- Russell Martin, the head coach of Swansea City hates gambling because his father was an avid gambler
- He gambled away their home and they moved to a bookmakers where life was tough for him
- He says winning loads of cash is always a soothing idea but losing it all is a tragedy
Russell Martin, the head coach of Swansea City is one of the football proponents supporting Premier League clubs in its withdrawal of gambling sponsorships from face of their game day.
The Swans boss says gambling has horrific effects and he has seen it with his family and colleague in sports.
He narrated to BBC Sports how his father gambled their family residence when he was only eight years old.
Martin, a former defender for Scotland said winning loads of cash is always a soothing idea but losing it all is a tragedy.
“I hate it [gambling]. I really don’t like it. I had to move house when I was eight years old because my dad lost the house because he was a gambling addict,” he narrates.
They lost their house and they had to move to an adjacent bookmakers which was only good for his father and not the rest of them.
He couldn’t come to terms with seeing his father happy after winning and very sad after losing.
“The impact it could have on a good day – winning loads of money – and then the impact it can have negatively when losing, was horrific. Having to live with that atmosphere in your household all the time is really tough,” he says.
Martin opined that he supports any effort to limit gambling marketing in football. By the end of the 2025-26 season, Premier League clubs have agreed to remove gambling sponsorship off the front of their matchday shirts.
Once the deadline is off, EPL clubs will still be permitted to feature gambling sponsors on LED advertising and shirt sleeves.
As it is now, eight top-flight clubs carry gambling businesses on the front of their shirts, worth an estimated £60 million per year.
Since then, gambling makes him feel uneasy because he knows how badly it can ruin lives having lived in bookmakers.
The experience of standing for hours before getting in makes him loathe any form of betting because it was tough for his family but very easy for his father.
Further, he has seen how damaging it can be to players alike and he doesn’t have fond recollections of ex-team-mates from Scotland who gambled.
Martin’s reasoning is that Premier League has enough funds to sustain it and does not require sponsorship by gambling firms.
Incidentally, Swansea’s main sponsor is a betting company and with his stand, Martin says he is getting a lot of slack for opposing the people who fund his club.
Nevertheless, he states that gambling is a social issue that many people gaming and betting firms do not address.
“I’m not convinced they need the extra money that you get from it – albeit, I’m aware we’re in a competition that’s sponsored by a betting company, so I’ll probably get criticised for that,” he stated.