Over his 16 years in the Premier League, Wayne Rooney amassed 208 goals in the EPL with both Manchester United and Everton, including 5 titles with United.
He also scored 53 goals for England, in a career that has not yet finished, as he recently signed for Derby County as captain, who play in the Championship.
But the reason we’re talking about Rooney is because of an interview he did in early 2020, where he revealed his struggles he’d had with gambling during the early stages of his footballing career.
In light of his admission, it has made his new deal with Derby County even more perplexing.
After bursting onto the scene with Everton, Rooney signed with Manchester United in 2004 at 18 years of age.
He was understood to have signed a contract worth £55,000 a week! Not a bad graduation present!
But this was the start of a downward spiral for the 18 year old, as Rooney revealed in a video for 32Red’s gambling awareness campaign:
“I was a young lad who’d just come into a lot of money. For an away game with Manchester United you stay in a hotel – and with England you’re in a hotel for seven to ten days. You get bored and do things to fill the time. At that time gambling was one of them. It was easy to place bets by phone. It didn’t feel like real money.”
At the age of 20, Rooney lost an incredible £700,000 in 5 months, thanks to the rise of smartphones and pure boredom.
He also revealed another shocking loss at the casino, where he lost £65,000 in just two hours!
Unfortunately for the former England striker, Rooney had gotten to the stage where he was chasing his losses.
Rooney highlighted the dangers of gambling in the same video with 32Red:
"Before you know it you’ve lost a good bit and you don’t realise the amount you’re putting on at the time. I won at the start and thought it was easy money. It sucks you in a bit more and I ended up losing,” he said.
“Thankfully I managed to pay up what I lost and I didn’t gamble again. I’ve learned from my mistakes. If you carry on gambling, you lose more. That’s when you can get sucked into a bad situation.”
As mentioned above, Rooney’s latest move in the footballing world was when he signed with Derby County in August, 2019.
Derby County’s main shirt sponsor is online casino and sports betting bookmaker, 32Red, which is a pretty common partnership you see in the sports world these days, for example, Bet365 & Stoke City, Betway & West Ham, etc.
What makes his move even more curious is the fact that he is wearing the shirt number 32! Surprise, surprise.
Upon investigation by the Football Association, it was found that Rooney’s wages aren’t being paid by 32Red, but by the club. But that hasn’t stopped various entities, such as the Church of England and healthcare professionals criticising the English legend.
Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, spoke to the Guardian about the impact that these adverts have on children and the wider community.
“Rooney should take the lead and stand up for his fans by refusing to wear this shirt. If young footballers see a national treasure refusing to sully his personal brand and taking a moral stand it will better protect families from gambling-related harm both now and in the future,” he said.
Not only is Rooney promoting a brand that promotes gambling and limits successful sports bettors, but 32Red has a history of taking advantage of gambling addicts.
Just two years ago, 32Red were fined £2 million for failing to take 22 opportunities to help a gambling addict.
The customer had deposited £758,000 over more than two years, to which 32Red failed to intervene.
Under law, online bookmakers or casinos are supposed to check if failing gamblers are able to afford their losses, a law that 32Red clearly neglected as the customer’s net salary was £2,150, with an average monthly deposit into 32Red of £45,000!
Although Rooney is clearly highlighting the dangers of gambling in his interviews with 32Red, it seems highly hypocritical that he would be promoting the same brand!
Even though it was found that 32Red are not paying his salary at Derby, there’s no doubt he is benefitting from them in some way.
I mean, come on, he’s got the number 32 on his back after wearing 8, 9 & 10 across multiple clubs for 15 years!
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