Gambling Addiction Stories

a gambling addicts story

Gambling addiction stories from around the world. Here at gambling SOS we will be scouring the net for the best and worst gambling addiction stories. A lot of these should act as a warning for others of the dangers of gambling addiction and the impact this can have on individuals as well as the family and friends around them.

If you are showing any signs of addiction then please visit a counseling service or gamblers anonymous meeting near you. We will be providing you with an extensive database of these resources on this website. By all means play but play responsibly. Gambling should be for entertainment purposes only.

Lost nearly £200k in 48 hours

If you only read one of the gambling addiction stories on this page then let it be this one. A very good lesson for everyone here about chasing losses, gambling when drunk and losing all self control. I am sure all of us have been “up” a few hundred or even a few thousand only to go and get greedy and lose it all. How many of us have then gone on to deposit more and more in order to try and get back to that same level of “profit”?

The gentleman in question posted his story on a mental health and psychology forum. I will copy in his original post as well as his other replies within this topic. For the full thread and all other replies you can click the link below.

Lost nearly £200k in 48 hours

Never actually posted a story before, I’ve been on/off gambling for around 5 years though so have always found these forums useful when I’ve been in bad places in the past…. I hope this could potentially help anybody and I think I’ll feel better unloading this off my chest.

So, I’m 23, probably been gambling since I was around 17 and before January 1st 2016 my overall career net-loss was probably around £4k – £5k (Still bad I know). After the usual Big Win – followed by – Big Loss just before Christmas I made a New Years resolution to not place a single bet all year.

Anyway, that didn’t happen…. and as per usual I’m starting to place bets around February, when all of a sudden I struck my biggest Accumulator win and won around £4k off a £50 acca. This is where it all went a bit crazy.

In the space of about 5 months I managed (somehow) to turn that £4k into £70,000! It was a long process and there were a few scary moments where I could have been close to £0 but the more money I made the less those situations arose. I have to explain that by this point I’d quit my job, was focusing on a Music Finance and Marketing course I was studying and planning on using £45k to start a Music Events business. For the first time in a while my whole life was falling into place. I was quite content with the £70,000 and although I’d finished with 3/4 losses in a row (lost around £2,500), I was determined that this money was **mine** now and I didn’t want to throw anymore away chasing losses.

This brings me to Sunday…. I’d been out with a few friends and on the Saturday night, and decided to put about £400 on Murray to beat Novak in the French Open Final. He obviously lost. and what followed was about 5 losses in a row. Suddenly I was £3000 for the day and instead of taking a T/O I went on a binge. What followed was me losing the entire £70,000 in about 5 hours. I had a £30,000 bet on a Mexico v Tunisia Volleyball game (don’t ask), and at one point in their match Mexico had 2 match points and were 1/45 on to win… so when they went on to lose I felt physically sick.

So all my money I’d ‘worked’ towards had completely vanished in about 8 hours of madness, I was in turmoil, total panic and didn’t know what to do…. Actually I did, dip into my savings. My Grandparents did okay for themselves and they left me and siblings about £100k each, although previously I wouldn’t have dared dream of touching it until I was putting a deposit on a house, needing emergency funds or putting kids through University in the future, something in my brain changed; Hey, I could win back most of my winnings with that £100k! Easy right?

So without any sleep I carried on betting into Monday, I actually was at a stage where I recouped about £27k, and was close to calling it a day when I had an urge to put that £27k profit on a final 8/11 bet and be done with £50k (still would’ve felt like I was losing £20k from the original £70k I’d built up but that would be ok). That obviously went on to lose and in desperation I lost the rest of the £100k over about 7 consecutive losses. So from £70,000 profit to £110,000 down in 2 days.

That evening I was partly in shell-shock, I didn’t know what to do and to be honest the whole experience didn’t seem real. I’m living at home at the moment, so my first thought was to take the £500 cash I have stashed away and just pack my stuff and leave, or just take a long drive somewhere; I didn’t.

So I woke up on Tuesday morning and although I was going to wait until my parents got back from work to tell them I couldn’t wait, I came downstairs and absolutely broke down in tears and was a mess for about 30 minutes whilst I explained. Now I’ve had to explain gambling losses to them in the past for £500 or so, and that was usually met with anger; but this time it was different. They were unbelievably supportive and have been the last few days trying to turn me around.

