Charles Barkley said last night he will stop gambling, at least for now, less than a week after acknowledging he owed a $400,000 debt to a Las Vegas Strip casino.
"I like to go into Vegas, it's a fun place, but you know what, I've got to stop gambling. That's the bottom line," the Basketball Hall of Famer said during TNT's pregame show before Game 7 between San Antonio and New Orleans. "I am not going to gamble anymore. For right now, the next year or 2, I'm not going to gamble."
The Wynn Las Vegas resort alleged in a civil complaint filed Wednesday in a Nevada state court that Barkley failed to repay four $100,000 casino markers, or loans, received last Oct. 18 and 19. Clark County District Attorney David Roger said prosecutors would file a criminal complaint if Barkley did not pay the debt.
Barkley thanked fans for being supportive and said the debt has been paid. He reiterated he had no financial woes.
"I have no, no money problems whatsoever. Nobody's coming after me for money," he said.
"I screwed up and didn't pay them in a significant amount of time. Could they have handled it differently? Yes. But it was my fault."
Barkley has talked openly about his gambling, estimating during a May 2006 interview with ESPN that he had gambled away about $10 million over the years. He always defended it by saying he had the money to lose, but said last night it was time for a break.