Prem star: I gambled away £1m on horses
Published 21:30 26/10/11 By David Anderson
Dominic Matteo says he lost £1million on the horses and claims gambling has become an “epidemic” among the nation's footballers.
The ex-Liverpool and Leeds midfielder became addicted when he was at Blackburn six years ago and says players get sucked into betting because they have too much spare time and money.
“I think this is a big issue among footballers, it’s an epidemic,” said Matteo. “The problem is gambling is so easy these days.
“I always liked a flutter when I went to the races, but it got out of hand for me when I opened a phone account. The next thing I knew I was gambling tens of thousands by text.
“A lot of it is down to boredom. I used to bet when I was being driven to and from training at Blackburn. I know from speaking to Michael Owen and Keith Gillespie that boredom was part of the problem for them.
“Once, I put £100,000 on a horse priced at evens, only for it to lose.
"I reckon I must have lost around £1million in total. That’s disgusting and I’m disgusted with myself for losing that much money.”
Matteo stopped gambling heavily when his first child, Luisa, was born in 2005.
“That was the turning point for me. I realised then that I was throwing away her money,” he said. “I was gambling with her future and that was wrong, because I wanted to set her up in life and to have a nice house eventually.
“I managed to sort myself out, but I know gambling is still a problem for some footballers and I think the PFA could do more to help.”
* In my Defence: Dominic Matteo. The Autobiography, is published by Great Northern Books. Hardback, 288 pages, £16.99, ISBN: 9781905080908. To order a signed copy phone 01274 73056 or visit www.greatnorthernbooks.co.uk.