Reformed gambling addict David Schwarz warns of major gambling problem amongst AFL players

Posted: June 17, 2015 by Beaner in Gambling addiction
Tags: , , , , , ,

I remember reading these articles about a month ago, and was thinking about it again on the weekend with the bye in the AFL, as Richmond weren’t playing.  Many young men are struggling with gambling addiction, and the young men playing AFL are not exempt from the same attraction to sports betting and gambling or the associated problems.  With the amount of money they earn allowing for excessive disposable income, combined with too much spare time and the sports betting environment that surrounds the AFL, it is little wonder there are players who end up becoming addicted to gambling whilst trying to forge a career in the AFL.  With about 800 AFL players in the system across 18 clubs, there are 30 players with known serious gambling problems, which accounts for 3.75% of all the players, or an average of nearly 2 players a club.

The hidden danger in this issue is that an AFL player in debt and desperate for cash could influence the result of a game or a bet type in their favour.  And to think that the AFL would be exempt from this type of behaviour would be naive in the face of what Hansie Cronje and many other professional cricketers have done in the past.

Beaner

Reformed addict David Schwarz warns of major gambling problem in AFL

Tuesday 5 May 2015 – AAP

Former AFL star and high-profile reformed gambling addict David Schwarz wants government action on betting adverts, warning of a rapidly-growing problem among AFL players.

He has spoken to about 30 current players with serious gambling issues. Schwarz blew about $5 million because of gambling, but has not laid a bet for a decade. The former Demons key forward will soon front a revamped AFL program that aims to help players who are problem gamblers.

“I absolutely agree there is far too much advertising,” he told SEN. “But while it’s here and while it’s not legislated against, we have to deal with it as best we can. What we have to do is put pressure on governments to minimise advertising to the appropriate times, so the kids aren’t as influenced.”

Schwarz added that it would be counter-productive to put too many legal curbs on gambling. He said 99% of people gambled responsibly and it remains an individual choice.

“I understand that the gambling ads make up a big percentage of SEN, they make up a big percentage of the AFL,” he said. “But the last thing we want to do is drive betting underground. We need to have it regulated, so we can keep on top of irregular betting patterns.”

Schwarz said a key for the growing betting problem among AFL players is to drum the message into them right from when they join the TAC Cup Under-18 competition.

“When they get into the system, players need to understand the pitfalls – understand the things that can go wrong and how quickly it can escalate,” Schwarz told SEN. “It’s a really funny one, gambling, and people go ‘why don’t you just stop?’.

“But you can’t smell it, you can’t see it – it’s a little hidden thing that sneaks up on a lot of people. The last couple of years in particular, the increase of players and player managers and clubs, who are needing help and advice on how to help their players out, has been a real concern.”

Schwarz said it is no surprise that gambling would be an issue among AFL players. “These are young men who hit the key demographic for a lot of the problems out there,” he said.

“Many of them are young, single, they earn good money, they have a lot of spare time. So if you were to put together the perfect specimen for someone who might fall into a bit of strife, professional athletes hit the category most. They’re risk takers, they’re adrenaline junkies, they like the thrill.”

But he added that if problem gamblers receive the right help, they can stop. Schwarz said it was probably easier for AFL players to stop gambling, because they had club support around them.

“We have some great stories – players who have been right on the depths of despair,” he said. “Their financial position was in dire straits and they’ve turned it all around. They’ve turned it around really quickly.”

AFL players blowing thousands amid gambling epidemic labelled footy’s ‘hidden problem’

Mark Robinson – Herald Sun, May 05, 2015

A PUNTING epidemic has gripped the ranks of AFL players.

David Schwarz, a reformed gambling addict, who will front the AFL’s revamped gambling program, says he has talked to up to 30 current players with major gambling problems.

Horse racing and multi-bets placed across a range of sports, mostly American, are the biggest attraction.

The Herald Sun has learned of:

A PLAYER who dropped $30,000 in a day betting on horses.

ANOTHER player who lost $40,000 on a Saturday before playing the next day.

Schwarz said last night he had spoken to players who had lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“It’s an escalating problem … it’s bordering on being an epidemic,’’ he said.

“I know players who have lost three-quarters of their wages in a month through gambling, which is hundreds of thousands over time.’’

Leading player manager Paul Connors last night said of gambling: “It’s the hidden problem in footy.’’

And an AFL club chief executive, who did not wish to be named, said last night: “After training, the players go home and they are bored and start betting. American sports, that’s what they bet on: the NFL, the NBA.’’

In late March team captains alerted the AFL to the growing crisis, warning gambling was the No.1 problem with players in their spare time.

Some players aren’t afraid to lose up to $100,000 a year gambling, Schwarz says.

But many players don’t inform their clubs or the AFL Players Association because they are scared their names will be made public.

The AFL will shortly announce a new range of measures to help players.

“Ultimately, one player struggling with a gambling problem is one too many,’’ said Andrew Dillon, the AFL’s general counsel.

“David Schwarz has approached the AFL and put forward a proposal for a progressive gambling support program for players and the wider AFL community that is under consideration.”

Schwarz said growing numbers of players were contacting him for help each season.

“It affects their football,’’ he said.

“I’ve spoken to a number of clubs, a number of players and player managers, and they believe it’s the biggest problem with the players.

“It varies from managers who are concerned about their player, to players who are fully blown problem gamblers.

“They are on the verge of losing everything, or have hit a point where they will never recover,” Schwarz said.

“They will walk out of the game without having accumulated anything, and they have been in the system for eight to 10 years.

“The mindset is, they believe they are going to earn big money, so if they lose $100,000 in a year it’s not a big deal.

“Some managers take full control of their money and give them an allowance each week,’’ Schwarz said.

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