Catching the attention of football fans and fuelling speculation on a high roller's identity Friday was a report in the UK newspaper The Daily Star that a famous UK football player had blown GBP 1 million in a matter of hours at an unamed land casino.
So distraught at his loss was the Premier League player, that he allegedly broke down in tears and begged fellow gamblers not to tell his mother.
The newspaper could not publish the name of the player, who is said to be a multi-millionaire and a household name, because of a gagging order issued by the courts after an application from the casino.
However, it was reported that he and friends had been drinking GBP200 bottles of champagne at a nightclub before moving on to the casino in the early hours, where he played on roulette and poker tables.
When the scale of his losses became clear he apparently cried and said: "What have I done? My mum can't know about this."
It is claimed that this is not the first major gambling loss to afflict the player, said to be a regular in his national team. Reports suggest that he has incurred gambling losses in excess of GBP 50 000 before at the same land casino venue, and that he has made high-risk bets in the past.
A spokesman for the casino said: "We never talk about any individual, whether they are a customer or otherwise."