Bet365 Admits to Not Using Ex-FPL Star as Pundit Over Gambling Addiction Statements

  • Steven Caulker said he was rejected over his statements about gambling addiction
  • Bet365 believes it would be inappropriate for the player to appear on the series
  • Caulker is currently without a club and has been looking for punditry work
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Bet365 rejected soccer player Steven Caulker’s punditry application over concerns about his gambling addiction statements. [Image:]

Concerns about opening up

Online gambling operator Bet365 has admitted to not selecting former English Premier League (EPL) soccer player Steven Caulker for a pundit role due to his statements about gambling addiction.

The 31-year-old applied to appear on Bet365-sponsored videos, but revealed that he was told that the operator was nervous about his “positive work” in the space. He spoke about the matter as part of The Big Step campaign which aims to bring an end to gambling advertising and sponsorship in soccer.  

documented his struggles with depression, alcohol, and gambling

The London native documented his struggles with depression, alcohol, and gambling during a newspaper interview in 2017. He contemplated suicide at one point and had brushes with the law. Caulker questions if players can actually open up about their struggles following his recent experience with Bet365, saying that he now wouldn’t encourage people to do so as he believes their honesty can be used against them.

Clarifying the decision

Bet365 released a statement about Caulker, explaining that the defender applied to be a guest on the series that had Bet365 as its only sponsor and was published solely online by one of its publishing partners. The operator learned during the approval process about Caulker’s previous negative experiences.

it would be inappropriate for Mr Caulker to appear on a Bet365 sponsored series of this type”

The operator noted the “excellent work” the player has done promoting the issue of problem gambling, but the company felt “it would be inappropriate for Mr Caulker to appear on a Bet365 sponsored series of this type.” Bet365 concluded its statement by remarking that its media partner misstated the reasoning behind not proceeding with the player’s application.

An interesting career

Caulker carved out a career in the EPL with numerous teams, including Tottenham Hotspur, Cardiff City, Southampton, and Liverpool; he is currently looking for a club. He most recently played for Wigan Athletic last season in England’s second tier and has been looking at doing media work in the meantime, covering some games for BBC Radio Manchester.

Caulker began gambling at age 15 and first underwent treatment as a 19-year-old for his addiction. He was regularly losing big money at London casinos before eventually getting to grips with his problem.

The defender made a single appearance for the England national team, scoring in his debut in 2012 against Sweden. He switched allegiances last year to Sierra Leone and is now the captain of the side.

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