March 23, 2023 3 min read


NHL Star Evander Kane Reveals Gambling Addiction as Reason for Bankruptcy

Evander Kane, a professional ice hockey player for the Edmonton Oilers, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with liabilities totaling $26 million

The Athletic reported that in legal papers filed last week, Kane stated that he gambled up to 50 times a day, which is a primary reason why he fell into debt.

Kane’s legal team presented the player’s family background in the lawsuit brought by his biggest creditor, Centennial Bank, which stated that his mother, Sheri, was a stay-at-home mother who raised Kane and his sisters, growing up in Vancouver’s lower-class area. 

Kane began playing professional hockey straight out of high school at 18, and although he earned $76 million throughout his 14-year career, his family never owned a home, struggled financially, and lived month-to-month.

The missing paperwork includes details on Kane’s gambling losses, which he revealed for the first time as the principal reason he lost so much money. According to Kane, his gambling addiction began in 2012 when he signed his first big contract in the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets, just as the league went into lockout. 

Kane borrowed $50 million between 2014 and 2019, initially to pay off a gambling debt and other expenses, and then to pay off previous loans. He borrowed 26 times from institutional lenders and seven times from individuals, including more than $1.1 million from two men his legal team described as “middlemen” for bookies, Mike Lispti and Pete Gianakas.

Financial Illiteracy and Gambling Plague Athletes’ Finances

Kane found himself struggling with no way to support his family as he had pledged, which made him view gambling as a quick way to make money. Most of his gambling losses were with bookies and were largely undocumented. The websites they had him gamble through no longer exist, according to his legal team.

Drew Hawkins, a provider of financial education initiatives for sportspeople, noted that while Kane’s situation involves larger sums, the underlying issue echoes the financial difficulties faced by several other athletes. Many of them come from disadvantaged backgrounds, lack financial literacy, rely on subpar advisors, and frequently resort to gambling. 

Hawkins observed that these athletes are usually left to fend for themselves and struggle to make prudent financial decisions, resulting in distressing accounts of individuals falling into substantial debts due to impulsive spending or gambling.

Kane’s creditors argued that the athlete should not be allowed to use undocumented claims of gambling losses to explain away his debt. They stated that he should have subpoenaed his bookies and the casinos where he lost money and that as he could not account for his losses, he should not be able to complete Chapter 11 and walk away from his debts, calling the bid “shocking.”


Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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