Most notorious sports gamblers in US sports history

Gambling has been a part of American culture for centuries, with notable figures in sports history known to indulge in betting. These individuals were known for their prowess in their respective sports as well as their affinity for gambling. This article aims to explore the lives of some of the most notorious American sports-playing gamblers of all time.

Gambling and sports have always been entwined, from the early days of baseball to the NBA of today, and these people have forever changed the landscape of gambling and sports betting. While traditional betting methods, such as sportsbooks, are still prevalent, the rise of progressive casino jackpots has added a new dimension to the world of gambling. Understanding the background and traditions of gambling in sports has grown more crucial, as more well-known sportsmen participate in online gambling.

Pete Rose

Pete Rose, a former Major League Baseball player and manager, found himself embroiled in controversy due to his involvement in gambling. For placing bets on baseball games, including those of his own team, the Cincinnati Reds, he was threatened with expulsion from the sport in 1989. Despite acknowledging the allegations, Rose vehemently denies ever intentionally betting against his team.

He is regrettably ineligible for admission into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a result of this regrettable chain of occurrences. Opinions on Rose’s situation are sharply divided. Some argue for giving him a second chance, while others firmly believe that his actions violated one of the sport’s most fundamental rules and therefore preclude reinstatement. Thus, the debate over Pete Rose and his gambling escapades continues to be a highly polarizing topic in the exciting world of sports.

Art Schlichter

For four seasons, it looked as though the Indianapolis Colts had found a franchise quarterback in the form of Art Schlichter, however, not all was right behind the scenes. Underneath the fame, his journey was marred by a relentless battle with gambling addiction. Schlichter’s troubles with gambling initially took the spotlight during his time at Ohio State, where he faced suspension for betting on college football games.

Even after hanging up his football boots, he couldn’t resist the allure, leading to a string of legal troubles and even a stint behind bars. However, in the face of adversity, Schlichter sought help and now actively champions gambling addiction awareness. His experience serves as a sobering reminder of the dangers of excessive gambling and the critical need for tools and helps for people battling addiction.

Michael Jordan

Over the years, there haven’t been many athletes, or human beings as a whole for that matter, that became a bigger superstar than Michael Jordan. His amazing skills on the court have sealed his legacy as perhaps the greatest basketball player that’s ever lived. However, he too indulged in high-stakes betting.

Over the years, he earned himself the moniker of a high roller thanks to his famed love of playing golf for money, even challenging fellow players, celebrities, and casino owners. But this penchant for gambling caused tensions within his team, with allegations surfacing about unpaid debts and questionable associates.

While Jordan’s court prowess was legendary, his gambling exploits often grabbed headlines. Some speculated that this habit affected his performance, while others brushed it off as harmless entertainment. No matter where one stands on the debate, it’s undeniable that the controversy surrounding Jordan’s gambling adds another layer to his already complex legacy.

Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley, the former pro basketball player turned sports analyst, has quite the reputation as an enthusiastic gambler. He has never hidden his love of gambling, which has periodically put him in financial trouble, throughout his career. Even though he’s now a well-respected commentator, Barkley hasn’t been immune to scandal due to his gambling habits. In fact, back in 2006, the NBA slapped him with a staggering $400,000 fine for his gambling losses.

But don’t get the wrong idea—Barkley insists he gambles for the thrill, not the money. He’s even sought counseling to gain control over his gambling impulses. It’s crucial to keep in mind that many people enjoy this sort of entertainment responsibly and within their means, despite the fact that some may use their past financial difficulties as a cautionary tale about the dangers of gambling.

Paul Hornung

The Green Bay Packers, famously led by Paul Hornung, rode the tide of winning in the 1950s and 1960s. However, Hornung’s career and reputation took a hit when he confessed to betting on NFL games while still a player. Serving a suspension for a season and missing out on the 1963 NFL championship game, Hornung faced severe criticism. He still has a special place in the hearts of Packers supporters despite all the controversy.

Amid the debates surrounding his conduct, it’s important to acknowledge Hornung’s unmatched achievements and undeniable contributions to the sport. While his gambling habit eventually came to light, it’s not our place to judge his character or personal decisions. Let’s instead honor the lasting impact he has created, both on and off the field. Hornung’s story continues to inspire fans and aspirants, leaving behind an unforgettable tale of triumph and resilience.


Sports gambling is a thrilling and sometimes lucrative activity that captivates millions of people worldwide. However, it can also be a double-edged sword that brings consequences and controversies. The stories of these five notorious American sports-playing gamblers serve as cautionary tales and reminders of the perils of gambling.

We must always keep in mind that gambling addiction is a genuine and intricate problem, one that demands our attention and support. As sports enthusiasts, we can relish the games and cheer on our cherished players whether we yield to the lure of placing bets or not.

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