Gambling in the British Premier League
Do footballers gamble?
Is the Pope catholic?
Professional football players in England are paid mesmerizing salaries, but their moral integrity is often questioned in a country famed for their high standards. Not too long ago, the infamous Joey Barton not only admitted to his own (illegal) gambling practices, but accused half the Premier League in doing the same. Well, this isn't the first time he has stuck his foot where his mouth is, and he is now serving a 13-month ban.
He was talking about betting on football matches, which is naturally not allowed for players. However, it has long been known that casino games and all kinds of betting are extremely popular among English footballers. Many players – like current international Jamie Vardy – are frequent visitors of land-based casinos, but nowadays there are also many UK gambling sites that offer quick and easy access to virtual venues.
Former Liverpool player Dietmar Hamann has openly admitted that he had a gambling problem, and once even bet £288,400 on a cricket match – and lost! Eidur Gudjohnsen, meanwhile, fell into debt while he was playing for Barcelona – he got addicted while he was injured. Less than a year ago, several leading papers ran the story that an unnamed English star blew through more than £15 million – his entire fortune amassed during his playing career – on gambling.
Most footballers admit the grisly reality of the professional game in their autobiographies, where the juicy details ensure a lot of copies will be sold. Kieron Dyer is just the latest example: the former Newcastle player has claimed that English internationals would gamble all the time. This happened even during Euro 2004, with private tournaments and IOUs ("I Owe You", basically unofficial promissory notes) floating about – and Michael Owen himself acting as the bookmaker!
Nowadays, gambling is recognised as a hobby rather than a vice – if it is done prudently. The problem is that footballers with their bigger paychecks seem way too prone to excess. Of course, the end result will be the same as in any other professional field – if you fail to discipline yourself and allow your hobby to control you, rather than the opposite, then you will surely fall behind.
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