Football manager Brian Rice placed bets on leagues in Costa Rica and San Marino and obscure women’s under-19 games as he reached rock bottom with his gambling addiction.

The 56-year-old’s wayward habit also saw him place stakes on matches in the lower ranks of Asian football.

Details of the Hamilton Accies boss’s bets can be revealed after a list of games he gambled on was passed to the Sunday Mail.

Bets include trying to predict the outcome of an under-19 women’s match between Iran and Slovenia as well as games in the Israeli
youth league and the Romanian third division.

The head coach faces tough sanctions at a Scottish Football Association (SFA) hearing on Thursday after admitting his crippling problems.

Despite his average stake being £10.13, he faces a £100,000 fine and a 16-month ban.

Colin McGowan, the chief executive of the Scottish Premiership club, said the bets showed Rice could not be accused of profiting from inside knowledge and that he was “powerless” in the face of his addiction.

An investigation began into Rice – who once faced prison in Qatar over £65,000 of betting debts – last October.

Brian Rice’s wayward habit also saw him place stakes on matches in the lower ranks of Asian football

Rice, who first sought help for his gambling problem in 2013, placed thousands of bets in 50 months between July 2015 and October 2019.

The bets were put on in bookies and using online gambling sites.

Bundles of his online betting history detail the huge volume of bets he made. It includes 11-team accumulators featuring a raft of minor teams.

Some stakes were for as little as £2 while the biggest was £60.

Sources close to Rice, who took over at the Lanarkshire club last January, said the scale of the betting means it is difficult to put a figure on how much his relapse has cost.

McGowan said: “Australian teams, Turkish teams, German teams. Even teams in Costa Rica and San Marino. Brian has bet on them all.

“He’s a good football man. He’s a strong, confident man and knows the game well – but not that well.

The footie boss put bets on the Iran U19 women's team

“He’s not gone on a plane to scout the Iranian women’s under-19 team. He’s absolutely no knowledge of these leagues. It’s fair to say he’s bet on just about every team in the world – apart from Accies.

“He’s been powerless in fighting this addiction but is now seeking help.

“Brian’s not been using his football knowledge to make money. Yes, he’s bet on Scottish and English games but equally many were obscure teams that he knows nothing about.

“What drove him to bet on them wasn’t his involvement in football but purely the odds and potential returns.”

Last week, it was revealed the SFA had been shocked at the extent of one of the biggest betting probes in the history of Scottish football.

But addiction specialist Steven Pope said it’s just the tip of iceberg in the game.

He estimates every team in Scotland will have up to five players and staff who are addict gamblers, with the problem worse than the rest of the UK.

Official figures show Scots are more likely than other Britons to gamble and develop addictions.

The psychotherapist has treated a number of high-profile players at the top of the Scottish game.

Some of the games Brian Rice bet on

He said: “I’m treating a player right now who plays in the Scottish Premiership.

“He regularly gets up during the night to bet on obscure matches like in the Argentinian second division.

“By the stage they’re betting in these types of matches, it has gone way past a manageable habit to something that’s out of control.

They’re powerless to stop it. Mr Rice’s betting habits show just how far he’d gone.

“I know for a fact there are a lot of footballers and managers who want to come forward with their problems. But they’re just too scared of what the ramifications will be with the football authorities.”

Rice’s rap sheet with the SFA is considered to be one of the worst ever to have been dealt with by a disciplinary panel.

McGowan has called for an amnesty from football authorities that would allow more to admit they have a problem.

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He plans to take addiction specialists into the Rice hearing at Hampden.

The businessman said: “People who cheat the game should be hunted out of it but this isn’t like that. Brian is fighting an addiction.”

Former Celtic player John Hartson called for those involved in football to be more open in dealing with their problems.

He said: “When I was betting heavily, I’d bet on the most obscure things and football matches imaginable. You can bet on games 24 hours a day.”

Tony Marini, a former gambling addict turned therapist who has treated footballers at Castle Craig Hospital in the Borders, said: “Football is rife with this problem. Mr Rice admitting his addiction is the first step in stopping it. His compulsion to gamble won’t go away on its own.”

The charity Gambling With Lives was set up by the parents of Jack Ritchie, who killed himself in 2017 at the age of 24 after battling a gambling addiction.

Hamilton manager Brian Rice

His dad Charles said: “This is a real sign of addiction. Gambling on football has changed completely from how it was before. You can now bet on games around the clock and do microbetting on things happening in the next few minutes.

“It’s extremely dangerous for problem gamblers.”

In 2013, it was revealed Rice faced jail in Qatar, where he was coaching, over a £65,000 gambling debt.

According to industry regulator the Gambling Commission, UK punters staked around £14.5billion in bets, lottery tickets and bingo in the past year.

A decade ago, that figure was just over £8billion.

The SFA said: “There is a wide variety of support networks open to players with gambling problems, including help from the PFA Scotland.”

If you require help, support or advice about problem gambling, contact the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133 or visit www.gamcare.org.uk.