Significant sums of money at a young age and boredom outside of working hours mean that footballers are vulnerable to gambling addiction. Here are some of the most high-profile football gamblers. Having stumbled on an article that highlighted Las Vegas as a popular destination for footballers on Roulette.co.uk, I decided to make a list about players affected by gambling.
In 2009, stories emerged of former Chelsea striker Eidur Gudjohnsen’s £6 million gambling debt. The Icelandic footballer became addicted whilst recovering from a serious knee injury at Barcelona, having spent two summers visiting Las Vegas.
Stoke City winger Matthew Etherington admitted to blowing £1.5 million on gambling in 2010. His gambling woes – linked to poker and horse betting - reached a peak whilst he was at West Ham Utd.
Blackpool striker Michael Chopra told The Guardian he lost between £1.5 and £2 million on gambling. His £20,000 a day habit forced him to leave Cardiff and play through injury at Ipswich to cover debts.
Despite enjoying a fruitful post-playing career as a Sky Sports pundit, former Arsenal playmaker Paul Merson has failed to conquer his gambling demons. In 2008 he was forced to give up his £300,000 home after failing to keep up with mortgage payments. Lifelong drug, alcohol and gambling addiction is said to have cost Merson £7 million.