Footballers and Playing – The Athletic


This is part of a series of articles inspired by questions our readers have asked. Thanks to Charlie B for getting this piece to ask about soccer players' hidden battle with gambling / addiction.

Scott Davies was 16 years old and started making £ 50 a week as a scholar at Reading Youth Academy. He lived in digs, away from friends and family, and often found himself at a loose end after training. He was wandering the city center looking for a place to go or do something. Everything to pass the time.

He went to a bookmaker. Legally, he wasn't old enough to place a bet, but no one smacked an eyelid while sitting at one of the fixed-odds terminals. He can't remember how much money, if any, he left a few hours later. What stays with him is the excitement he felt with every spin of the virtual roulette wheel. "The machine hit me," he tells The Athletic. "To the…