8 Pro Athletes with Huge Gambling Addictions

Pro Athletes with Gambling Addictions: Barkley

Plenty of professional athletes have tarnished their reputations and careers due to their gambling addictions. Young, rich and famous, these athletes feel the need to gamble in order to make their already exciting lives even more exciting.

In this article we are counting down the top 8 sports celebrities with addictions who have lost huge amounts through gambling.

8Paul Hornung

In 1963, Hornung, the Green Bay Packers biggest star, was suspended indefinitely by the NFL for betting upwards of $500 on NFL games and associating with undesirable persons.

However, because of his his openness about his sports gambling addiction and admitting his mistake, the NFL only suspended Hornung for the 1963 season and he was reinstated the following year.


7Rick Tocchet

A former player for the Philadelphia Flyers, Tocchet took a leave of absence from the NHL after he was accused of financing a nationwide sports gambling ring based in New Jersey in which several current NHL players wagered and even involved the Great Gretzky’s wife.

He pleaded guilty in May 2007 to conspiracy and promoting gambling and was sentenced to only two years of probation. He returned to the NHL as the head coach for the Tampa Bay Lightning and later became an assistant coach to Mike Sullivan of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

6Wayne Rooney

Footballers losing big sums of money at the casino, track or online gambling is hardly new. Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney has publicly admitted to having a massive gambling problem for years.

The Sunday Mirror revealed how Rooney ran up debts of £700,000 in a secret England team dressing room gambling ring. Rooney also reportedly lost over $100,000 in just two hours at a casino in 2008 after flying home from scoring twice for England in the World Cup qualifier in Belarus.

It’s only after that incident made headlines that he pledged to control his gambling in the future.

5Art Schlichter

The gambling addiction of this Indianapolis Colts draft pick effectively ruined what was a promising football career. After ending his career in 1985 with $700,000 in debt from gambling, he was arrested in 1987 for taking part in a multi-million dollar sports betting scheme.

Schlichter has committed more than 20 felonies since the illegal gambling scheme; in January 2012, he was charged with violating the terms of his house arrest stemming from a million-dollar ticket scam by failing a drug test and was sentenced to 10 years, 7 months in federal prison.

4Charles Barkley

Barkley’s gambling problem is no secret. The former basketball star admitted in 2006 that he had lost over $10 million due to his ongoing gambling habit, including $700,000 on bets during one Super Bowl and $2.5 million during a game of blackjack.

In an interview he admitted, “I went to Vegas a bunch of times and won a million dollars. Probably 10 times. But I’ve also went to Vegas and lost a million probably three times as much.”

After The Wynn in Las Vegas sued him in 2008 for $400,000 in unpaid gambling debts, Barkley publicly declared that he would no longer gamble.

3Pete Rose

The only living player ineligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame, Rose was accused of betting on Cincinnati Reds games while both playing and managing. He reportedly wagered a minimum of $10,000 per day.

Although there were accusations he bet against his team, Rose denied this and said he bet on the Reds “every night.” Following the match fixing allegations, the manager accepted a permanent ban from baseball in 1989 and began treatment for his gambling addiction.

2Michael Jordan

The basketball legend has become notorious for high-stakes gambling since his retirement. He admitted losing $165,000 during a heavy night at an Atlantic City casino in 1993, while a San Diego businessman also claimed that the NBA champion owed him $1.25 million over a game of golf.

But both pale in comparison to an evening Jordan spent at a Las Vegas Casino during the 2007 NBA All-Star weekend, where, according to Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones, Michael Jordan obsessively played craps and reportedly lost over $5 million!

1John Daly

Former golf champion John Daly has been open about his gambling addiction, but recently shocked his supporters by revealing just how severe the problem was. The 1991 PGA Championship winner revealed that he lost $55 million between 1991 and 2007.

Daly says he blew through $90 million in gambling losses, compared to just $35 million in winnings. Some of his gambling days were particularly epic, including one instance in 2006 where he gambled away $1.65 million in just five hours playing $5,000 slots.

Sometimes taking a big gamble pays off. Check out the Top 10 Underdog Payouts in US Sports Betting History

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Having worked in the marketing department at two online sports betting sites, John brings his love of sports to serve BigOnSports as chief writer. He will be researching and writing about the sports betting community to improve your experience as a sports bettor.