At this point every single morning the reality sinks in even more….. I’m un-employed, I feel like I’ve ruined my life, the plans I had in place to use that money, the guilt/selfishness at the fact I’ve spent SAVINGS to fund this. I’ve had a fairly up and down few years recently and this was supposed to be a fresh start, and now I’m back to square one with absolutely nothing to offer. I just want to rewind time and forget any of this happened but I can’t no matter how hard I try.

Whilst all of this is happening ALL I keep thinking about is ‘IF’ some of those losing bets would have come in (the Mexico game, another tennis game and a cricket match), I’d be in a totally different place. Before any of this happened, I had planned for this week I was going to put deposit limits of £500 per day as well (seriously!), as I was content with my lot.

I’m absolutely terrified of death but honestly the idea of just falling asleep and never waking up sounds wonderful at this point in time. I’m totally lost.

My Dad actually spoke with *name redacted* yesterday and they wanted to chat with me so they can review this with their operations team and see if they can give me some sort of refund; is this even possible?! I’m not holding any hope anyway….

I don’t know what I can achieve from posting this but I guess any advice would help, and if it scares anyone from placing another bet then that’s great. Just remember that throughout my winning period I would regularly check up on these kind of stories to ‘scare’ myself, and it would remind me that if you play with fire eventually you’ll get burned; which happened!

Trying to take things one step at a time but I don’t know how it’s possible to live with the self-loathing, pity, anger, guilt – especially considering the amount lost. I’m not angry with Beway/betting companies, I’m just so frustrated and disappointed with myself, which feels horrible.

Sorry for the long post, any advice would be welcome…


Reply 1

Hey guys, appreciate all the help/comments…. feeling better somewhat this evening, trying not to think of money like you’ve suggested. As a family we’ve just been through my Sister having Cancer recently, so although this money issue will likely be something I’ll take to the grave with me, I have to be grateful and look at life positively. At the end of the day the only person that will be affected by this is me so I can live with that.

Just want to reply to you @gamblingstories:

Unfortunately they suggested today that I close my account: which I have done. so there’s no way of looking back through my account history/previous bets.

The largest bet I placed throughout the final ‘binge’ though of my £100,000 was around £39,500 on a tennis player I’d never even heard of but was 1 break down in the first set and still 1/2 odds on to win: she lost in 2 sets (please don’t ask; it sounds absolutely moronic to think I’d have thought that’s a good idea but at the time I was mentally gone). I also had £34,000 on Sussex to beat Essex and finished off with a few bets on Basketball points over/under. Panic had set over and I just wanted to re-coup losses ASAP so I could forget about it, hoping that a big win would change everything I suppose… I was just in meltdown.

This was about 8 hours or so after i’d lost my entire original £75,000 ‘winnings’ I’d made previously.

I spoke with the bookmaker today and although the operations team seemed desperate to help me in regards to a refund of sorts, apparently senior management dismissed it because I’d made several ‘large’ bets in the last few months that got me to £75k in the first place.

I only realised this evening that my Dad however had an hour long chat with a lady at NatWest (my bank) and went through everything that’s happened. Firstly (and rightly so) she wanted to stop me having access to all my acounts which is absolutely fine, money can come in but it will be me going through my parents to get it. Next question she asked: was this fraud? – No. But she really wanted me to get in touch with a certain division at the company and query how this could be allowed to happen. Wouldn’t the bank have flagged up such large deposits consecutively over such a short period of time and stop transactions? They have a duty of care I suppose.. I don’t really know.

I mean from June-December of last year my largest deposit would have been around £100-200, with the deposits usually being somewhere between £30-75 each time. I think throughout February the bets were definitely going up as I was earning a bit more through work (I was still losing), but after I accumulated the first £4k I just carried on going and upping bets until I got to £75,000. I’m not sure if that helps anything but just thought I’d let you know how quickly things spiralled both up/down.

