Ex-Boro star Paul Merson has admitted betting on his family’s home deposit last year.
The former footballer’s devastating admission came as he spoke on camera about the crippling gambling addiction that has cost him millions.
Despite a distinguished career in which he won trophies with Arsenal and won 21 caps in England, Merson is arguably best known for his struggles off the pitch.
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He has publicly fought against drinks and drugs, while the 53-year-old admits to exploding a fortune at bookies.
During the flawless documentary – Paul Merson: Football, Gambling and Me – he even scanned bank statements from 2017 which revealed he had gambled in tens of thousands that year – including a loan of Â£ 3,000 of his sister.
And in a heart-wrenching scene, he admitted he hadn’t bet for nine months, adding, “The reason I quit was because I was locked out last year when I lost all of our. savings for a deposit for a house.
âI would sit on the couch and watch the kids and the hatred I had for myself.
“My God, I just let you down so badly. And that’s when I quit.”
The show shed light on the sport’s increasingly comfortable relationship with gambling, although there are around 430,000 problem gamblers in Britain.
And there are fears that the problem is largely hidden.
“It’s estimated that about 5% of problem gamblers seek help from a gambling program or drug rehab,” says The Providence Projects, a leading private rehabilitation center.
“This means 95% of problem gamblers have their lives ruined by debt and depression.”
And on Monday’s hard-hitting show, it was claimed that soccer fans can be exposed to the game logos up to 700 times during a televised game.
And nearly half of all Premier League teams have their kits sponsored by gambling companies – while Boro is currently sponsored by 32 Red online casino.
Having hopefully eliminated his addiction for good, Merson now receives an allowance from his wife Kate.
However, brain scans taken during filming showed that he always enjoys watching game footage more than some of the pleasures in life, such as food or nature.
And he openly admitted, “I always think about it and that’s what scares me. For all I have, it’s always in my head and that’s what I can’t understand. scares to death.
âI think next time will be dangerous. I can’t live my life like this. I don’t think I have another recovery in me. I really don’t.
“This is it, this is the last-ditch show, that’s the honest truth. I really can’t go back.”
Fighting back tears, the former England star called the game a “killer” as he admitted: “It’s not going to go away.”
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