Former English Premier League Soccer Player Admits Gambling $40,000 in a Month During Troubled Career 

Back in 2009, Nile Ranger was living the high life. The 17-year-old had just received a three-year professional contract worth some $350,000 to play soccer for Newcastle United in England’s top tier Premier League. 

The London-born striker scored dozens of goals at youth levels, and was highly touted as Newcastle’s future star striker. 

But after turning 18, he discovered gambling, and things soon went downhill. The former pro striker, who now plays in semi-professional non-league football, recently spoke on his career in an interview with the UK’s Rising Ballers podcast

As well as the gambling, Ranger’s tumultuous career included winning the Championship second tier of English football, being arrested for fraud, and facing sexual assault allegations across a two-year trial in which he was eventually cleared. 

“My mum phoned me at one stage and said, ‘You’ve done £32,000 (US$40,000),'” Ranger said.

“I was like, ‘What? What do you mean? In my whole life?’ She was like, ‘No, in the space of two months’. That hit me like a train.”

The Gambling 

Ranger said he first started gambling at age 19, when he saw his Newcastle teammate Geremi turn up to training with a bag of cash after a successful trip to the casino.

Ranger then took himself to a casino in Newcastle city center the very next day. He soon developed a taste for roulette, but lost more than he won over several months. With the high salary of a Premier League soccer player, Ranger at first barely noticed the losses.

But then one month, he realized he wasn’t as flush as usual. Feeling embarrassed, he decided to borrow money from his teammates to try and win it back. Which didn’t work out.

His gambling stopped, however, when one of those teammates informed then-Newcastle club chairman and billionaire Mike Ashley of his new up-and-coming striker’s habit. 

The club owner took Ranger aside and informed him he’d spoken to all the casinos in town, and Ranger was no longer allowed in. He also contacted Ranger’s mother to go through her son’s finances with him and see exactly how much he’d lost.

Dumb Things 

When Ranger saw he’d lost £32,000 in one month, he understood how far he’d gotten in the hole.

“Before I got paid, I would gamble all my wages,” he explained. “I would gamble everything before. It was out of control. I was doing dumb things. I knew I had a big contract.”

He did immediately stop gambling. But that wouldn’t fix all his other issues that continued to blight the talented young striker’s career. 

He would turn up late to training after being out late at nightclubs with different women throughout the week, and was once arrested for being drunk and disorderly. He bought one of the most expensive cars of all the players in the squad, despite being a 19-year-old on a relatively modest wage for a Premier League player. 

Over the next three years, Ranger made just 60 appearances for Newcastle before leaving on loan in 2011. He never returned to the Premier League.

Ranger ended his career in 2022 after playing six years in the the National League, the fifth tier and lowest professional division of English football.

In another recent news story involving a rich British gambler, aristocrat and convicted money launderer George Cottrell lost much more than £32,000 this month at the casino gambling tables. The former banker and political campaigner reportedly lost $20 million in one night during a super high-stakes poker game at The Maestral Casino in Budva, Montenegro.

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