Gambling in football: Latest figures show record turnover and profits

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Matthew Etherington says that since he has retired from football, agents have been in touch asking if he would advise players with gambling problems

Gambling on football was worth a record £1.4bn to bookmakers in a year, the most recent industry figures show.

Bookmakers also made record profits of £333.4m from football bets, according to Gambling Commission data for October 2015 to September 2016.

Football's relationship with gambling has come under recent scrutiny, with midfielder Joey Barton criticising the FA's "dependence on betting companies".

The FA has said it is "considering" its relationship with gambling firms.

In early May, chairman Greg Clarke said the Football Association's long-term deal with betting firm Ladbrokes, as well as commercial agreements with the alcoholic drinks companies Carling, Budweiser and Carlsberg, would come under review.

The FA board is expected to make a decision on whether its policies or behaviours should change this summer.

Barton, 34, was released by Burnley at the end of the Premier League season. In April he was given an 18-month ban for breaching betting rules.

Since 2014, players and coaches across England's top eight divisions have been banned from betting on any worldwide footballing activity.

In its written reasons explaining the decision to punish Barton, the FA acknowledged his "difficulties [were] compounded by the fact betting is 'everywhere' in sport".

Ten of the current 20 Premier League clubs carry shirt sponsorship from gambling companies, while adverts feature conspicuously on TV and radio.

Reacting to Barton's ban in April, former Stoke winger Matthew Etherington, who lost £1.5m at the height of his gambling addiction, told BBC Radio 5 live the industry should be better "regulated".

"It's very hard and complex, but everyone needs to take a little bit more responsibility - the PFA [Professional Footballers' Association], the players, the FA and the gambling organisations themselves," the 35-year-old said.

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