Gambling in sport: ‘Betting in dressing rooms common’


Scottish footballers “in pretty much every dressing room” bet on matches, despite the risk of punishment, says one SPFL player.

Hamilton Academical head coach Brian Rice faces Scottish FA charges after a relapse in his gambling addiction.

Players in Scotland are not allowed to gamble on any match in any country, but some even bet on themselves to get booked, says the anonymous player.

“In pretty much every dressing room there’ll be players betting,” he said.

“I’ve heard of players betting on their team to win. Players betting against themselves? Not so much. I’ve heard of folk maybe doing the yellow card bet.

“You’re talking about four or five boys who wouldn’t, which shows you how bad it is.”

‘Players still go into betting shops’

Betting firms sponsor the three main tournaments in the men’s game in Scotland, although all three deals expire at the end of this season. Several Scottish clubs also have betting companies as shirt sponsors.

In the wake of Rice’s admission, fresh pressure has reportedly been brought to bear on the football authorities to review such partnerships.

“It must be quite hard to see this constant advertising when you maybe do have a problem,” said the player.

“Folk will use accounts of partners or mothers or fathers. You still go into shops. As long as you’re putting money down, as long as nobody recognises you, it’s easily done. I used to go into shops most weeks. Unless you’re at the top level, it’s unlikely it’s going to come back to you.

“You can see boys getting themselves in trouble. I would say quite a few [have a gambling problem].

“I looked at my bank balance one day and these huge sums going in and going straight into a betting account. That is so easy. It’s maybe smaller bets but it’s constant, constant, constant.

“I maybe looked at that and got a fright. It’s certainly been a problem in the past for me. You just want help folk that are struggling with it.”

The player explained support is on offer from PFA Scotland, who meet with players during the season to remind them of the Scottish FA rules.

Several players have been punished for breaching those regulations in recent times, with some saying they had not realised betting on all football was forbidden.

“They’re almost pleading with players to stop,” he said of the players’ union.

“Only when boys see other folk getting into bother it would maybe strike them a little bit. They need to try and make examples of being shown to help rather than make examples to be punishing.

“Somebody gets caught, there’s a wee bit of a rift about it, maybe folk will quieten down and then maybe a month later it’s just back to the way it was.”


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