Sporting Chance, an addiction clinic that mostly deal with gambling addicts, says that footballers are taking out payday loans to fuel their addictions to sports betting. The charitable organisation works with many different football leagues, including the Premier League.
The organisation says it has had many footballers come to them with tales of getting caught in the cycle of taking out payday loans to cover their gambling addictions. The players get trapped inside a cycle in which they take out a loan to place wagers, lose the wagers and then take out more loans to wager again. It is a vicious cycle that may lead to more serious trouble like match fixing.
A startling example of this vicious cycle is Stoke City midfielder Matthew Hetherington. He came to Sporting Chance to get help with his gambling addiction that was ruining his life. He lost £1.5 million through a steady diet of betting on greyhound races, horse races and poker. He had to turn to loan sharks to get money to fuel his destructive habit.
Hetherington’s habit started small, but it quickly spiralled out of control. He says, “Towards the end it got very, very bad. There was a point where I was clearing 30 to 40 grand a month and within a week or two that was gone.”
That is when he turned to loan sharks to continue his gambling activities.
Hetherington is not the only high-level player that has been found to have been victim to gambling additions. The Premier League fined Crystal Palace player Cameron Jerome £50,000 for sports betting violations in August.
A month later, they again had to penalize a player for sports betting violations. This time, it was Ian Black. The Rangers midfielder was dealt a 10-game suspension for his serious sports betting violations. Black was found to have bet on 160 football matches over seven years. The scariest part of this announcement was that Black was found to have bet against his own squad on more than one occasion.
It is scary news that worries Premier League followers. The gambling of players can put them in debt, which could lead to match-fixing in order to get out of debt.