Michael Chopra reveals £2m betting losses

Ipswich Town striker Michael Chopra has revealed the extent of his gambling addiction, estimating he has lost as much as £2m through betting.

The 27-year-old, who has been receiving treatment for the illness  , says he was gambling as much as £20,000 a day.

And he has even admitted to playing with injuries in the past in order to collect his appearance fee.

"I have probably lost between £1.5m and £2m on gambling," he told Sky Sports News. 

CHOPRA CAREER

  • Newcastle United (2002-06), three goals in 31 games
  • Watford (loan 2003), five in six
  • Nottingham Forest (loan 2004), none in five
  • Barnsley (loan 2004-05), 17 in 42
  • Cardiff (2006-07), 22 in 44
  • Sunderland (2007-09), eight in 42
  • Cardiff (loan 2008-09), nine in 27
  • Cardiff (2009-11), 34 in 91
  • Ipswich Town (2011-present), five in 14

"Your first bet's your worst bet. As the years have come along and I've earned more money I've started to gamble more.

"I was gambling up to £20,000 a day at times. As soon as I'd step over the white line I would focus on football - but as soon as I got to the dressing room I would check my phone to see if I'd won.

"As a gambler you want to be playing to get the appearance money. I was playing through injury to cover a debt."

Chopra, who has fought the addiction throughout the majority of his career, said his £5m transfer from Cardiff to Sunderland in 2007  was motivated by his desire to collect a signing on fee to pay off gambling arrears.

"In my first season at Cardiff I had a gambling debt from when I was at Newcastle," explained the former England Under-21 international.

"I had to leave Cardiff and sign for another team to pay that debt off."

Chopra, who has amassed 92 goals in 265 league games for Newcastle, Watford, Nottingham Forest, Barnsley, Cardiff, Sunderland and Ipswich, checked into the Sporting Chance rehabilitation clinic in early October.

But Ipswich boss Paul Jewell has said he will continue to play the forward, who insists he is focused on his career at Portman Road.

"The main thing now is to get promoted with Ipswich. They've backed me and I want to pay them back," he said.