Speaking out for the first time
England international Andros Townsend, who plays soccer for English Premier League team Crystal Palace, has spoken publicly about the night he lost £46,000 ($60,000) gambling whilst in bed.
The winger has now spoken publicly for the first time about his gambling addiction. After being fined by the Football Association (FA) in June 2013, he was subsequently suspended for breaching betting regulations.
Having conquered his addiction, Townsend has opened up on a unique set of circumstances that led him to start gambling and losing vast amounts of money.
Writing on The Players’ Tribune, Townsend was quick to dispel myths around his lifestyle. He stated that he “didn’t drink or do drugs”. He added:
I don’t think I’ve ever been inside a nightclub in my life. Any yet I still managed to lose 46 grand with just one tap on my phone.”
With a self-confessed addictive personality, Townsend went on to say how the mix of boredom and being on his own away from home was a recipe for disaster. After a series of loans that saw him move from his parent club, he was watching television one night when he saw an advert for a free bet.
Townsend decided to download the gambling app onto his phone and have a flutter. Within a few months he was out of control and kept losing money. He continued to bet more to dig himself out of a hole, but it just got deeper.
Wednesday night in Blackpool
It was the night before Birmingham faced Blackpool in the first leg of the 2012 Championship playoff semifinal that Townsend found himself at his lowest.
He went on to say how he was lying in bed, unable to fall asleep ahead of the biggest game of the season, and the combination led to him betting such a huge amount of money. Reflecting on his actions, Townsend said:
I’m probably the only lad in history to lose £46,000 ($60,000) lying in bed on a Wednesday night in Blackpool.”
Wants to share his message
Townsend believes he would still be betting had he not got caught by the FA.
He now wants to share his message to help other people. The soccer player was only 10 when his half-brother Kurtis tragically died in a car crash and he has admitted that this pain was something he carried throughout his early football career.
He said: “I’m telling it for the people out there who have had their knocks – for those who have been misunderstood, depressed, lost, and especially the ones who have battled addiction. It didn’t stop until I got caught. And thank God that I got caught. When I was charged by the FA and facing a ban from soccer, it snapped me back to reality.”