It’s pretty much everywhere you turn- and coming from overseas, St Mirren man Tony Andreu was taken aback by how much gambling is involved in the Scottish game.
The midfielder first arrived in Scotland with Livingston. Since then, he has had spells with Hamilton, Dundee United and now the Buddies.
The issue of gambling in Scottish football has come to the forefront again after Accies boss Brian Rice’s admission. The 56-year-old has confirmed that he is again battling gambling addiction.
PFA Scotland have been in to visit the St Mirren players. They’ve been addressed on a number of issues, including gambling. Arriving in Scotland from France, Andreu couldn’t quite believe the scale of it all.
“The first thing that struck me when I came here that everything surrounding football is about gambling,” said Andreu. “It is getting bigger in France, there is no getting away from that, but the first thing that struck me when I arrived here seven years ago is that it is a big thing.
“It makes sense that every year you need reminded that it is not allowed and then you can get help if it gets out of hand and you get addicted. It is important.
“I don’t gamble. I can’t speak for everyone else but it is really clear, we are reminded of the rules. It is a bit ironic. What PFA Scotland do is important, they are here to help you but on the other side football in general, not just the UK, the shadow always behind the game is gambling and that is ironic, which is a shame.
“It’s a big market. But it is not just footballers. It is a big thing in the world and something to be addressed.”
Andreu has spent a lengthy period in the UK now. Between stints in England and in Scotland, he’s been on UK soil since a move from Stade Nyonnais in his homeland in 2012.
The Frenchman says that he feels right at home in Scotland after spending years in the country, whilst also wishing injured teammate Kyle Magennis well in his recovery from a cruciate ligament injury.
“I’m enjoying my football in Scotland for sure. It’s been four or five years now,” said Andreu. “I know the game more than when I arrived. I’ve got used to it too.
“On the pitch Kyle is going to be missed a lot as he’s done very well this season. He was captain on the pitch and put in strong performances. It’s going to be a huge miss.
“Off the pitch he’s a nice guy and it’s just a shame. I’ve been there, I know it’s not easy to get this type of injury. But he’s going to come back stronger.”