Gambling addictions can impact everyone. And the fact that so many high-earning professional footballers have fallen victim to gambling problems shows that there’s no one type of problem gambler; they come in all shapes and sizes. Here’s a bit more about the professional footballers who’ve been known to have big problems with gambling in the past.
Paul Merson has recently opened up about his gambling problems and how he struggles to keep those problems under control. During his playing career, Merson spent around £7million on gambling. He’s even claimed that he once stopped himself calling a bookie to place a bet by breaking his own fingers. He’s now help for his addiction.
Matthew Etherington played consistently in the Premier League with West Ham United and Stoke City and he regularly gambled huge sums of money. As a result of spending thousands each week on bets, he ended up with a total debt of £1.5million. He’s overcome his problems after receiving help in the latter half of his playing career.
At the height of his gambling woes, former Cardiff City Striker Michael Chopra was spending up to £20,000 per day on bets. He estimates that he lost around £2million in total thanks to his liking for online casinos & bookmakers. He later had to play through injury to boost his income and fight his way out of debt brought about by gambling.
In 2014, Keith Gillespie opened up about how he threw away around £7.2million on gambling during his playing career. His career started as a bright young talent breaking into the Manchester United first team at the age of just 17. By the time he retired, Gillespie was bankrupt. He once lost £47,000 in one day.
When Dominic Matteo talks about his gambling addiction, he talks about the guilt he feels at having gambled away his daughter’s inheritance. The Leeds United defender lost a lot on sports betting and casino games and now makes every effort to ensure other people don’t fall into the same kinds of traps he does.
David Bentley was a talented winger who excelled in the Premier League for Blackburn Rovers. However, he was also placing 100s of bets per day during the earlier days of his career. He would bet on horses and greyhounds and play poker and online casino slots in an effort to win big and chase that thrill. He says is playing career improved when he kicked the habit.
Eidur Gudjohnsen has played at the very top for Chelsea and Barcelona, but he’s also experienced immense lows in the form of his gambling problems. In 2009, he admitted owing around £6million to his bank as a result of his gambling debts.
There’s always help and support out there for people who are having problems with their gambling habits. You shouldn’t hesitate to reach out and get the help and support you need if you feel the need to do so. It could be what helps you turn your life around as many of the footballers above did.