The absolutely last thing I’d want is being on the News in any way, the embarresment/guilt/shame from all my friends/extended family/colleagues finding out would be horrible. If there was chance to gain some money back however from any avenue I’d obviously like to follow it up (although I don’t want to seem like a cry-baby). I can accept the fact that I made some horrificly awful and rash decisions over a short space of time whilst I was in an absolutely meltdown.

I’ll see what NatWest say, but if ”Bookmaker in question” have refused to do anything I’m not sure what I can do…

I’ve only told a few people so far and everyone has had the ‘shocked’ reaction. I try to tell myself it happens to people but in actuality I can’t imagine many other people losing so much, especially when I’m young and seriously couldn’t afford to :(.

I’m a top top top top idiot, but I’m determined for it to not ruin my life.. I should be grateful I have a roof over my head and food in the fridge.

Reply 2

Really appreciate people’s feedback, definitely helps. Knowing that people have suffered the same way and sharing their stories will only make things easier.

More than anything I just feel angry at the moment… I’d gone almost a week after 2 consecutive losses without placing a bet, and had no desire too. One lapse in concentration, pure greed and stupidity and I’ve wound up here. It shouldn’t be like this, I should be enjoying the fact I’d set myself up. I’m not angry at the bookies, they had to pay out the same way originally as I’ve had too now…. I’m just SO angry and upset with myself, having absolutely no self-discipline when I was effectively one day away from putting up daily deposit limits and potentially closing my account. There was a moment where I was £3k down and thought ”DON’T DO IT, this could be the day that the dreaded happens”, but my greed wanted it back ( from £70,000 to £67,000 – any normal human being would stick ) …. I just want to re-wind time.

Every time I’d finish gambling during the run I’d think ‘play with fire too often and you’ll get burned’. I’ve been in similar situations in the past where I’ve got up 3/4k and eventually blown it one session. I knew this would happen and would tell myself that. I was getting better at accepting losses and not chasing.

I’m going through pretty wild mood swings at the moment, sometimes I’ll think to myself that this is a life lesson I can come back from and be stronger…. Other times I just feel so angry and dissapointed, thinking what really SHOULD have been. I’ve effectively thrown away a chance to really change my life in the long term – knowingly. Now I’m so far behind it’s ridiculous, grinding in an industry that’s almost impossible.

I just don’t even want to think about money, jobs, career right now. The thought of trying to build up my savings again + making a career just kicks even more.

People don’t have to reply to this if they don’t want, just thought I’d share my current feelings, day by day it actually seems to get harder rather than easier :| . I hate sounding like I’m moaning and I’m sure a lot of people will think ‘there’s nothing you can do now just move forward’, but I just don’t see how that’s possible..

Reply 3

Hey guys, been a while since I’ve posted and I’ve seen a few people asking for updates so I thought I’d check in.

Almost 3 months on and I haven’t placed a single bet since that horrendous journey, nor have I had any sort of real temptation to do so…. It’s strange, you have this paradox because on one level I felt sort of cleansed, like I was at the beginning of something new with a warped sense of optimism, feeling like I’d escaped that mental prison that is a gambling addiction, although it was such a huge price to pay. I actually look back at those 48 hours and can’t work out for the life of me how I felt so comfortable placing such large bets, which makes me realise just how powerful and desctructive addiction can be… I was essentially brainwashed in a state of anxiety.

Whilst the desire to gamble has been completely nullified (I’m actually at the point of enjoying watching sport again without thinking about the odds), the optimism has started to wear thin though after realising after a few weeks that nothing in my life had really changed for the better, only my bank balance. It’s affected me in different ways… obviously my self-esteem has taken a bit of a whack. And I absolutely hate thinking about money. I’m doing everything on the cheap at the moment, I’m still un-employed and looking for a new job whilst living at home (and finishing my course I’m studying). So I know I’m very lucky in the sense I have somewhere to live and re-build everything, and my parents kind enough to not want any rent money in return at the moment.

