Aussie Tennis Player Reveals Shocking Online Abuse from Angry Gamblers
Posted on: October 19, 2022, 09:24h.
Last updated on: October 19, 2022, 10:46h.
Australia’s fourth-ranked women’s tennis player, Priscilla Hon, has revealed the horrifying social media abuse she receives from disgruntled gamblers who have lost money betting on her matches.
The 24-year-old from Queensland shared a sample of the vitriol with her Twitter followers on Monday, which included racial abuse, misogyny, and death threats.
“Hello, you ugly skinny whore,” begins one. “I pray your leg gets amputated pretty soon, you useless, pathetic, useless [sic] piece of s**t.”
Another troll wrote he hoped the tennis player’s family died of cancer.
Hon chose to share the messages this week after speaking about the issue with Australian broadcaster SBS, noting it was “sad that humanity goes down to this level just for losing a bet.”
“Obviously at the start when you first receive them … it still doesn’t feel great when you read them … the longer you play, the more messages you get,” she said.
You realize you can’t, you know, let them get to you. Because it’s so many. And it’s all the time it’s every single week you play. But even when you win, sometimes you’ll still get hate because someone would have bet against you and you won the match. So they lost money … you can’t really win either way.”
Critics say the rise of online sports betting globally has led to the dehumanization and commoditization of athletes, while the ease and anonymity of online communication amplifies the hate and abuse they receive.
In 2019, as states began to regulate sports betting in the US, a federal court in Boston sentenced a California man to 18 months in prison for sending death threats to at least 45 professional and collegiate athletes. It was the first time a bettor had been convicted for abusing sports figures.
Addison Choi, 23 at the time of his sentencing, was described in court documents as a “prolific gambler” who won more money than he lost. He used up to 45 different burner Instagram accounts to deliver his violent threats and insults to athletes whose performances he believed had cost him money.
“In the realm of social media, there were no firewalls to protect the famous from being burned by Addison Choi’s vitriol and the keyboard he weaponized. His victims — sports heroes to many — were threatened with death by Choi for failing to perform to his expectations on their chosen fields of play, all while he lurked in anonymity,” prosecutors said at the time.
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