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“There were several evenings when I went to the bookies with a reasonable amount of money, lost it all, and felt absolutely terrible about myself.” I had been humiliated, and I despised the person I had become. I couldn’t feel it after another five minutes. I made the decision to continue gambling. Despite the fact that I was aware that I had no control over the situation, I persisted.
Former professional footballer Matthew Etherington, who retired in December 2014 after a successful career, is one of the athletes who struggles with gambling addiction. The former West Ham player claimed to have lost more than 1.5 million pounds in his lifetime. He was in debt for a total of 80,000 British pounds at one point. Etherington was actively engaged in a variety of gambling activities, including online poker, horse and dog racing, and slot machine enjoyment.
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A couple of examples of football players who gamble
Matthew’s loved ones staged an intervention on his behalf, which assisted him in confronting his substance abuse issue. Regrettably, a sizable proportion of athletes gamble. For example, while recovering from an injury with FC Barcelona, Icelandic representative Eidur Gudjohnsen amassed a sizable debt (6 million pounds).
Michael Chopra, a former Newcastle and Blackpool forward, gambled away two million pounds and lost. Despite his injury, he had to continue playing in the game “Ipswich.” Paul Merson spent nearly 7 million pounds on gambling, alcohol, and drugs. Ditmar Hamman, Dominic Matteo, and Wayne Rooney are a few other examples of gambling addicts.
Some people, like Etherington, will be fortunate enough to be able to overcome a terrible addiction at an early stage, whereas others will fare less well. Keith Gillespie, a former footballer for “Manchester United” and “Newcastle” as well as the Northern Ireland national team, has lost approximately 7 million pounds during his career. Gillespie claimed that as a child, he worked as a running boy for Sir Alex Ferguson and placed bets at bookmakers on his behalf.
The Professional Federation of Players conducted a study on the prevalence of gambling addiction among professional football and cricket players. A total of 350 athletes participated in the survey. After conducting an investigation, the researchers discovered that 6% of those who responded are either gambling addicts or degenerate gamblers.
This figure is significantly lower among ordinary people—only 2%. Only 4% do so on a daily basis, while the majority of respondents (67%) do so at least once a month. The number of people in the risk group increased by 12 percent. As a result of their behavior, they may develop a gambling addiction.
Athletes enjoy all forms of gambling, including sportsbooks, slot machines, casinos, horse races, and others. A gambling addiction strengthens suspicions that the athlete was involved in match fixing, despite the fact that gambling addiction is not nearly as damaging to athletes as alcoholism.
Football and the gambling industry have a very close relationship. Almost every club will have a betting partner. Sportsbooks are sometimes even the primary sponsors of the teams. There are numerous advertisements for various bookmakers to be seen during the actual games. All of this should serve as a reminder to people to place a wager. The proclivity of a person to become addicted to gambling is advantageous to bookmakers.
Football players themselves are a potential risk group
The term “gambling addiction” is not widely accepted, neither by football players nor by the general public. Many people believe that gamblers can walk away whenever they want. Many people believe that football players are people with excessively high wages and a lack of self-control. As a result, the likelihood of them becoming addicted to gambling is extremely high.
Football players who are still in their prime can earn a lot of money. They frequently have no idea what to do with such large sums of money. Furthermore, players have a significant amount of downtime. As a result, they frequent casinos and sportsbooks.
It is not considered improper for football players to “brag” about their victories in the locker room. Most of the time, the stories are told with raucous laughter and irony. Football players have the absolute right to do whatever they want with the money they earn.
However, this could have an impact on their professional life. The more severe the player’s addiction, the more isolated he becomes from his friends, team, and career. As a result, it shows up in both their form and their performance. The vast majority of football players are represented by agents and managers. Even when they are aware that the player has a gambling problem, the majority of those agents do not react. They begin assisting the participants as soon as things reach a critical point.
Matthew Etherington described his typical day, saying, “The first thing I do in the morning is place my bets.” Sports betting can be done online or at a local sportsbook. As the next league match approached, I was preoccupied with the question, “Who should I bet on today?” This statement demonstrates how damaging a gambling addiction can be for a professional player. In its most basic form, it is a legalized form of drug addiction. Without their “drug,” gambling addicts are unable to function normally.
Each new bet that a gambler who is unable to control his urges places will only serve to make his current predicament even more difficult to deal with. When things have gotten to such a bad point with the issue, the only way out is with the assistance of another person. Football players who make a lot of money tend to engage in a variety of risky behaviors.
Addiction to gambling is one of the most despicable forms of vice. There is a chance that it will develop into something more significant at some point in the future. A football player who is on the verge of losing everything decides to start betting on games involving his own team. As a consequence of this, we should make it one of our highest priorities to address the problem of gambling addiction among professional athletes.