What’s really fustrated me recently though is how bookmakers have the cheek to promote ”responsible gambling”. The bookmaker I was using would frequently lower my max betting limits during winning streaks, but when they see money flooding out of my account they don’t seem to bat an eyelid. I’d been on a 48 hour session with probably less than 45 minutes between each seperate bet I’d placed, which would indicate I probably hadn’t slept and was losing control. They absolutely 100% know the traits of gambling addiction yet their sophisticated measures to enforce ”respsonsible gambling” seem to fall by the way side (They even sent me a message on the Monday morning – in the middle of the session – asking how my weekend been and advertising enhanced odds?!) It’s like someone with a drinking problem walking into a shop s*$tfaced and asking for 2 bottles of Jack Daneils – only for the shop assistant to tempt them into buying 3 and offer a buy-one-get-one-free on a 6x of a Cider too! Of course they wouldn’t, the shop have the authority to not serve them, and they wouldn’t.

Then you have the advertising, this one a particular example:

How on earth is that allowed to be broadcast? I really think this needs adressing. The Government are pretty tough on Cigarrettes and Alcohol, yet seem oblivious to gambling, even though it’s arguably more destructive and offers no positivity to society.

Promise I don’t want to sound bitter, I honestly just wonder how people high up in these companies actually sleep at night. Knowing the only way they will *really* profit on big sums will come at a price of some addict ruining theirs and other peoples lives.

I’ve just finished reading a book about Anthony Kiedis (lead singer from Red Hot Chili Peppers), who has been battling a heroin addiction his entire life. It’s an insane read, and you can see so many parrarells between drug/gambling addiction. He talks about the different steps he now takes to make sure he stays sober this time (almost 8 years now), and one of them was to talk to and help other people in rehab, showing compassion, so I’ll try and post as much as I can on here from now on.

I’ve read every post on here and appreciate everyons sincerity, @Vitriol although your story sounds like an absolute journey, and I know that must’ve taken guts to post. Take comfort in the fact that their are people who can relate to your situation and can learn from it as well (myself included). I’m sure you’ve heard it before but knowing there is a problem is key to recovering.

That was a little long-winded, but hopefully that helps, will stick around on here more in the future.

ps I’m also going to therapy which has been a source of comfort.

A Gambling Addicts Story

gambling addiction stories

“Hi my name is Thomas and I’m an addicted gambler”… “Hi Thomas”.

This is the sort of thing you see on American TV and movies. It is a cliché. From my experience I’ve never been to a GA (Gamblers Anonymous) meeting where anyone has done this introduction. But as an introduction to my own little article it works quite well!

How did I become a gambling addict? When I was a teenager I used to hang around in pubs, snooker halls, bookies, cafe’s, etc. All places where fruit machines would be standing flashing, trying to draw a punter in. It all started innocently enough with  couple of quid here and there whilst hanging out with my mates but after a couple of years I found myself going to these places by myself with the sole purpose of playing the fruit machines. I would find myself waiting for my pay check every month and heading straight out after work for a gamble. This continued for a couple of years without causing any major issues (my bills were always paid) other than not having any spare money for clothes or fun activities. Until one point where I was so deep into the need to gamble that I went a few months without paying my rent and ended up being evicted from my flat.

I had hidden my growing gambling addiction from colleagues and friends outside of my gambling circle but when I found myself homeless I told a close colleague about my troubles who took me in for a few months to allow me to find my feet but only on the understanding I would go to GA meetings.

This was back in the nineties and the world was a very different place back then. At the GA meetings there were almost exclusively male participants. Guys who were addicted to casinos, underground poker games, horse racing and the odd fruit machine addict (We were in the minority).

Going to GA was the best thing I ever did, after a month I had one last big blow out losing about 500 quid over the course of a whole day. I felt physically sick and decided to place a 300 quid bet on a single horse race as one big last ever gamble. My horse actually won, I collected my winnings and vowed never to gamble again. After another month of GA meetings I felt completely clean and did not gamble again for twenty years.

Then one day in about 2013 I decided to have a single flutter on Wimbledon (the tennis). Rather than head into a high street bookmaker I opened up an account with an online bookie and played a number of bets over the course of the tournament. At the end of the tournament I had broken about even but instead of withdrawing my money I noticed the online slots at the casino. I went to try them out of curiosity, wondering how things might have changed over the years, but not really knowing much about what I was doing. And by some unfortunate miracle I managed to make a couple of grand from my initial 100 quid starting point.

