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Charles Barkley Reveals $25 Million Gambling Loss

In an interview on Shannon Sharpe’s podcast, Charles Barkley reveals that he gambled away $25 million, causing depression as the former NBA Hall of Famer reminisced on his past.

US basketball player Charles Barkley arrives for the 2019 NBA Awards at Barker Hangar on June 24, 2019 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by LISA O’CONNOR / AFP) (Photo credit should read LISA O’CONNOR/AFP via Getty Images)

Gambling in Las Vegas led to Barkley losing about $25 million, as reported by The Daily Mail, as he spoke with Sharpe on May 1 about his unhealthy habit reaching a new low. While the loss served as a turning point in overcoming his crippling addiction, it also triggered bouts of depression, highlighting the detrimental effects of gambling addiction.

Lady Luck Not On His Side

Barkley opened up about his gambling addiction, having mentioned in a previous appearance on the “In Depth with Graham Bensinger” podcast that he had lost between $10 million and $20 million in the 1980s.

Now, however, it appears that those estimations have increased even further. In his May 2 appearance on “Club Shay Shay,” the former Suns player, who earned more than $40 million in the NBA and has been an analyst on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” since 2000, spoke at greater lengths about the complexities of his addictions, as it was reported by The Daily Mail.

While the monetary losses from gambling were distressing, the sorrow of being unable to stop them afflicted him with even deeper anguish.

“I got such a[n] elation [when I won], but when I lost a million, I was so depressed. Because of the money, but because of the losing. Barkley said. “I’d be depressed for a week [thinking], ‘Damn, I lost a million dollars?’ I was getting out hand. No matter how good it feels winning, when you lose, it just f–ing sucks.”

According to Barkley, the gambling lasted for two years, as he claimed, according to Finurah. However, it was not all bad news for the TNT host, as he mentioned that he had won a million dollars on four or five occasions while gambling.

Up to 20 million Americans are affected by gambling problems or are at risk. The prevalence of gambling addiction in men is 1.5-2 times more common than among women, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. 

The percentage of Americans with a severe addiction problem stands at 1 percent, according to Play Today. Gambling disorder, as it is known, affects about 1-3 percent of all U.S. adults.

The social cost for a gambling addict, as measured by the Problem Gambling Severity Index (with 0 being a Non-problem gambler and 8 or more indicating a Problem gambler), exceeds $30,000 per year. An estimated 23 million Americans fall into debt due to gambling. 

Americans collectively spend approximately $500 billion on wagering each year. The economic challenges of recent years have indeed affected the gambling industry in various ways, according to Wallet Hub.

For Barkley, gambling has been a longstanding aspect of his life, stemming from his family’s involvement in running an underground casino during his childhood living in Alabama. 

Despite his struggles with gambling, Barkley maintains financial security, boasting a reported net worth of $60 million alongside various endorsement deals.

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