(844) 845-4219 » Legal Sports Gambling Debt

I Played in the NFL. Now I Help People Get Out of Debt. Here’s My Problem with Legal Sports Betting



If you gamble legally, I don’t judge you. That might sound odd coming from someone whose job is helping people get out of debt. After all, gamblers rarely end up making money. There’s a reason for the expression, “The house always wins.”

Believe it or not, I advise gamblers to mimic grocery shoppers: create a budget and stick to it. If gambling is something you enjoy as a pastime, and you’re doing it legally, then set aside what you can afford to lose. It’s no different than allocating money to go to music festivals or fancy dinners or shopping excursions. It’s your entertainment budget.

Of course, gambling is also an addiction – and an illness. I hope anyone reading this who feels they can’t control their gambling will call the National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700.

On the eve of a new NFL season, and with sports betting now legal in two dozen states – check ESPN’s map to see about yours – it seems like a good time to talk about responsible gambling.

Playing the game

Sports betting is already a $150 billion industry, and most of that is spent on the NFL. Since football is the dominant sport in this country, that’s no surprise.

In the 1990s, I was placekicker for the Seattle Seahawks, Buffalo Bills, and New York Jets. In 1995, I even led the AFC in touchbacks. So I understand the allure of the game. I also understand how that allure can turn into obsession.

During and after my NFL, I saw intelligent and responsible people do something ridiculous: Believe they could make thousands of dollars betting on NFL games. If they studied the weather, the rosters, and the trends of both teams, they just knew they could reliably make money betting on the game I once played.

As someone whose job it was to handle the football several times a game, I can tell you: Even those of us on the field and the sidelines had no idea what would happen. That oblong ball bounces in funny ways.

Gambling the right way

As an NFL player and now a company president, I’ve known plenty of people who gamble on football. Many do it the right way. They build it into their entertainment budget. They set aside $50 or $100 a week – and sometimes a lot more if they earn a lot more – just to lay it on games they think they can win.

If they lose, they stop. If they win, they either spend that money on more games or treat friends and family to dinner or gifts. But they never, ever look at gambling as a job. Sure, there are professional gamblers, and I’ve heard all the radio spots and listened to supposed “experts” touting ways you can make sports betting a career – if you send them some money to learn their secrets.

Trust me, there is no secret. Take it from someone who played the game and still watches it. But if you’ve already gotten yourself into debt, call me at I know how to help you kick the habit.

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