I left the gambling clinic and went straight to the bookmakers, confesses Kyle Lafferty as he opens up on the hell of betting addiction


KYLE LAFFERTY has opened up about how hard it was to overcome his past gambling addiction.

It’s been almost five years since the Kilmarnock striker went public with his betting troubles while playing for Hearts.

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The Killie Lafferty striker has opened up on his past playing strugglesCredit: SNS
He opened up about his addiction during a recent podcast experience. (YouTube/A Pint and Two Shots Podcast)

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He opened up about his addiction during a recent podcast experience. (YouTube/A Pint and Two Shots Podcast)

His announcement in September 2017 came a year after he was fined by the FA in England for breaking governing body rules by placing bets on matches.

Lafferty decided to confront the issue, publicly admitting that he was addicted to gambling.

He revealed that he attends Gamblers Anonymous meetings and in 2018 he marked a year without placing a bet.

The 34-year-old described it as a ‘milestone’ and although there is still a long way to go, he said he was ‘in the best place I have been in a long time’.

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Four years later, the former Rangers striker has opened up on his road to recovery.

He described the “weight on his shoulders” after publicly addressing the situation.

Lafferty also revealed how he fears his gambling addiction will destroy his dream of playing for Northern Ireland at Euro 2016.

speaking on A Pint and Two Shots PodcastLafferty said: “I went to my GA meetings. They helped massively.

“You meet normal people who aren’t going to judge you. That was probably the biggest thing for me that kept me from getting help before. Going to the meeting, getting into the press, stuff like people look at me in a different way.

“I ended up being heavily fined by the FA in England, but that was maybe three months before the Euros. I was like ‘I absolutely screwed this up for myself.’

“At the meeting with the FA I was so honest. I was like ‘listen, what I did, I don’t blame anyone. It was my fault, I was aware of what I was doing .’

“I was honest with them. I think that probably helped me to be so honest.”

After being fined by the FA, Lafferty visited the Sporting Chance Clinic, run by former Arsenal and England defender Tony Adams.

However, Lafferty admitted that he was not yet ready to quit acting at that time and was still tempted to do so even after he started attending meetings.

The tall striker said: “They gave me the guy’s number in Sporting Chance, Tony Adams, I started seeing him but I wasn’t ready.

“I drove from Norwich to London every Wednesday when I was away but saw myself going to the bookies around the corner when I left his meeting.

“I didn’t bet on football after that, I was treading water trying to get my money back.

“Horses, dogs, even virtual dogs. I wasn’t ready to stop.

“I would leave the meeting, turn the corner on the way back to Norwich and bet. I bet on everything.

“I remember I was lying in my bed, if I woke up I was next to my bed betting on anything. Table tennis, even.”

Lafferty has now pledged to help all other footballers struggling with gambling addiction.

The Northern Ireland international has also pledged to help any other players struggling with similar issues.

He says his doors are open to any football star who wants to talk to him.

He added: “When I first came out it was a huge weight on my shoulders.

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“For anyone, for footballers in the limelight, there is always help.

“The support and support you will get will be mind blowing. If anyone ever wanted to come and talk to me, even if I played games against them or whatever. I will always help someone.”

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