Getting a big win is far more dangerous to a beginner than losing because it draws you into the seedy world of thinking you can make money gambling. I soon without realising it found myself hooked on online slot machines. I should have known better but denial is a gamblers best friend. I was addicted.

My financial situation is of course far better than it was as a kid but with that comes the ability to finance a gambling addiction far higher. And online casinos allow you to gamble at much higher stakes than ever before. Where old school fruit machines cost 25 pence per spin, online slot machines can have you playing hundreds of pounds per spin. No wonder the new slot machines are dubbed “high street crack cocaine machines”.

I could easily lose a thousand pounds per day at an online casino. Within a year I had blown away all of my hard earned savings I had made over the last two decades. I had stopped spending any money on anything other than bills and gambling. Online casinos were always there, on my phone, on my work computer, on my laptop at home. There seems no escape from their evil. I have actually had some big wins during my time. I’ve probably won over 50,000 in progressive jackpots but pretty much lost all of that within days of winning it.

I tried everything to try and win, I’ve opened up so many casino accounts for the welcome bonus it is impossible to keep track. I’ve tried the systems and cheats but as a gambling addict it is simply impossible to win. You cannot ever win, make a profit or recover your losses. Yes the professionals really do win but they are so few and far between and do not play like the average Joe. I could win right now,  can deposit a couple of hundred and build it to over a grand by the end of the day but the problem is that at some point along the way, by the end of the day I will have had a rush of blood to the head and blown the lot in minutes. Winning a small amount take a long time but losing a big amount can take minutes. And the more time you spend gambling, the easier it is to blow your balance in no time. It’s just how it goes and I’m sure if you have read this far then you have done the same many times yourselves. It’s just impossible.

One day I found myself struggling to pay my rent. It was at this point I had had enough and found a new GA meeting. I had to stop before I lost everything. A homeless gambling addict approaching 50 would receive far less sympathy than I did as a kid.

Gambling has changed so much over the last decade. At the GA meetings nearly all the members are now addicted to online gambling of sort or other. And there is a far broader cross section of society there. Male and female, all ages and from all walks of life. In the past you generally had to be exposed to gambling by chance or by the influences around you. These days online casinos are advertising everywhere. Half of Premiership football clubs are sponsored by casinos. Most major sporting tournaments are sponsored by casinos. And they are so accessible. You can sneak in and out without anyone ever knowing.

The governments must take a responsibility. Tobacco advertising has been banned and alcohol advertising greatly reduced. All of these have been replaced by a potentially far more dangerous drug in gambling. Gambling costs lives and costs pain and misery all around. It is a silent killer. But so easy and available. Gambling advertising should really be banned, plain and simple. You don’t have a snooker tournament sponsored by Heroin dealers, you don’t have Manchester United sponsored by a crystal meth laboratory. Yet online gambling is just as addictive and potentially dangerous.

So what else can I tell you to put you off?

Well I got phone calls every single day from casinos trying to reel me in. I got flyers in the post, hundreds of emails every day and dozens of text messages every week. The only way to get out was to change my phone number and email address.

I have also been shafted by a number of online casinos. Most of them make it so difficult to verify yourself that by the time you have verified you have lost all the winnings you had won. Coincidentally as soon as my balance would hit zero, 5 minutes later I would receive an email saying my account was now verified. I’ve had casinos refuse to pay me point blank due to vague “terms and conditions breaches” which they would not explain any further.

I’ve had winnings confiscated for various reasons, I’ve had casinos deducting bonus amounts multiple times for the same bonus, I’ve had my account closed while there was money still in it and not been able to get them to respond to my complaints. You name it, I’ve seen it.

I’ve also noticed just how most casino portal websites are only interested in getting you to lose your money through their links. They will lie and cheat and do anything to try and have you use their links to casinos. They have as low morals as the rogue casinos they recommend. The slot cheats and slot strategies on these sites are laughable at best and the casino and slot reviews you find on the internet are anything but honest reviews, these guys will do anything they can to sell you down the river.

