Legendary Gamblers: Wayne Rooney

Legendary Gamblers: Wayne Rooney

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Published Date · Dec. 26, 2023 · Last Updated · Jan. 16, 2024 ·Read Time · 3 mins

Arguably one of the most talented footballers in the history of the English game, Wayne Rooney is a footballing legend who won 120 caps for his country, while also winning every major trophy as a Manchester United player.

wayne rooney

Much like another United icon before him - George Best - Rooney has a reputation for enjoying himself off the pitch, too. This is where his status as a legendary gambler comes in…

Who is Wayne Rooney?

Born on October 24 1985, Wayne Rooney burst onto the footballing scene in 2002 when his last-minute wonder goal beat an Arsenal team to end their 30-game unbeaten run. A feat he achieved five days before his 17th birthday.

rooney vs arsenal

A £30 million move to Manchester United followed in 2004, and the rest, as they say, is history. The Liverpool native went on to play more than 600 club games, as well as 120 for his country - in which he scored 53 goals - becoming England’s top goalscorer. This record has since been taken by current England captain, Harry Kane.

What Makes Rooney’s Gambling so Legendary?

Rooney’s gambling is arguably so legendary because, in many ways, it was inevitable. When he moved to Manchester United in 2004, the then 18-year-old was rewarded with a £50k/week contract - a record for a teenage player at the time. With that sort of money to burn at such a young age, it should come as little surprise that he found a taste for games of chance.

Rooney’s Biggest Wins

Despite him being a perennial winner throughout his glittering football career, finding examples of Rooney’s biggest gambling wins was tough. Having scoured the internet for hours, we only found a couple of examples of his gambling success.

£51,000 Winnings Received in Cash

Rooney admitted in his autobiography that he was once handed £51,000 in cash at United’s Carrington training ground, having won a substantial bet placed with a private bookmaker. While we couldn’t find any more information as to what he was betting on, it’s easy to see why such a big win could encourage a young footballer to try his luck again!

£5,000 Cheltenham Gold Cup Win


Another win, which may seem anecdotal when compared to the vast sums Rooney was paid in his career, came when he was able to strike it lucky when betting on arguably the biggest race in the racing calendar.

Rooney’s Biggest Gambling Losses

While it may have been tough to find too many examples of his gambling success, unearthing his losses was very straightforward, as you will see below.

£50,000 Loss

Rooney admitted in his 2007 autobiography that he had to cut back on his gambling after a year of substantial losses. While he started betting at £100 a time, he admitted this soon increased into the thousands, with his main vices being horse racing, greyhounds and even football.

£700,000 Lost Betting Via Text Message

After cutting down his gambling following those consistent losses, he started playing seriously again having been introduced to a confidential betting firm, Goldchip, by an England team-mate.

While his losses are disputed, it is reported that he went on to lose £700,000 betting via text message. He admits he had not comprehended the scale of his losses until he was contacted by the bookmaker to arrange settling his debts.

£500,000 Lost in Just Two Hours

Playing in Manchester’s 235 Casino, the footballing legend managed to burn through a cool half a million in less than two hours.

235 casino

Described as being “extremely reckless” while drinking a number of beers, Rooney played a combination of blackjack and roulette as he chased his night’s losses.

The story reported by the tabloids was that Rooney went on this gambling spree while his wife Coleen was away in Europe with their young children - he must have had some explaining to do when she returned home!

Where is Rooney Now?

Following a record-breaking career as a player, Rooney has made the transition into football management with Derby County and DC United - before recently being appointed as the new Birmingham City manager. While he received some criticism for taking over at Derby while they were sponsored by gambling company, 32Red, it sounds like his headline-grabbing gambling losses are a thing of the past.


Tim Williams

Head of Content


Nosa Omoigui

Content Editor