Millions of people around the world consider betting on sports one of their favorite pastimes. What’s more, this kind of gambling activity has been exhibiting an upward trend lately, and it shows no indication of slowing down on its course. Therefore, it’s not a surprise many professional soccer players have also jumped on the bandwagon.
Of course, betting should always remain just a fun activity you engage in from time to time and not an opportunity to earn money. Most soccer players who dabble in sports betting know this, but some people have been known to overstep certain limits to gain profit.
To learn more about which famous soccer players enjoy betting on sports in their free time, keep reading.
Gianluigi or Gigi Buffon, as he is commonly known, is an Italian soccer player who has made a name for himself as one of the best goalkeepers of all time. He made it on our list for his alleged love of sports betting, albeit to his detriment.
Namely, the year 2006 could have been fatal to Buffon’s career as he was accused of wagering on forbidden soccer games. The incident could have led to him being banned from the World Cup. Luckily, he was cleared of all accusations, allowing him to lead Italy to victory later that year.
In case it slipped your mind, soccer players are strictly forbidden from betting on the sport they play professionally. That was the main reason behind the severe allegations against the Italian, who wore a Juventus jersey at the time.
He subsequently denied committing any wrongdoing, admitting that he did place bets, but only before it was made illegal in 2005.
Another professional soccer player who’s had controversial ties to sports betting is Joey Barton. This former English midfielder made close to 300 Premier League appearances, most of them as a Manchester City member.
Unlike Buffon, who firmly denied placing illegal bets, Barton has been quite open about his sports betting activities. He reported having bet on more than a thousand soccer matches over the ten-year period during which he played soccer professionally.
However, as candid as he was, his actions didn’t go without consequences. Barton received an 18-month ban once the FA learned of his misdemeanor. Although the ban lasted shorter than initially decided, it facilitated his retirement from soccer.
Scott Kashket is a professional football player mostly known for his engagement with Wycombe Wanderers. However, while he was still under contract with Leyton Orient, the striker was known to have placed close to 200 bets on soccer matches.
As is the case with the previous two players on our list, Kashket did get into trouble for his proclivity to sports betting, leading to him being banned from soccer for two months at the beginning of 2020.
Luckily, it was later determined that Kashket hadn’t been involved in any unlawful behavior, such as fixing matches or using the information available to him to gain an unfair betting advantage.
The Crystal Palace winger and a member of the England national soccer team, Andros Townsend, is another soccer professional with a known love for sports betting. However, his example is not one to be followed.
Namely, the player reported having lost £46,000 (approximately $65,000) to gambling in one night. What’s more, his unlawful betting activities involving wagering on forbidden games led to him being suspended for four months during the 2012/13 season.
Luckily, Townsend managed to get help for his problem. He later revealed that he went into sports betting after seeing a TV ad.