In-game Betting a Recipe for Match-fixing Claims FanDuel’s NBA Legend Charles Barkley

June 16, 2022
Andrew Burnett

A sidestep from poker to sportsbetting and this week saw NBA legend Charles “Sir Charles” Barkley caught in a “do as I say, not as I do” moment, the legendary basketball star and prolific gambler warning of the dangers of in-game betting…

Barkley, who started out with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1984 and went on to become the NBA’s MVP in 1993 with Phoenix Sun, is notorious for his love of gambling and is a brand ambassador for US online gambling giants, FanDuel.

He has admitted to betting $1million on at least 20 separate occasions, and has won and mostly lost $millions over the years, including $2.5million in a 6-hour Blackjack session.

However, this week saw him warning of the possible dangers of in-game betting, with match-fixing a potential pitfall.

“We’ve got people in the stands betting on who’s going to make the next free throws. If I was a scumbag, I’d look at a guy in the stands, a friend, and say, ‘Yo, I’m going to miss both of these free throws.’”

Barkley explained: “Now, that’s cheating... I mean, c’mon man, if you’re able to bet on if a guy’s going to make two free throws in the middle of a basketball game, that’s obsessive.”

The basketball Hall of Famer admits that “gambling’s always been part of sports,” but is concerned at how easy it is to become obsessed with betting on sports.

“You can sit in the stands and make bets now in the middle of a basketball game. But, like I said, the toothpaste is out of the tube, and I don’t know how to put it back in.”

Barkley has often claimed that his own gambling “problem” isn’t really a problem. In 2007 he stated: “If you're a drug addict or an alcoholic, those are problems. I gamble for too much money. As long as I can continue to do it I don't think it's a problem.

He added: “Do I think it's a bad habit? Yes, I think it's a bad habit. Am I going to continue to do it? Yes, I'm going to continue to do it.”

A year later he was staring civil charges in the face when he had four outstanding $100k markers at the Wynn Las Vegas called on him, eventually repaying the huge debt.

Quite what FanDuel makes of their most famous ambassador’s recent remarks is as yet unclear, but it’s unlikely they’ll be happy about his negativity.

As for the fans’ views on Barkley’s apparent hypocrisy, the opening tweet was far from the only response of that ilk…

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