Pete Rose, the illegal gambler who cost himself $100 million | 10 Celebrities and Sportsmen Who Are Sports Bettors

Unlike the other celebrities and sportsmen who we have featured in our series so far, Pete Rose was involved in the darker, more illegal side of sports betting.

Before finding himself in a legal mess, Rose was considered one of the greatest Major League Baseball (MLB) players of all time.

He is a 17-time All-Star and three-time World Series winner, along with holding records such as the leader in games played and all-time hits.

But in 1989, his legacy would be forever tarnished, when MLB commissioner Pete Ueberroth announced that Rose was under investigation over “serious allegations”.


Rose retired from Baseball in 1986, after being player-manager of the Cincinnati Reds for the past two years.

Although his playing days were over, he continued on as the manager for the Reds, but it was during this time that he committed the ultimate sin.

It came to light in 1989, that Rose was under investigation for gambling on Baseball, to which he denied from the outset.

Pete Rose

He called the claims “ridiculous”, stating that he liked to bet on Horse Racing, but he had never placed bets on any sport.

But proclaiming his innocence was short-lived as a host of people admitted to placing bets for Rose or being aware of his betting activities.

Later in 1989, the MLB’s lawyer, John Dowd, revealed that he had found evidence of Rose betting on Cincinnati when he was a play-manager and when he was just the manager.

After months of denial, Rose accepted a permanent ban from Baseball and more importantly the hall of fame, forever.

In a slightly unrelated case, one year later, Rose actually spent five months in jail after being found guilty of filing false income tax returns.


Because he voluntarily accepted his ban, none of the findings from the investigation were revealed to the public, but in 2002, Rose finally admitted to betting on the Reds every night!

Statue of Pete Rose

In 2010, he gave a public apology where he stated the following:

"I disrespected the game of baseball, when you do that, you disrespect your teammates, the game and your family... I got suspended 21 years ago. For 10-12 years, I kept it inside... That's changed. I'm a different guy... I love the fans, I love the game of baseball, and I love Cincinnati baseball," he said.

In an interview on ESPN Radio, he also discussed why he bet on the Reds.

"I bet on my team to win every night because I love my team, I believe in my team," Rose said. "I did everything in my power every night to win that game," he said.

It sounds nice when he says it like that, but it’s still illegal.


Since he was found guilty in 1989, Rose has filed for reinstatement into Baseball on multiple occasions, but his case has been rejected every single time.

As of today, he has another case pending, but he still awaits the MLB to rule on his reinstatement once again.

On the ‘No Filter Sports Podcast’, Rose revealed the incredible sum of money that his illegal gambling has cost him.

“Me betting on my own team to win cost me $100 million. I mean that's what it cost me. Because I'd have been managing the Reds for 30 years at three or four million (dollars) a year. And all the off-field stuff I'd have gotten,” he said.

With various states in America changing their gambling laws to make sports betting legal, Rose might have a case one day to be fully reinstated, but for now, the Baseball legend will never take his place in the hall of fame.

Check out the other articles in our 10 Celebrities and Sportsmen Who Are Sports Bettors series on:

  • Article 1: Michael Jordan, the ultimate example of NOT having a betting strategy
  • Article 2: Ashton Kutcher, the 'dumb actor' who placed bets for the largest sports betting syndicate in America
  • Article 3: Floyd Mayweather, successful sports bettor or more trash talk?
  • Article 4: 50 Cent’s $750k bet that Floyd Mayweather couldn’t read a page of Harry Potter
  • Article 6: Charlie Sheen, so addicted to gambling that he didn’t even care when he won a million dollar bet
  • Article 7: Wayne Rooney, football legend and betting hypocrite
  • Article 8: Bryan ‘Birdman’ Williams, another celebrity lacking a winning sports betting strategy
  • Article 9: Charles Barkely’s horrible gambling philosophy, ‘lose hundreds of thousands, not millions’
  • Article 10: Ben Affleck, the movie star who learnt how to count cards

Want to read about some other professional sports bettors or some of our customers who are on their way to becoming professional sports bettors too? Take a look at some of these videos/articles:

  1. My Value Betting Journey from 1k to 2k
  2. 10 People Who Got Rich From Sports Betting
  3. Jonas Gjelstad Documentary Series - from $10k to $1m

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