Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend recently said that he once lost £46,000 in a single night because of reckless gambling. However, he claimed that when the Football Association penalised him for betting, the incident saved him as a human being. He now has 13 England international caps to his name.
The 28-year-old footballer mentioned that while he was away from Tottenham on multiple loan spells, he developed a boredom, which in turn led to his addictive personality. According to him, these factors contributed to his addiction to gambling.
Townsend said that while he was at Birmingham on loan in May 2012, he was in a Blackpool hotel just one night before their Championship play-off semi-final and he wasn't able to fall asleep. Instead of trying to sleep, he kept checking his phone and placed bets continuously.
He claimed to be the only person in history to have lost £46,000 lying on a bed in one night. Townsend then admitted that he is thankful to the FA for punishing him. Later, he realised that he was "just a stupid kid who made a mistake" and as a result, was caught by the governing body.
In 2013, Townsend was fined £18,000. He was also given a ban of four months by the FA for breaching their betting regulations.
Speaking of the incident, Townsend said to the reporters, "It snapped me back to reality. I really feared for my whole career. When the thing that you love in life can be taken away from you, it changes your perspective. It opened me up to the possibility that actually talking to somebody about what I was going through was OK. I'm not telling this story for the whole world. I'm telling it for the people out there who have had their knocks - for those who have been misunderstood, depressed, lost, and especially the ones who have battled addiction."
BBC reports that Townsend then began undergoing counselling sessions for eliminating his addiction to gambling. He said that the FA's punishment didn't only help save his football career but also helped him become a better human being.
Crystal Palace is currently in 7th place in the Premier League table with 21 points in 15 games. So far they won 6 matches and lost an equal number of games and drawn 3.