The whole gambling industry stinks to high heaven, from the software makers, the casino chains, the affiliate schemes, affiliate website, the casino staff, etc. It is an absolute disgrace that governments allow these operations to continue. While they make a bit of money through taxes, the ultimate cost to the economy of a nation of gamblers is far greater than the income they could ever earn. And that is if the casinos actually pay their taxes honestly which if the way they treat their customers is any indication then I’m pretty sure they cheat on their taxes too. After all, they are generally based in tax havens already!

To make a long story short, please do not gamble. You are only throwing your money away. I appreciate what Steve, Mark and Nick are trying to do with this website and I will continue to occasionally give them some pointers about the dangers from my own experiences but I really cannot stress enough: Don’t ever even start gambling!

I have been clean for six months now and returning to Gamblers Anonymous was the best thing I ever did (again). I quit just before I lost everything and it was not a moment too soon.

A gambling addicts story

A gamblers story

gambling addiction stories

I started gambling when I was a small boy, when I was no older than 8 years old.  I would make wagers with my older brother for chores around the house.  We would place bets on the outcome of sports and video games.  I lost most of the time, which made me want to bet even more.  I soon felt the exhilaration and excitement of the games increase as the size of the bet was increased.  I was hooked very young.

I made my first trip to a casino in Laughlin, Nevada, when I was 18.  I was on my way to Marine Corps boot camp, and my mom and I went to have some fun.  It was exciting to walk into the casino. The first thing I noticed was the sound of the slot machines, then the smell of cigarettes and stale beer hit me and the music of clicking chips as people nervously shuffled them in their hands.  I was in love, I had found a home.

My first bet in a casino was on a nickel slot machine.  That was not enough action or risk for my blood and I headed for the blackjack table.   I think I lost a grand total of $40 my first trip.  The feeling I had in that casino is one that will haunt me for a long time, I had the itch and wanted more.  It was not an obsession not yet.  My life was far from normal. I was a ferocious drinker and in trouble often while in the Marines.  I was discharged from the Marine Corps honorably for a medical condition after serving 2 years as a presidential guard for Presidents Reagan and Bush.  I landed a job making okay money, and the calling of Vegas was stronger than ever; I had to get back.

I made my first trip within 2 months of being discharged from the Marine Corps.  I was soon married, and my wife and I made a trip to Vegas every few months for the first 2 years of our marriage.  The trips to Vegas were not enough to quench my appetite for action; I had to have more.  Soon I was betting on darts, golf, and everything in between. Of course I was making small wagers with my friends, but the excitement was enough to make even a boring game a matter of life and death.   As a salesman on the road, it was not long until I found the card clubs in Los Angeles, and I began playing poker.  I started out in the small games, playing $1-2, 7 card stud.  I was not very successful but never wagered more than $20-$60 at a time.  It was manageable, but it was something I hid from my wife.  Thus began the excitement of a secret life and playing for small amounts held higher stakes than winning or losing.  I had to win or risk being found out.

I began to run into trouble with my drinking and was distracted from playing for a while maybe a year or so.  When I decided to stop drinking and start playing cards, things went from bad to worse.  I would play between  2-4 times a week, depending on my schedule and how much time I could get away from the house.  My wife and I owned a dance studio with her parents.  She would work until 9 or 10 at night.  I would get home from work around 5, and she would be at work.  It was plenty of time for me to make the 45-minute drive to the casino and wager my usual $40 in a small stud game.   The games were crazy for me to play because I had a time limit of a few hours and had to force my hands; if I lost, I risked being found out.  I soon began to chase losses and would borrow money from friends and family to cover my bets.  It was never much money —  a few hundred here, fifty there.   I was good about paying the money back; so not many questions were asked.

My life was beginning to become a lie.  I was playing more and more. Then it happened; I won my first jackpot.  It was not much — close to a thousand dollars but no one knew I had won the money.  Now I could play undetected and move to bigger games.  I lost that thousand in a day.  I chased that thousand with 3 thousand, and I lost.  Now the trouble started because that was my rent money and I had to tell my wife what happened.  As I look back at the time in my gambling career, I see how much time I wasted.  It was not just the time at the tables, it was the time chasing the lies, all the energy I spent remembering what lie I told and to whom.  All the energy wasted on trying to figure out how I could get more cash so I could get back into action.  I can remember the day Magic Johnson announced he had HIV I was sitting at a 4-8 stud game.  I was 23 years old.  Gambling for me was something I had to do, and I had already spent close to $10,000 doing it. I had to find new friends because the people I grew up with were sick and tired of watching me get crushed at the casinos.  The hardest part was the horror of leaving a casino after losing money I did not have.  It was to the point were I was considering suicide.  Of course, all of my troubles were because of a bad marriage. No way was I sick or to blame.  I had never even heard of Gamblers Anonymous.

