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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / 7 Athletes Who Found Themselves in Gambling Trouble

7 Athletes Who Found Themselves in Gambling Trouble

Gambling problems!
Publish Date: 03/29/2020
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa

Gambling trouble can affect absolutely anyone, regardless of profession, net worth, geographical location, sex, age and just about anything other variable you can think of. 

However, there appears to be a common theme or trend in the world of professional athletes and getting washed up with wagering. 

Maybe it’s the lifestyle, the peer pressure or the incomprehensible amount of cash that comes their way, we don’t know for sure. What we do know is that there are some seriously big bets being made out there by some of the biggest names in sports. 

From John Daly and Wayne Rooney to Floyd Mayweather and Michael Jordan, let’s take a look at just 7 of the biggest athletes that have found themselves in gambling trouble.  

1. John Daly

John “Wild Thing” Daly is an American professional golfer on the PGA Tour known for a non-country club appearance and attitude alongside a well-decorated athletic career.

However, whenever Daly is brought up in conversation, it tends not to be his PGA or Open Championship wins of 91 and 95 that leads the discussion, but rather his behavior and troubles off the course. 

In his autobiography released in 2006, Daly reveals in the final chapter that he has had great difficulty with a gambling problem over his lifetime, estimating for have lost between $50 and $60 million over a 15 year period. 

2. Wayne Rooney 

British footballer (or soccer player) Wayne Rooney has been no stranger to the media with a habit of making headlines for all the wrong reasons while playing at the highest level. 

From allegations of infidelity to arrests over intoxication and drink-driving convictions to allegations of hiring prostitutes, there’s not a lot of Rooney’s private life that hasn’t made the news. But it’s his troubles with gambling that have proved one of the most difficult challenges to overcome. 

At the age of just 20, the soccer star had amassed a huge gambling debt of over a million dollars thanks to wagers on soccer, horses and dogs among other online casino visits and wagers. 

Thankfully, it seems those days are behind him and the monkey on his back has left him alone, for the time being at least anyway.

3. Rick Tocchet 

Former professional ice hockey player and current coach of the Arizona Coyotes, Rick Tocchet’s hockey career has spanned the majority of his life. 

However, it’s not just ice-sports that Tocchet dabbled in and somewhere along the way, the hockey legend transitioned with a side career of a bookmaker and head of an illegal gambling ring. 

Naturally, those aren’t the sort of credentials that mix well with professional sports and his involvement with the ring resulted in probation and a forced two-year leave of absence from the NHL. 


Thankfully, he’s back to coaching now with the gambling ring firmly placed in the rearview mirror. 

4. Pete Rose 

In a game of “Top Trumps: Biggest Athlete Gamblers”, there’s no card that you’d like more in your hand than Pete Rose. 

The legendary baseball player and all-time hits leader has an incredible selection of career highlights and awards with Rose a 17x All-Star and 3x World Series champion. However, it’s not his life on the field that most know him for, it’s his somewhat colorful life off of it. 

Rose loves to bet and bets a lot and, whilst the manager of the Reds, often bet a minimum of $10,000 per day, every day. With wagers on his own team, the MLB decided that some form of punishment was in order.

As a result of his betting ways, Rose was permanently banned from the MLB and made to be the first and only player to be ineligible to be voted into the Hall of Fame. A catastrophic outcome for a man whose life revolved around the game. 

5. Charles Barkley

Former NBA star and current analyst on “Inside the NBA”, Charles “Chuck” Barkley is one of the very best players ever to grace a basketball court. 

The 11x NBA All-Star received the title of the NBA’s All-Star Game most valuable player (MVP) in 1991 and the overall Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 1993, securing his position in the Basketball Hall of Fame.  

But it’s not been smooth sailing for Barkley outside of basketball with a vice in gambling that he estimates has wiped $10 million from his earnings. Although he states that he has a problem and that he plans to stop, it’s always easier said than done. We wish you all the best Barkley!

6. Floyd Mayweather 

Floyd “Money” Mayweather is notorious for spending stacks of cash of flashy, somewhat unnecessary material items that he boasts and brags about across his social channels. 

From the highest fashion to the most expensive hypercars, there’s not a lot that Money Mayweather won’t splash the cash on and somewhere down that list lies gambling. He’s not shy about it either, and Floyd often shows off his betting habit on his social accounts although we’re willing to bet that he hides those ones that don’t quite land. 

Floyd’s gambling habits aren’t exactly troublesome just yet, especially with the millions of dollars that he’s got stashed in his bank accounts, but it’s something that he’ll need to keep an eye on. 

7. Michael Jordan 

One man that needs no introduction when walking into any room on the planet is the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan. 

With a career flooded with highlights and awards, the 6x NBA Champion, 6x NBA Finals MVP, 5x NBA MVP, and 14x NBA All-Star has secured his place in the history books for eternity. But it’s not just the incredible NBA career and huge Nike shoe-deal that will keep people talking about the GOAT for years to come, his gambling problems will always come up in conversation. 

Jordan, although he can clearly afford it, features in plenty of stories betting thousands (or even millions) at a time across casinos and golf courses across the country. No one really knows just how much he’s betting, but for somebody worth hundreds of millions of dollars, you’d have your money on it being a pretty penny. 

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