The bright lights of the Las Vegas strip. The Principality of Monte Carlo. Even Southend Pier. The opportunity to hit the roulette wheel or Blackjack table is just too much temptation for some professional footballers.
The high wages on offer in the professional game and the large amount of spare time, enables players to have a number of hobbies outside of football. A lot play golf, others hit the PlayStation whereas some love the lure of the casino and their deposit bonuses (and some do all three).
Everyone involved in Football all the way down to the Northern, Southern and Isthmian leagues are prohibited to bet on all sports matches by the Football Association. That means a trip to the book makers is out of the question.
However, there are no laws prohibiting players from visiting their local casino to gamble on attractions such as Roulette, Poker and Black Jack.
Poker appears to be a firm favourite of the professional footballer. Barcelona’s Brazilian superstar Neymar Jr is particular to the high stakes card game, and has even teamed up with a well-known betting company to help promote the brand through social media and appearances (for a lucrative fee no doubt).
Neymar’s team mate Gerard Pique is also becoming a big name on the poker scene and competed in the World Series of Poker after Spain’s dismal 2014 World Cup campaign.
Closer to home, England striker and Premier League Champion Jamie Vardy is no stranger to a casino and (like Neymar Jr) is partial to a spot of Texas Holdem (although he was at the centre of controversy in 2015 and has since toned down his visits).
Following Vardy in a love for the casino is Manchester City star Samir Nasri, who often frequents the tables and has been known to be a big fan of the roulette wheel.
Unsurprisingly, Nasri’s partner in crime was the often outlandish Italian Mario Balotelli during the pairs time together at the Citizens.
In keeping with his traditional unpredictability, Balotelli reportedly gave a homeless man £1000 cash after a big win.
It is not just the current crop of footballers who love to hit the tables. Former England and Manchester United striker Teddy Sheringham actually started a career as a professional poker player and even scooped up a prize fund of a whopping €93,000 in 2010 when he reached the final table in a pro tournament in Portugal.
The growing trend of footballers hitting the casino shows no signs of slowing down and with wages on the rise, this could be a very nice time to be a casino owner.