Dominic Matteo, ex-Liverpool and Leeds midfielder, says he lost more than $1 million on the horses and claims gambling has become an "epidemic" among the nation's
soccer players. He said he vecame 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 ($160,000) on a horse priced at evens, only for it to lose.
Matteo said he stopped gambling heavily when his first child, Luisa, was born in 2005. The former Scottish international retired in 2009.