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Professional Sports

Why are professional sports people susceptible to problem gambling?

Professional sports men and women may be more vulnerable to developing issues with gambling than the general population due to number of factors, including:

  • A lot of athletes have the kind of driven, obsessive character often associated with problem gambling
  • Competitive nature of sport – difficult to separate entertainment from the need to win
  • Escape from boredom due to the amount of free time; this may support research that has found former athletes to be more susceptible to developing problems with their gambling.
  • Once playing career is over there may be financial issues
  • Traits associated with athletes are; high levels of energy; extremely high/unreasonable expectations of winning; compulsive personalities; distorted cognitions
  • Winning is often associated with extrinsic rewards e.g. scholarships, fame, awards and money

GamCare has previously worked with the Professional Players Federation (PPF) to deliver focussed education and awareness to the professional sports sector. If you would like more information about GamCare training for sports clubs and professionals please click here.


Treatment Services

As well as GamCare support and treatment, help is available through:

CNWL National Problem Gambling Clinic

If you live in England or Wales and are over 16, you can refer yourself to the only specialist NHS clinic for problem gamblers. For more information, visit the clinic's website

Gamblers Anonymous

Gamblers Anonymous uses the same twelve-step approach as Alcoholics Anonymous and also has a support group for relatives called Gam-Anon. Visit the website for more information.

Gordon Moody Association

Gordon Moody Association offers a unique and intensive residential treatment programme in the UK for those gamblers most severely addicted. Visit their website for more information.

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