Gambling giant confirms Wigan Athletic old-boy was blocked for job by ‘negative experiences’

Gambling company Bet365 have admitted blocking former Wigan Athletic defender Steven Caulker for a punditry role due to his well-documented stance on gambling addiction.
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Since leaving the DW last summer, Caulker has been without a club, and he has been doing media work – including covering Latics games on BBC Radio Manchester - in an attempt to carve out a new career.

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However, he claimed he had been prevented from taking up a potential TV position due to off-screen politics.

Steven Caulker spent the second half of last season with LaticsSteven Caulker spent the second half of last season with Latics
Steven Caulker spent the second half of last season with Latics
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"I finally landed a TV job, or so I thought I had," he wrote on LinkedIn.

"Do you know what came back today?

"Bet365 (the TV company's main sponsors) have rejected my profile due to them being 'nervous about some of the positive work I have done around problem gambling'.

"People often say to me that it's great that players can now open up about their struggles.

"Can they really? I certainly wouldn't encourage it."

Remarkably, Bet365 have released a statement which – while placing on record their admiration for Caulker’s ‘excellent work’ in raising awareness of ‘problem gambling’ – confirmed this is the case.

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“Mr Caulker applied to appear as a guest on a video series solely sponsored by Bet365 which is only published on an online video platform (not TV) by one of our sports publishing partners," read the statement.

"During the guest approval process, we became aware of Mr Caulker’s own negative experiences with gambling which he has spoken about openly.

“We welcome the excellent work Mr Caulker has done to raise awareness of problem gambling.

"However, as a betting company, we felt it would be inappropriate for Mr Caulker to appear on a Bet365 sponsored series of this type.

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“In explaining these circumstances, we regret that our position was misstated by our media partner to Mr Caulker.”

Caulker's problems with gambling and addiction are well documented, with the player being incredibly open about his journey.

In a cruel premonition of what was to come for him off the field, Caulker of the problems faced by players who had their issues 'used against them further down the line'.

"What I don't think is fair, and what I'm quite vocal about, is that when players are speaking about these issues, it is then used against them further down the line," he told ESPN earlier this year.

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"(Clubs say): 'Oh, we can't give you a new contract because of so and so,' or: 'We can't sign him because he is trouble - he has a problem'.

"When you are back [from rehab], you are fit and training well, I still believe that more often than not, managers are looking at players and saying: 'Well, I can't trust him because he's had these issues, but I can trust [another player], so I will play him.'

"As a manager, what I would do differently is...I would actually look at players who have had their struggles, whether that be mental, emotional or physical, I would look at those people and go: 'They've overcome adversity and I want those characters in the dressing room.

"I want those characters on the field, because when the going gets tough, they're the ones that everyone looks to.'"

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