted to it, there are a few who actually get hooked and end up in the news because of the problems they encounter with debt because of this.
Here are some of the famous footballers who’ve had an issue once or twice with casinos and betting:
Andros Townsend – one of the names that was talked about in the past few years due to gambling is this footballer who plays for the Premier League club Crystal Palace. This member of the English national team had a problem with this issue a few years back. He was fined and banned from playing due to his sports betting in casinos against premier league clubs. While he claimed it was because he was bored, it did not stop the league from banning him from play for four months and fined more than £20,000.
Joey Barton – now a professional football manager, this footballer, who once played for the premier league, also found himself in hot water for sports betting in casinos. This love for gaming almost ended his career and was even banned for more than a year for betting against a team in the league, which is a big no-no for professional players.
Paul Merson – football personality and former football manager Paul also found himself in a lot of trouble in the old days because of this habit. He would lose thousands of pounds a week in casinos, and lost almost all of his earnings as a football professional, due to his addiction to gambling. He has since gotten back on his feet and is now a football pundit and is considered an Arsenal FC legend.
Phil Bardsley – this member of the Scottish national team is also one of the more popular players to become embroiled in controversy due to his love for wagering. A member of the Premier League club Burnley, this England born player got into the news when a photo of him lying on a casino floor covered in money got published in papers. He lost his position in his original team because of this. He has since bounced back and continues to dominate the field.
Dominic Matteo - another baller who has been hit by an addiction to casinos and wagering in the past is this ex-football player. He used to play for the English national team and the Scottish national team. He was also a player in the Premier league, with teams like Liverpool, Sunderland, Leeds United, and Stoke City having him on their roster. His addiction sadly did not end well though. He has since declared bankruptcy a few years back.
Michael Chopra – Michael has been playing football for more than two decades and has been part of such teams as Newcastle United, Cardiff City, Barnsley, and the Kerala Blasters. This English national team member has also had his share of problems due to gambling. He’s admitted to losing over £1.5 million on this habit, with a daily spend of £20,000 on wagering forcing him to play even when injured to cover debts that he incurred because of this.
Kenny Sansom – another sad story that leaves a famous footballer in ruin because of this addiction is this one. Former Premier league and England national team player Kenny Sansom ends up bankrupt and destitute even after a successful career as a footballer due to such a habit. While he first denied that he had a problem in the past, he has since admitted that he did lose all his earnings to it.
Eidur Gudjohnsen – a former Chelsea striker and Icelandic national team player< Eidur also made headlines because of this habit. News of him incurring a whopping £6 million debt due to wagering surfaced just recently and made him the talk of the town, and not in a good way. This happened while he was recovering from a knee injury and was a member of the Barcelona team. It was said that while he was healing from his injury, he made trips to Las Vegas, and this was where he racked up the massive debt.
Matthew Etherington – another football player who admitted to losing more than a million pounds to gambling is this former English national team player and Premier league left winger. The losses were said to have been incurred while he was a member of West Ham United and was due to horse race betting and poker.
Tom Williams – another football player who has also gambled millions away is this player from Hashtag United. Also a member of the Cyprus national team, it has been said that his betting habit is actually pretty secret. Not even his wife and his manager knew about it until rumors started surfacing. It has been said that he is reported to have lost more than $1.3 million to this secret habit.
Footballers Who Gamble for Fun
While a lot of footballers do find themselves in hot water due to gambling, not all of them are actually addicted to it or have lost massive amounts of money betting. Some of them actually have this in control and only hit the casinos and betting books occasionally for social reasons or just for fun. While some are hounded by controversy because of this, they have proven that they are actually pretty responsible when it comes to hitting the tables and the machines in a casino, and are not as hooked on this as some people make them out to be.
