John Daly Lost $55 Million To Gambling Addiction

By Shawn Dwyer 06/03/14

The former British Open champion and all-around wild man used tax returns to estimate his gargantuan losses.

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Once the wild child of professional golf, John Daly has had a long history with gambling and alcohol addiction. But it wasn’t until recently that anyone was aware just how far down the rabbit hole he went with gambling.

In a recent interview with Yahoo’s Graham Besinger, Daly estimated that his total net losses between 1991-2007 were in the range of $55-57 million.

“We went through all my tax records to find out, because I really didn’t know, and it just came to that. I was shocked,” Daly told Bensinger. “I thought it might have been $20-25 (million), but I had no idea that it was $55-57 million. It’s crazy.”

Daly admitted that he would play seven hands of blackjack at the same time, betting up to $15,000 per hand, while playing $5,000 slot machines and staying up gambling at the tables for two days straight.

"I love the action. I love the adrenaline, going in there," Daly said. "Now if I gamble, I play the $25 slots. If I hit something, I might move up to $100. But I don't do what I used to do anymore."

During his heyday, Daly was a notoriously heavy drinker until an arrest for public drunkenness in 2008 outside a Hooters restaurant in North Carolina led to him swearing off booze. Ironically, he famously boasted in 1994 that many PGA golfers were using cocaine and that if all players were properly tested, he would have been “one of the cleanest guys out there.”

As for his gambling problem, Daly never expressed any remorse despite the tens of millions he lost. "People are going to say that I should regret it, but I did it," he said. "You know, I move on from it. I had a lot of fun doing it."

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.