You would think that being an internationally recognized sports star would be exciting enough. But for some, they needed something else to make life more exciting. Gambling provided them with this additional excitement but it came with a very high price to pay.
A gambling addiction is a terrible thing for any person to deal with. When you are an international sports star with all of the additional pressure of constantly being in the limelight, it can be almost impossible to handle and control. Despite this, many sports stars have overcome their gambling addictions and taken back control of their lives.
Professional Golfer John Daly
John Daly was a controversial figure in the world of golf right from the start. He rose to stardom in the 1990s and was well known for being a heavy smoker and also drinking alcohol when he was playing golf.
Some people will tell you that it was obvious that Daly was a gambler too. We do not necessarily agree that this is obvious, but the truth was that Daly liked to play casino games a lot. The amount that he lost gambling on jackpot casino games is staggering. Estimates put this as high as $57 million.
Daly liked to play the high-stakes slot machines in Las Vegas. In only 5 hours he lost over $1.6 million doing this. This was after he won the World Golf Championship held in San Francisco. His prize money was $750,000.
In addition to playing the slot machines, Daly also enjoyed playing Blackjack. He could be seen playing as many as 7 hands at the same time and placing bets anywhere between $5,000 and $15,000 on each hand.
One of his favorite slot machines was at the Wynn Casino. This diamond themed machine was “Double Diamond with Cherries” and he reportedly played this for 2 straight days without having a break. The losses were enormous.
Daly took control of his gambling addiction by implementing a limit for losses where he would stop playing. He says that if he ever gambles now, he will only play on the slots with a $25 limit. Despite losing the considerable sums of money that he did, Daly has no regrets and said that it was very entertaining for him.
Professional Football Player Paul “Golden Boy” Hornung
People that follow American Football will probably have heard of Paul Hornung. He was a star in 1957 until 1966 with the Green Bay Packers. Hornung was so good that he ended up in the Hall of Fame for his talents as a running back.
Hornung won 4 NFL Championships during his playing career and also won the very first Super Bowl. The “Golden Boy” was known for his versatility as well. He was able to play in several different positions including placekicker, halfback and quarterback.
But he was also famous for his addiction to gambling. He liked to gamble big on horse racing, particularly the Kentucky Derby, and he also lost a great deal of money gambling in the casinos of Las Vegas. Hornung had a real passion for casino games.
He was banned from the NFL after they discovered that he was placing bets on games. In 1964, the NFL reinstated him and he went on to play 3 more full seasons. Hornung’s reinstatement was largely due to Vince Lombardi, the Green Bay Packers coach, lobbying for his reinstatement.
Hornung made a promise to Lombardi that he would stay away from Las Vegas casinos and gambling on horse races if he would help him get reinstated. After he was reinstated, Hornung was true to his word.
Gambling Addiction can be Avoided
These days, a lot of gambling has shifted online. There are numerous online casinos available and it is just as easy to develop an addiction to these as it is with land-based casinos. Fortunately, there are many free casino games available now where you can experience the enjoyment of playing these games without losing your shirt.