May 1, 2023 3 min read


Ex-pro Rugby Player Mark Bradshaw Raises Awareness of Gambling Addiction

In a recent interview, the famous ex-pro rugby player shared how devastating problem gambling can be and how he was able to turn his life around and now focuses on helping others

Problem gambling or gambling addiction can have dire consequences not only for the people addicted but for their families as well. Addiction to gambling often brings financial strain on the families of the gambling addicts. In many cases, those families are torn apart by piling up gambling debts, while in some, gambling addicts even consider suicide as an escape from the bad situation. Such difficulties can impact the lives of families forever and ultimately destroy them.

Mark Bradshaw, a former professional rugby player, is an example that despite addiction and problem gambling, people can turn their life around and even start helping others. The ex-rugby pro player was recently interviewed by The Independent, and revealed his heartbreaking story, telling how he lost millions to gambling but was able to turn his life around.

Bradshaw revealed that his initial encounter with gambling was back when he was still underage. But his real gambling-related problems began when he turned 18, right around the time his rugby career was about to lift off. Sadly, Bradshaw wasn’t able to keep gambling as an “entertainment” activity, which resulted in him losing some €5 million ($5.5 million).

Besides money, the ex-professional athlete said that the gambling addiction resulted in him losing “everything” and this includes his house and family. Due to the gambling addiction, Bradshaw lost touch with his two sons, as well as his wife. At some point, he even thought of taking his own life.

The Ex-pro Athlete Turned His Life Around, Now Helps Others

Gambling ultimately impacted Bradshaw’s different career choices. His professional rugby career suffered from his gambling. “From the age of 18 to 36, there was no period when I wasn’t gambling. I just didn’t focus on the rugby. I was erratic and my behavior was appalling, so my rugby career didn’t work out,” said Bradshaw.

Acknowledging that his rugby career was over, he joined the military. Sadly, Bradshaw’s military career didn’t last long as well and this is when he realized that his gambling was getting out of control. His career choice after the military involved talent acquisition and recruitment. As a “recruitment headhunter,” Bradshaw was earning lots of money as commission which he said hit €180,000 ($198,000) at some point. This is when he uncovered online gambling which further fueled his gambling addiction and resulted in him losing millions.

After spending some time abroad, in Portugal, Bradshaw decided to turn his life around and stop gambling for good. The former professional rugby player quit gambling in 2019 and since has devoted himself to helping others and raising awareness of the dangers of gambling. Since going public, Bradshaw said that he has received some 600 messages from people from Ireland that are struggling with problem gambling. “I just want to help as many people as I can, that is my focus,” he explained. In addition to helping people online, Bradshaw participates in different initiatives that seek to raise awareness of problem gambling.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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