Brian Rice, the head coach of SPL team Hamilton Academical, is facing charges from the Scottish FA after a relapse in his gambling addiction. According to a recent report from the BBC, gambling is common among players and staff in Scottish football, despite being banned and carrying the risk of discipline from the Scottish FA.
An anonymous players explained that “in pretty much every dressing room there’ll be players betting.”
“I’ve heard of players betting on their team to win. Players betting against themselves? Not so much. I’ve heard of folk maybe doing the yellow card bet.”
“You’re talking about four or five boys who wouldn’t, which shows you how bad it is.”
Professional footballers in Scotland are not allowed to place bets on any football match in any country. The anonymous footballer described how easy it is for players to get friends or family to place a bet on their behalf. Some simply walk into a bookmakers themselves and don’t get recognised.
Support is offered
Support is offered to players from the Professional Footballers’ Association Scotland (PFA), who visit clubs throughout the season and remind players of the rules.
Despite this, there have been several recent instances of players being caught & punished for breaching regulations – with some claiming that they didn’t know betting was against the rules.
“They’re almost pleading with players to stop,” he said referring to the players’ union.
“Only when boys see other folk getting into bother it would maybe strike them a little bit. They need to try and make examples of being shown to help rather than make examples to be punishing.
“Somebody gets caught, there’s a wee bit of a rift about it, maybe folk will quieten down and then maybe a month later it’s just back to the way it was.”
The three main tournaments in Scottish football are sponsored by betting companies – including the Ladbrokes Premiership. Some critics are concerned that the excessive gambling imagery in Scottish Football can put extra pressure on problem gamblers.