My marriage ended badly. It ended because she was married to a compulsive gambler who would tell a lie if the truth suited him better.   I moved out to live with a friend.  Of course, the first trip we took was to Vegas.  To finance that trip I sold my car that I did not own.  The bank made a mistake and sent me the pink slip.  I sold it for $950.  I lost a lot of money I did not have that trip and spent a long time paying people back.  I stopped gambling for a long while and consumed myself with a heavy dose of cocaine, beer, pot and ecstasy.  I snapped out of that after 14 months. I was tired of not having money and just dreaming about it.  I was fueled by a desire to be a big shot with lots of money and power.  I found just the job to do it in.  Coming off a long run of drugs, I had enough energy to become successful quickly.  Not only was I clean, I was back and soon found myself married to an intelligent, wonderful woman.  I was promoted several times rapidly and began to make serious money, in the 6 figure range.  Now I could go to Vegas and be the big shot I always wanted to be.  Oddly enough, I did not go that often, maybe 4 times in the first year.  The second year I went 8 times. Then it happened; I crossed the invisible line of compulsion, and it became an obsession. I had to go to Vegas.  I soon was going every chance I had not to mention the high stake poker games I would get into with my friends.  It would not be uncommon to win or lose several thousand dollars in a night.  I was full steam ahead with my compulsion, and so was my career, I was making more money than I ever had and had gotten into to some favorable stock positions.

I had a chance of a lifetime present itself to me.  I left my career of 4 years and went to work for an Internet company.  I received stock options and soon became a day trader, augmenting that action with my gambling.  I was wagering money 12 hours a day.  I forced an idea and created an opportunity to move to Las Vegas and open a wireless Internet company.  My wife, who was pregnant at the time with our child, did not want to go.  The fights were nasty, and I was to blame. I wanted Vegas more than her and more than my unborn child. I had to be in the action.  Finally, I got my way; she agreed to move to Las Vegas.  I had close to 1 million dollars in stocks and cash when I went out ahead of my wife to scout around for a place to live.  One of the first weeks I was in Vegas I was staying at the Hilton and won close to 10,000 playing blackjack. I had started with $300.  I knew I was going to take Vegas apart.  I was living my dream, stayed at different hotels on the strip, living in suites working during the day and gambling all night long.  I would wager between 5 and 15 thousand a week, playing craps, blackjack, and 3-card poker.  It was an incredible feeling to walk into a casino and have people know my name.  I enjoyed the VIP treatment and could not stop.  My wife and I started fighting about my gambling long before she moved to Vegas to join me.  She knew I was in trouble with my gambling but had no way of knowing how much money I was actually losing.  I would lie to her, and she believed me.  Before she moved to Vegas, I swore off gambling forever.

It was not long before I was back at it again, playing as hard as ever and betting more and more.  I checked myself into an out-patient program for compulsive gamblers.  I went 5 days a week 3 hours a day.  That lasted for a month.  I was back placing bets within 1 week of leaving that program.  I would go to a Gamblers Anonymous meeting, then to a casino.  I was spending cash at an incredible rate.By this point my daughter was born, and I was a poppa.  I swore gambling off again and knew I was in trouble.  My obsession to play was stronger than any promise I made to my wife, daughter, or god.  I had to be in action at any cost.  I would send my wife back to California so I could play.  She had control of the bank accounts, the ones she knew about.  I was in action full time and playing in the casinos between 4 and 8 hours a day.  It was costing more than money; I was losing precious time with my new daughter and wife.  I would tell her I was going to the store and stop at the casino and place a few thousand dollars in bets within 30 minutes to an hour.  It finally became a problem so immense that I agreed to leave Las Vegas.  I had squandered my entire fortune at this point except for maybe a hundred thousand dollars.

