HARRY TOFFOLO avoided a ban for breaching betting rules because his stakes were small and “unsophisticated”.
He also ended up losing money and some of his bets were as low as 25p.
However, an FA report reveals that his playing habits were due to his treatment at Norwich and a desire to fit in with the older players.
He then became “depressed” and suffered from “mental health problems.”
The 28-year-old Nottingham Forest defender was given a five-month suspended ban by the Football Association this week after admitting 375 breaches of betting rules.
But he bet a total of £1,323.93, meaning Toffolo’s average stake was £3.53.
He started placing bets when he was 18 and was 21 when he stopped.
Only once did he place a single bet of £100 and lose money overall – a total of £367.70 – and he has not bet on football since March 2017.
Toffolo’s ban is suspended until the end of 2024/25 and he was also fined £20,956.
Between January 2014 and March 2017 he breached FA rules banning players from placing bets or disclosing information that could be used for betting 375 times.
At the time he was a Norwich player and played on loan for Swindon, Rotherham, Peterborough and Scunthorpe.
But the FA report said: “He suffered double disappointment when he was told he was not in the manager’s plans at Norwich but that he could not be sent out on loan to gain experience.”
Some bets cost as little as 25p – but the FA accepted that Toffolo had experienced “a series of very difficult times” between 2014 and 2017 and that he had done an “admirable job of getting out of those difficulties”.
But the FA added: “He realized his future at Norwich looked bleak in the under-23 development squad.” It was around this time that he began gambling.
“He did this partly to alleviate his bad mood, but mainly because he wanted to ‘fit in’ with the players who claimed to be playing regularly and successfully.
“In his own words, he naively believed that he would have a better chance of making it as a footballer if he behaved like a first-team player.
“In retrospect, he believes that he became addicted to gambling during this time.”
It continued: “He struggled with his mental health for a variety of reasons. These difficulties led him to play more and more frequently.
“We accept that there appears to have been a link between his mental health and his gambling.
“In February 2016 the situation was so bad that he thought his football career was over.”