Top 10 Gambling-Addicted Sportsmen
With our account of Michael Jordan’s gambling issues proving popular, RightCasino now presents our guide to 10 sportsmen who’ve frittered away their fortunes. Of course, ‘His Airness’ makes the cut, but you’ll also find big names from the worlds of golf, tennis, baseball and football.
X – Mark King: A prodigiously gifted snooker player, King seemed to have everything. Unfortunately for him, this included a gambling addiction that left him £500,000 in the hole and contemplating suicide. Now a reformed character, things got so bad that, as King told The Independent, “I was thinking about doing a robbery to get money to gamble.”
IX – Joey Barton: A RightCasino fixture, Barton’s betting problem could yet cost him his career. Charged by the Football Association with misconduct, the Burnley midfielder confessed to placing 1,260 bets between March 2006 and May 2016. Now that all players and staff are banned for gambling on games, it remains to be seen whether the bad boy stays in the FA’s good books.
VIII – Jimmy Connors: A true tennis great, the winner of eight majors largely battled his gambling demons in private. It wasn’t until his autobiography was published in 2013 that we learned that Connors’ on-court success was in large part fuelled by his having to win tournaments simply to keep his debtors at bay. He now prefers coaching to casinos.
VII – Alex Rodriguez: World Series champion Rodriguez has an appetite for underground poker. That’s poker of the sort favoured by RightCasino stalwart Dan Bilzerian, the kind where pots can run to millions of dollars. It’s just lucky for ‘A-Rod’ that his unquenchable appetite for performance-enhancing substances means that his excessive wagering rarely makes headline news.
VI – Keith Gillespie: By no means the only Man U player to fall under gambling’s spell – Wayne Rooney once found himself owning £700,000 to teammate Michael Owen – Gillespie’s habit got out of hand when he moved to Newcastle. Upon filing for bankruptcy in 2010, the Northern Ireland international estimated he’d gambled away £7 million in a little less than 15 years.
V – Pete Rose: It’s impossible to calculate how much money ‘Charlie Hustle’ gambled away. Though the sum must run into the millions, betting on the Cincinnati Reds while on their playing and coaching staff cost Rose his most valuable asset of all – his reputation. 31 years on from his retirement, baseball’s leading hitter is still ineligible for the Hall Of Fame.
IV –Charles Barkley: In an interview with ESPN, Sir Charles admitted to having lost “at least” $10 million through wagers. More extraordinary still, he confessed to squandering $2.5 million in one six-hour session of blackjack. And while he’s a millionaire many times over, the losses have taken a toll. Indeed, the Wynn Las Vegas had to take Barkley to court to retrieve a $400,000 debt.
III – Michael Jordan: A Dream Teammate of Charles Barkley, Jordan’s gambling woes are well documented. Our favourite MJ betting story occurred at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic. For it was there that ‘His Airness’ played poker in a casino until 6am then went to bed for an hour before rising to lead Team USA to victory in the gold medal match against Croatia.
II – Floyd Mayweather: Like Jordan and Barkley, Mayweather denies that he has a gambling problem since he can afford to cover his wagers. But the man who bets $250,000 on NFL halftime scores is clearly in thrall to something. And as all the men on this list were once incredibly wealthy, so more stories of $700,000 casino debts seem inevitable. “Money” today, broke tomorrow?
I – John Daly: Two-time major winner Daly’s appetites are as big as his celebrated drive. An alcoholic who had a gastric band fitted to keep his weight in check, ‘Wild Thing’ bets on everything from slot machines to rounds of golf. In 2006, he claimed to have lost around $60 million since 1991! Which begs one question? How much more has he lost since then?!