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Paul Merson once lost ‘his family’s £160,000 house deposit’ on table tennis bets

Paul Merson once lost ‘his family’s £160,000 house deposit’ on table tennis bets

The former Arsenal player has spoken openly about his gambling addiction in the past.

Paul Merson has revealed he once lost his family’s £160,000 house deposit by betting on table tennis. 

The former Arsenal man has previously spoken openly about his struggles with gambling in the past. He has said that he lost around £7 million in 35 years. 

Last year, Merson was involved in a BBC documentary titled 'Paul Merson: Football, Gambling & Me', in which he spoke about the impact that his gambling problems have had on his life. 

Despite believing that he has turned a corner, he has now admitted that he turned back towards betting during the COVID pandemic, which led to a nationwide lockdown. 

He told The Sun: “I was on furlough from Sky Sports and at first I enjoyed the lockdown. 

“I was in the garden with my youngest kids and the sun was out. But then I started getting addicted to bulletins when Boris Johnson and the bloke with the red tie came out.

“My anxiety kicked in and I thought, "They're not going to have Soccer Saturday any more" was thinking, "I'm not going to be able to earn anything". My older kids' mums have houses and I want to give my younger kids a future.”

Merson added: “Kate [Merson's wife] and I had £160,000 saved up and I blew it in a few bets. It was all online, but it wasn't a bookmaker, it was a private bookie.

“My last bet was eight grand on a table tennis player. I didn't have a particular knowledge of table tennis but everything was locked down at that point, so there wasn't much to bet on.

“I remember sitting in my front room and having suicidal thoughts and my kids were playing and I was thinking, "Oh my God, I've just done everything in”.” 


Merson has revealed that he now give all his wages to his wife, and in return, she gives him ‘pocket money’. 

The former England international believes that his current wife will leave him if he relapses again. Merson’s previous marriages all fell apart due to his addiction, he now attends Gamblers Anonymous sessions and has become an ambassador for addiction support app, Recoverlution.

During a glittering career as a footballer, Merson won the league twice and the FA Cup once with Arsenal

He has also been capped 21 times by England. 

Featured Image Credit: BBC/Alamy

Topics: Paul Merson, Football