Footballers and casinos are an obvious fit with each other, dating back to the earliest days of gaming establishments.
Many players through history have enjoyed visiting casinos, from Stan Bowles in the seventies to the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo in the modern day. They are often glamorous, glitzy and provide the perfect place for young men with money in their pocket to pass the time. However, with players always being under intense scrutiny, a trip to a casino can be risky, and not just for the money they take with them.
James Maddison is an up and coming midfielder who has impressed with Leicester, and with a strong disposable income and time on his hands, he attended a casino when he was injured on England duty. It caused quite a furore, but Maddison recovered and footballers remain as entwined as ever with the bright lights of casinos.
Not only is it an obvious fit for young men with plenty of income, but a game in a casino delivers them a comparable thrill to the one they get on a matchday. The prizes on offer are not small sums, not even to professional players with hefty wages. A feature on the world’s biggest slot jackpots by Gala Spins reveals that the single largest casino win was recorded in 2003 when a software engineer from Los Angeles scooped $39.7m (£31.5m) at the Excalibur Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The potential thrill of such a big win is sure to get the blood pumping, giving footballers the sort of kick they might get from hearing 60,000 fans shouting their name.
Over the years, several Spurs players have been known to enjoy frequenting casinos. So, we have picked four you may not know about, all of whom enjoy a night at the tables or slots.
Dele Alli has been in the news plenty of late, whether it is promoting his political beliefs, or being teased on social media by the likes of Serge Aurier over his facial hair. Alli, whose interesting moustache prompted some banter from Ben Chilwell too, seems to be a fan of casinos.
In 2017, as a 21-year-old, Alli was pictured in Las Vegas having been literally dragged out of a casino during a pre-season trip. He has since kept more of a low profile if he has been around the tables; perhaps sensible given the reaction he received.
Teddy Sheringham is perhaps one of the best-known lovers of casinos ever to have played for Spurs. He bagged 124 goals in 277 outings for the club across two spells but earned his fame with Manchester United, where he won three Premier League titles and, of course, the Champions League.
He has also won big around a poker table, with career winnings of around £260,000 in different competitions. He may not have cashed in a ranking event in eight years, but he can still sometimes be found at a casino playing the game he first learned on long away trips during his football days.
Winger Ruel Fox played twice for England’s B team, later representing Montserrat at full international level. He began his career at Norwich City and wound up at Spurs after a brief stint with Newcastle United, costing £4.25m, which was just £250,000 shy of being the club’s record signing at the time.
Chris Sutton, who famously refused to play for England’s B team, mentions how Fox was a big fan of Great Yarmouth’s casinos. They were at Norwich together and Sutton explains how Fox, as well as Lee Power, gelled well on and off the field. They would even take the game one stage further, making up their own games called ‘spoof’ when not around the tables.
Darren Anderton had a strong career with Spurs and England but could have perhaps been even better had he not suffered constant injuries. That tendency to pick up easy knocks led to him being labelled ‘Sicknote’, but he still managed 364 games for Spurs, scoring 51 goals. He played 30 times for his country, scoring on seven occasions and was a part of the Euro 96 squad.
He is not confirmed as a regular frequenter of casinos, but he caused quite a stir in 2013 when he tweeted he was in an establishment in Southampton to watch the Super Bowl. Sadly, the casino did not have the game on and as a former Portsmouth star, he made his feelings perfectly clear!
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