David Bentley admits past gambling problem

Life for David Bentley could not better at the moment. Impressing week-in-week-out for his club team Blackburn and now touted as the new David Beckham following his impressive full-debut for England against Switzerland last February.

However, things could have been so much different.

The 23-year-old midfielder has revealed that he battled a gambling addiction that cost him tens of thousands of pounds and threatened to ruin his promising career.

"I was betting on anything. It starts off with pounds, then it's a hundred, then it's thousands,” Bentley told the Setanta Sports’ Football Matters show last night.

“You start off wanting to win £100 and then it's £100,000."

Bentley first began stepped foot in a betting shop at the tender age of 14. But it was when he started moving up the ranks at Arsenal and earning more money that his problem began to escalate. He said: “It was when I started earning more that I started to get really heavily into it. I was addicted to everything — horses, dogs, online poker and the American sports.

"I would wake up in the morning and the first thing I would think about would be to have a bet rather than play football. All I wanted was to have a bet."

Luckily for Bentley, his girlfriend sat him down and warned him that he would throw his career away if carried on his current path.

Bentley added: "You get addicted to the whole thing. Picking a winner, hoping to have a winner and placing a bet. It started out as a day at the races and it got out of hand. I sat down with my girlfriend to talk about it and she said I had to stop. It was the hardest thing ever.

Editor, Jackpot.co.uk - 2008-04-10 10:55:26

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