What Are The Ethics When A Friend Owes You Gambling Money?

If you’re a gambler – hell, even if you’d say you’re not – chances are you’ve had a situation come up at some point like PGA Tour pro Daniel Berger had with tour peer Ben Crane this week. 

Berger won $6,000 off Crane in a 45-minute putting contest in Phoenix, according to tweets from former PGA tour pro Tom Gillis. But 2 ½ months went by and Crane still hadn’t paid his debt, so Gillis’s version goes. 

Eventual social media pressure led Crane to pay up and the two players settled their differences. 

Gillis said Crane wanted a chance to even things up with some ping-pong and apparently that wasn’t up for consideration. To me, it brings up an important betting question.

What’s the protocol here from a gambler’s perspective and a gentlemen’s? 

Should Berger have given Crane a chance to win his money back with some pong? 

I took to Twitter to ask my followers and it seems you guys are a bunch of leg-breakers.


The majority of you said the friend should pay up and I agree you should never welsh on a bet. However, when it comes to betting with a friend, things get a little foggier for the Sportsbook. 

If the two of you are good buds, I feel you are obliged to give your pal a shot at winning his money back. But there are conditions. 

I agree with this tweet. It’s double or nothing until the amount gets so high you need to stop the wagering and come up with some kind of a payment plan or the amount is reset to zero if your degenerate pal manages to square things up. 

I also don’t think you have to play just any game your friend comes up with. If he’s the master champion of his basement ping-pong table, then you’re not obligated to gift his money right back to him. It has to be a fair competition, like he obviously felt the first one was.  

Ultimately, you have to weigh how good of a friend this indebted fool is to you. You’re putting a price tag on your friendship here, which makes this such a fun topic of conversation.

If it’s a good friend and we’ve reached an uncomfortable amount of money, I would offer some type of negotiated settlement. I want to ensure a payment and also relieve the inevitable tension that would ensue between two bros. 

For me and let’s say my friend owes me $1,000, maybe I’d offer he take me for a round of golf and a meal at a steakhouse after. The friend feels shame for the loss but also relief he doesn’t have to explain a missing dime to his significant other.  

The friendship remains in good health. 

Maybe my followers have more good friends than I do but I don’t want to lose any of them over a wager. 

To review, here are my ethics when it comes to a good pal owing me money over a bet: 

  • Give him a chance to win his money back at double or nothing, multiple times if he wants, until the amount becomes too uncomfortable. If it’s a good friend, you’ll know what that number is. 
  • You have the right to refuse the competition that your friend suggests on the double-or-nothing wager until you can agree on a fair bet for you both. 
  • If you get to that uncomfortable amount where your friend must pay up, offer a negotiated settlement. You want him to feel the sting of the loss but not the blood-sucking resentment that would come with having to make monthly payments on a line of credit for the next three years. 

Mostly, you have to ask yourself: “What’s more important – the friend or the money?”

I’m not going to judge you for which one you choose. That’s a matter of principle and principles are subjective. Only the two friends know what other factors are at play here too. 

Hit me up on Twitter to let me know what your code is when it comes to this sort of thing.