Gigi Buffon – Gainluigi Buffon was a footballer for the Italian national team and played for the Ligue 1 in France. While this player was embroiled in a scandal that had something to do with illegal gambling, he was actually cleared of all allegations after an investigation. He is known to like poker and was actually an endorser of PokerStars in 2012, helping to promote their games to players worldwide while remaining a responsible player.
David Bentley –another player who did not lose his earnings to such a habit, but almost did, is this player from the English national team. He has since admitted that he did have a wagering problem early on in life, and started doing so while he was a teenager. When he started earning big bucks from his career, the small time betting that he started with turned into other more expensive staking habits, like horse racing, poker, and even blackjack. He got a hold of his addiction with the help of his girlfriend and has since stopped.
Dietmar Hamann – this footballer is also one of those who were able to kick the habit and move on with his life without losing his earnings to this addiction. This former German national team player, who is also a team manager for a few clubs, once had a serious penchant for sports betting. He is said to have lost around £300,000 on a single cricket match bet. He blames his sudden addiction to sports betting to his divorce in those days, but has since conquered his addiction and has progressed in his career after without suffering any permanent and major consequences from such a fall from grace.
David Beckham – probably the most popular guy on this list, this player who has played for Manchester United, the English national team, and for Milan, is also known to hit the casinos when he can. He has been seen in Las Vegas, Macau, and Singapore, not only to play the tables but also to be a part of these businesses himself. He has been seen endorsing some of the more popular casinos in Vegas and other gambling capitals worldwide, even organizing fan meetings in these casinos to help increase their revenues. This helps him live a comfortable life while still enjoying a pastime that he is not really addicted to but just indulges in every now and then.
Responsible Gaming Is for Everyone
The fact that people with massive incomes and immense popularity can suffer from gigantic losses due to irresponsible gaming shows that being responsible when you do this should be encouraged to everyone. Those who play casino games, whether online or on land based establishments need to keep in mind that gambling is okay as long as it is done responsibly.
Losing your shirt and your livelihood to such a habit is never a good thing, but enjoying the games that you find on online casinos and other similar gaming portals is okay as long as it is done in moderation. The footballers who found themselves in controversial positions because of such an addiction can attest to this. It is never fun to actually fall from such a lofty spot in society to almost having nothing just because they let their addiction to betting get the best of them.
One such footballer who took this problem to heart, and used it to educate others in responsible gaming is Scott Davies. He has educated people on what not to do when you try your luck in casinos online and other online gaming portals. This footballer, who currently plays for Harlow Town and is a member of the Ireland international team, has since shared his story of losing £200,000 to gambling and how he has turned this into a lesson that he can used to educate others.
His loss and fall from grace was incurred in his early 20s and has become one of the turning points in his career. It made him lose his contract and it made him hit rock bottom, with thoughts of suicide running through his head. His addiction began when he was just a teenager and had gone overboard when he started earning big in his football career. It was when he started throwing away more than he earned to this habit that problems began to escalate.
He came to a point where he lost up to £30,000 in a week, and this was when he realized he had to stop. He was already betting against his own games, which was illegal, and even crashed his vehicle while watching a horse race he had a bet on. He would bet on any sport and on anything that he could wager on, and it had gotten to a point where his mom had begun to get affected by what he was doing. This was when he decided to get rehabilitated for his addiction.
He has since stayed clean and has not placed a wager since. While there are some who still enjoy the occasional trip to the casino or a small game of poker on one of the online portals that can be easily accessed, Scott had decided that he has had enough.
This just comes to show that responsible gambling is indeed a must and should be practiced by everyone, footballer, driver, salesclerk, and everybody else who has had a desire to try their luck betting and wagering. Responsible gaming is something that some famous footballers practice to continue to enjoy it, which shows you that this is also something you can do.
If you are thinking of trying your hand at sports betting, slot machine gaming, table games, and even poker, you should take your cue from the players who played responsibly. You should also be warned by those who lost their fortunes to irresponsible gambling. It is, after all, supposed to be something fun and not something that can destroy your life.