Africa-Press – Botswana. Paul Merson, a former English international, told ‘The Sun’ how he lived during the Covid-19 pandemic, when he lost thousands of euros – as he says – because of his gambling addiction.
“At first I liked the confinement. I spent my days in the garden with my youngest children, it was sunny. But then I started to obsess about Boris Johnson’s daily update (of the Covid-19 numbers). get worse, I just thought: ‘They won’t have football on Saturdays again'”, explained Merson.
He continued: “I won’t be able to receive anything (from Sky Sports, where I worked at the time). I want to give my children a future. My wife and I had 160 thousand pounds saved (184 thousand euros) and I spent it all on some bets . In the last one, I bet 8 thousand pounds (more than 9 thousand euros) on a table tennis player. I had no particular knowledge of the sport, but at that time everything was stopped, there was not much to choose from”.
Merson explains that this was the moment he became aware of his addiction. “By the time I got to that point, I was just trying to get my money back, which is what a compulsive gambler does. That was my last 8,000 pounds, I lost all rationality. I remember having suicidal thoughts while my kids were playing. I looked at them and thought I hadn’t even told my wife what I had done with the money. When I told her, she was furious”.
Now, at 54, Merson, who as a player stood out in a 10-year long stint at Arsenal, says he’s outgrown his addiction. “My salary goes directly to my wife, I carry change. I thank God that she is in control of everything, and for the fact that I am banned from all betting companies”, he concluded.