It would be difficult to separate gambling from football.

The world’s most popular sport attracts billions of dollars in sport betting. Reports say more than US$1 billion is placed on betting for every Premier League game. Clubs have graduated to having official betting partners and many third-party business catch into the popularity of the sports through organized betting schemes.

Research has now highlighted that the betting menace is affecting players who also put money into it, according to SoccerLens. The British Sociological Association annual conference in Birmingham will reveal this using research available from current and former footballers.

The University of Chester’s Graeme Law presented starling information after they interviewed 34 professional football stars in the Premier League and lower divisions. Some players say gambling relieves stress, pushing the action to be a break from their highly regulated lives.

“I like to bet on the bus, but it got worse when I could bet online. I was able to do it all the time with no one knowing. I lost a lot. My wife found out after a year or so and she got me help and it’s under control now. It’s the culture to gamble in football and it can get dangerous when it grips you,” one player who used to be addicted to soccer betting confessed.

Many other football players admitted to accumulating gambling debts, and that it adversely affected their performance on the pitch. One Michael Chopra said he moved to Sunderland so he could use his sign-on fee to pay off gambling debts. Eidur Gudjohnsen said he lost over £400,000 within a five-month period.

Despite betting companies advising those involved to do gamble responsibly, many increasingly get addicted. The habit is at epidemic levels in football, and it would require a lot to manage its growth.