Gambling addiction among football players: fact or fiction?


Gambling addiction among football players: fact or fiction?

Professional Players Federation has carried out an anonymous survey among 350 successful sportsmen. According to this survey, 6% of sportsmen admitted, that they cannot stop constantly playing gambling games, even if their fortune or wellness are under threat.

If the similar survey would be carried out among ordinary people, like me and you, this rate would be three times lower. Only 2% of office workers and senior managers are registered to be addicted to gambling games and exposed to lack of control over their behavior. 4% of them make bets every single day, but the fear to go bankrupt or destroy reputation becomes a strong constraining factor for these people not to abuse gambling games: the reduction of income, debts, possible unemployment make players forget about gambling.

The above-mentioned survey revealed another important difference: ordinary people normally become addicted to one or two certain gambling games’ types; whereas sportsmen start playing all of them. A white-collar gambling addict will most probably be addicted to several internet-casino games or to the bookmakers’ office bets. A football player, for example, suffering from problem gambling, will be gambling online (it is unlikely that they play with the help of no deposit casino bonuses) while on his way to traditional, land-based casinos.

What do psychologists say?

The difference between sportsmen and ordinary people can be explained by 3 factors. First, professional sportsmen are normally well-off and have more financial opportunities. Second, professional sportsmen are constantly subjected to uncontrolled and severe stress. This feeling of stress can be attributed to the fact, that very important results/outcomes do not always depend on sportsmen and their skills. So, in order to overcome this stress and zone out, sportsmen need vivid emotions and impressions.

And third, sport is formally very similar to a gambling game: it’s a pure happenstance, which may turn you into a star in a matter of minutes and same like deprive you of everything you possess. Football players become obsessed with this atmosphere and try to relax and minimize the tension by putting money at risk, but not career. Thus, sportsmen often get into a trap: debts and losses make them take unfavorable decisions, which sometimes badly affect their professional growth.

Football players at risk?

Not every football player and any other person in general will admit he’s subjected to “problem gambling”. Many of them strongly believe, that they can stop whenever they feel like it. Football players are classified as people with overrated salaries and low “self-police” level. These factors result in their high chances to become gambling addicted.

Football players earn a lot of money in a very young age. Quite often they simply do not know, how to spend such big salaries. Moreover, they have some spare time. And this is why they come to bookmakers’ offices and casinos eventually.

It’s quite normal for football players to show off their “fiascos” in changing rooms. Usually, these stories are followed by laughter and a hint of satire. Of course, football players have all rights to manage their income at their own will.

However, under no circumstances, should this affect their career. The severer player’s gambling addiction is, the more distant he gets from his fellow-players, team and career. As the result, the addiction may badly affect their performance and fitness. Most football players have their own agents and managers.

And when these people find out, that their clients are suffering from problem gambling, they stay ignorant. Only after the situation gets really dangerous, players get help and support.

Matthew Etherington told us about his day routine: “The first thing I did in the morning was making bets. Online or in the bookmaker’s office. Instead of analyzing the forthcoming match of league, I was only thinking “what should I make my next bet be on?””.

The words of Matthew Etherington prove one more time, how destructive gambling addiction can be, especially, if it goes about professional sportsman. In fact, abusive gambling is like legal drug abuse. Because gambling addict cannot stay calm without a new portion of bets.


From very young ages sport superstars come into possession of huge money sums. Quite often they simply don’t know, how to manage their income. There’re quite many gambling passionate and aggressive people among football fans. They make bets on the results of football matches and if the outcome is poor, these people unleash their frustration and anger on others in a totally unacceptable manner. This factor aggravates the stress, professional sportsmen are subjected to.

Some football players choose to relax the way their fans do – playing gambling games. It works in bookmakers’ favor as many footballs fans start copying their idols and become gamblers as well.

Of course, it would be completely wrong to classify problem gambling as “occupational hazard” of football players (remember, that only 6% of football players are registered to have problems). However, this is a very dangerous hobby: it may destroy careers of talented sportsmen, make them take the field with serious trauma and even accept fixed matches… so, it’s very important to fight problem gambling among football players.