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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Sport
Tom Blow

England fans warned about risks of gambling ahead of World Cup 2022 clash with France

For many fans, the World Cup is a festival of football showcasing the greatest players.

But for others, it's gateway into gambling's unforgiving trap. It's claimed 43 per cent of fans will bet on the tournament in Qatar, while 39 per cent of those are worried about gambling more frequently due to the cost-of-living crisis (in other words, chase a bet).

Thousands of bets, if not millions, are likely to be placed on England's quarter-final against France on Saturday. Aston Villa legend Lee Hendrie, who's witnessed the negative impact of gambling, is worried more fans will want to have a flutter during the tournament.

Hendrie tells Mirror Football: "Being amongst the gambling situation is pretty easy to do, really, and I think with lots of the gambling websites which are available - and lots of adverts are constantly played before games all over social media - I think it's quite easy to get sucked into gambling and take on the offers they advertise."

It's believed 24 per cent of fans are persuaded to place bets they wouldn't normally make by gambling adverts, while 61 per cent think there are too many on during the World Cup.

Addiction doesn't discriminate, and Hendrie is worried players who aren't involved in the competition could also be vulnerable of falling into gambling's trap. The former Premier League midfielder has seen former team-mates lose large sums of cash due to gambling, even though there are strict FA rules on the practice.

England fans will be tempted to have a flutter on Saturday night's game (Getty Images)

What are your thoughts on gambling? Let us know in the comments below!

"I know it's quite clear and evident that they're not allowed to do so and take part in gambling, but there's always ways of getting a bet on if you're watching a game – particularly if you're watching a game that you're not involved in," adds Hendrie.

"As an ex-footballer... it is pretty easy because you want to watch what's on show, and it's easy to sit there and try to put a bet on and have some form of interest in it. These guys are earning a shed loads of money and fortunes, and this where you can get drawn it.

"Some of my pals used to it, which I’ll always remember. They would always mention about games and scored predictions, which I just think is an easy way to get drawn into gambling. People don’t realise that and that’s the scary thing about gambling and having bets."

Hendrie has urged those fans who gamble during the World Cup to be careful. He's encouraged them to consult GambleAware, a charity that works to keep people safe from gambling harms. GambleAware's website has plenty of advice, and they run the National Gambling Helpline to offer further support.

Former Premier League star Lee Hendrie has urged fans to act responsibly (PA)

Hendrie continues: "I've had a gamble myself at times... I wouldn't say it was a habit, but I'd always be very cautious about where and what I was putting on. There's always easy access to limit what money you have on a bet.

"This is where it's so important because it's OK when it's a little bit of fun and you've got something to watch and you're placing an amount of money on that you can afford and not trying to earn a fortune doing so.

"[Make sure you] have gambling limits on your account and a certain amounts of bets each day if you're going to do so. Just keeping tabs on it, really, because it's quite easy to fall into the trap of chasing money and chasing a bet that you've lost.

"Speaking to players that I've been associated with that have been in this sort of situation, that's where it can easily spiral out of control. If it does, this is where you have to have that resource in your mind of maybe deleting accounts.

"On your phone, it's very easy to do so [gamble] because you aren't [giving physical money to a cashier in a bookies]. You are handing money over [online], but it doesn't feel that you're putting bets on because you're not handing cash over.

"This is where people really need to be aware of that and that's why I think websites like GambleAware, where you can go online and look at stuff. GambleAware is somewhere you can go for that free support if you feel like you're getting into a trap.

"With the cost of living [crisis], it's quite easy to try to chase money and make up money that you haven't got - and that's where it spirals."

Anyone concerned about their gambling, or that of a loved one, can visit BeGambleAware.org for free, confidential advice and support, or The National Gambling Helpline is available on 0808 8020 133 and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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