Goalkeeping legend Peter Shilton has laid bare the extent of the gambling problems which have haunted him for over 40 years.
The European Cup winner has spoken out as football faces increased scrutiny over its links with the gambling industry.
The Sunday Times recently revealed that some non-league sides were required to link their websites to BetVictor.
Shilton, England’s most capped player, said his propensity to gamble worsened after retirement when he started gambling online.
He said: “I had two lives, one as a very dedicated footballer, and another where I was addicted to gambling.”
He added: “It’s so easy just to get on that buzz and get hooked. When you gamble you are on a high whether you’re winning or losing.”
Speaking about the impact of online gambling, he said it allowed him the opportunity to “sit on a computer and bet” into the early hours of the morning.
The former England international is pleased to say that he has not placed a bet in five years – and hopes to never gamble again.
Former Scotland goalkeeper Rab Douglas has warned that gambling is also rife in Scottish football.
Douglas – currently goalkeeping coach at Championship side Arbroath – claimed that players are checking bets at halftime and called on the Scottish FA to “do something constructive” about gambling in football.
It was reported last week that The National Football League has asked clubs to include links to BetVictor on their websites.
The Sunday Times revealed that clubs in the Southern League were “required” to links to the gambling firm’s website.
Northern Premier League Chairman Mark Harris said the document had been sent out in error.