A long-time struggle
Poker pro Phil Mickelson, long known as a heavy gambler, has revealed that he has, in fact, fought gambling addiction for years. In a post on X, he advised people who are planning to bet this football season, whether via traditional wagers or fantasy sports, to do so in moderation.
“I won’t be betting this year because I crossed the line of moderation and into addiction which isn’t any fun at all,” Mickelson said, adding that losing money wasn’t a problem, but that “I was so distracted I wasn’t able to be present with the ones I love and caused a lot of harm.”
And like many who struggle with addiction, he didn’t see the effects his gambling had on his family and friends until it had gone too far.
Most of you will enjoy this football season with moderation while having lots of fun and entertainment. The fantasy leagues will provide banter amongst friends and money won or lost betting won’t affect you. I wont be betting this year because I crossed the line of moderation and…
— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) September 18, 2023
“It’s like a hurricane is going on outside and I’m isolated in a shelter oblivious to what was happening. When I came out there was so much damage to clean up that I just wanted to go back inside and not deal with it.”
Mickelson went on to say that for those who do end up becoming addicted to gambling, “hopefully you won’t confuse your enablers as friends like I did. Hopefully you won’t have to deal with these difficult moments publicly so others can profit off you like I have.”
He went on to praise his wife, Amy, who he said “supported me through my darkest and most difficult times.”
“Because of her love, support, and commitment, I’m back on track to being the person I want to be.”
“After many years of receiving professional help, not gambling, and being in recovery from my addictions, I’m now able to sit still, be present in the moment and live each day with an inner calm and peace,” Mickelson concluded. “I still have a lot of cleaning up to do with those I love the most but I’m doing it slowly and as best I can.”
Last month, legendary gambler Billy Walters published his memoir, Gambler: Secrets from a Life at Risk. In it, he claimed that Mickelson was addicted to gambling and specifically sports betting. It seems no coincidence that Mickelson has now spoken out, though it of course could, in fact, be a coincidence.
Walters said that from 2010 to 2014, Mickelson bet over $1 billion, losing almost $100 million. He bet $110,000 to win $100,000 1,115 times and $220,000 to win $200,000 858 times. In 2011, he averaged nine wagers per day.
On one day in 2011, he placed 43 bets across 15 MLB games, losing $143,500.
Walters also claims that Mickelson called him 2012, asking him to put $400,000 on the US team to win the Ryder Cup, something that is absolutely not permitted in the sports. Walters declined.