The most successful footballers are often the richest. They own the most expensive houses, visit luxurious resorts and buy expensive cars to flaunt around. But at times, the players spend their time relaxing in their mansions as they play online casino games like regular people.
Contrary to regular casino game players, footballers spend thousands of dollars on games. Some even spend millions. Below are stories of 5 famous footballers whose gambling stories shocked, surprised and educated people.
The former Sunderland and Cardiff player was one of the best premier strikers in his prime. He scored more than 100 goals for Cardiff, Barnsley, Ipswich Town, and several other teams. While he was busy scoring goals, the Newcastle-born player developed a gambling habit.
Chopra once said he began gambling while on a Newcastle (the team) bus. He was just 17 but quickly learned to bet with as much as £30,000 per wager. Sometimes he won; sometimes he lost. But somehow, the footballer decided to invest more in his hobby. Before he was 25, the center forward owed debtors £80,000. He didn’t quit or seek to repay the debts but instead continued to play more until he owed over £2 million.
While Chopra’s excessive gambling habits affected his lifestyle, he turned his life around. After his career in the premier league, he joined Indian Super League side Kerala Blasters.
Hamann is such a passionate footballer that at 45 years, he still plays. The former Liverpool midfielder and German international plays at amateur side TuS Haltern. Hamann developed a love for casino games while at Anfield. He fancied cricket games and the occasional slots.
Hamann documented his bittersweet story with casino games in his autobiography early this decade. Dubbed ‘The Didi Man,’ the famous midfielder admits he loved casino games but often wagered more than he had to. In a specific Cricket game, South Africa versus Australia, the then premier league player watched as his £288,400 wager lost.
After the loss, Hamann learned a crucial tip in casino gambling: bet on what you can avoid to lose. The former premier league player still offers the same advice betting fans. You can find the best bonuses on ukcasino.org.uk and play whichever game you love. However, bet more with the bonuses and have a reasonable budget.
Matteo is a former Liverpool and Leeds player whose career in the premier league spanned close to 20 years. With such a long career, the Scotland International commanded high wages, some of which he spent playing casino games.
Surprisingly, not many people including his close family members knew Matteo loved gambling. He kept it a secret because he was often embarrassed by his losses. Unfortunately, his hobby and dream of winning big deteriorated into more losses. He was declared bankrupt in 2015, one year after holding the role of Leeds United football ambassador.
These days, Matteo runs a club in his hometown and regularly appear on local TVs as a pundit. He’s also given advice to punters, urging them to bet minimally and avoid drugs.
Most footballers that love casino games stick to slots and horseracing. A few like Hamann love betting on Cricket. Liverpool’s forward was last year suspected of illegally betting in a football-related wager. Active players are not allowed to wager in the sports they play in. But according to news back then, Sturridge gave a close relative £10,000 to bet on the player leaving Liverpool for Inter Milan.
Of course, the news dominated English news networks and a case was opened against the player. Because Sturridge has been very reserved about the gambling issue, it’s not clear whether he fancies betting or it was just the one occasion.
Merson is a two-time English League Champion with Arsenal. He also played a crucial role in Middlesbrough’s promotion in 1997/1998. As a top player, Merson earned a lot more money than his peers. He didn’t spend his millions wisely as he combined betting with drugs at some point.
As Merson once described his betting life: “I went betting mad.” He would gamble £60,000, £80,000 or more depending on how he felt. When he couldn’t win, the former midfielder got into drugs and alcohol. He didn’t do research or bet on teams he properly understood. Merson would call bookies and make a random bet, losing money in the process.
Unlike many top players, Merson’s problems got worse by the day. At one point, he had lost his millions, friends and almost everything he owned. With proper help, Merson got his life together, got a new job and a new life. As recent as 2012, the former England international admitted he still enjoyed casino games but only used pocket change.
Outside the UK, stories of famous footballers that love to gamble are not well documented. Not the case for Buffon, who has had issues with the Italian football federation for illegal betting. He was found innocent in the two cases he was accused of. However, the Juventus legend continued to play poker—his favorite casino game. He even became an ambassador for PokerStars, an online Poker website.
Bentley is an English former player who started his career with Arsenal and concluded it at Blackburn Rovers in 2014. When he retired, he cited a loss in passion for the beautiful game. Bentley had another passion anyway, one he occasionally talked about.
Bentley enjoyed betting, a habit he started when he was just 14 years of age. His passion for casino games increased as he grew older. Because he had a lot of money, the former winger got tempted into spending more he should have. His love turned into an addiction that only came to an end with the help of his girlfriend.
Footballers are known for buying outrageously expensive things. But at times, some of the most famous players do normal things like betting and playing sports. The hobbies aren’t expensive and regular people can afford it too. The only secret is to spend what you can afford to lose.