I took a job in Los Angeles. We sold our house in Vegas and moved in with her father, to save money.  I promised to attend GA meetings and never to gamble again.  I did attend meeting for the first 2 months.  The obsession to play was so great that it consumed me.  I was back at my old company and had the autonomy to be gone all day.  I was good at my job and was able to perform well with only a few hours a day of effort, that left me 8 hours a day.  I started gambling again. Within 3 months I was back playing poker.  This time my level of excitement was raised that I had to play in the big games.  I started playing Texas Holdum and was playing $20-40 up to $40-80 games.   I blew through the rest of my money; I was broke within 18 months. I had spent close to a million dollars in a casino on or in the stock market. All of it was gone.  My home life had deteriorated to the point of a constant fight.  She did not believe a word I said, and was right not to. I could not even believe myself at that point.  I did not want my daughter to be exposed to the ugly fights and I wanted to gamble when I wanted without my wife bothering me.  I left my wife and daughter so I could gamble more.  I spent the rest of everything I owned, I hawked art, my wedding ring, my watch, anything I had of value I either sold or hawked to play.  I had gone into business with a friend and was borrowing money from my company faster than I could pay it back.  I was at my wits’ end.

The final straw came when I got an eviction notice for my apartment.  I knew I was going to die if I kept up at this pace.  The amounts of drugs I had to ingest just to look at myself in the morning were alarming.  I went to GA and surrendered.  I had nothing left; my lease was up at my apartment. I had no way to pay rent I was going to be homeless.  A friend I made in GA took me into his house.  There was 1 condition: I could stay rent free as long as I did not place a bet.  I went to work for my family and was working a program in GA. I made 103 days without placing a bet. I thought I had it licked; little did I know.  I started gambling on what would have been my 104th day of abstinence.  I had done things I never thought I would do to play cards.  I wrote several thousand dollars in bad checks, I stole money from my family, my company, and my friends to play.  I went on a 1-week bender that cost me over $10,000 I did not have.  I lost my place to stay and was suicidal.  My friends and family had enough.  I did not know what I was going to do.  I checked myself into a rehab.  I started working a program in the 12 steps of recovery.  I was crazy.  I met Robert Miller while I was in recovery.  The result of the FSAP is astonishing.  I have no desire to gamble whatsoever.  It has been lifted completely.  I attend GA meeting regularly.  The distinction for me is the fact that I do not have the compulsive desire to gamble.  The thought to gamble has traveled through my mind without being a thought that I have to act on.  I am able to let it pass through, where before I would have to act on that thought or call someone in the program to help me through that situation.  My thoughts of gambling do not have the energy they had prior to utilizing the FSAP.

A compulsive gamblers story

horse racing

A courageous journey of insight and self discovery – Graham’s story

I am 46 years old and I’m a compulsive gambler. I first started gambling at the age of 17, not long after I started working. I used to bet on the horses at the TAB, and I remember that I had a few good wins in the early days. This allowed me to escape from my mundane job and an unhappy life. At 19 I was goaled for 9 months for committing false pretences. I changed the balances in a couple of my bank books and drew out money that wasn’t in there, I also stole on one occasion from a youth group, these offences happened after I had gambled and lost my money…

In the late 1980’s I discovered poker machines and my losses became more frequent and more damaging financially. I was desperately unhappy but when sitting in front of a poker machine nothing else mattered.

I stole from friends or borrowed money with concocted stories to hide my gambling losses, I had become a pretty despicable person. Over the years I knew my gambling was out of control, but I didn’t want to stop.

In the 1990’s I met up with an old friend, he gave me somewhere to live and I have lived with him ever since. I have lied and stolen from him in order to keep gambling, every time he has accepted me back and tried to help me with my gambling. I am sure if it wasn’t for him I would not be alive today.

In 2002 after a very heavy gambling session where I lost $7,000 in two days at the casino, I finally realized I had hit rock bottom. I started attending GA. I found a fellowship where I wasn’t judged and realized I wasn’t the only gambler.

I started seeing a gambling counsellor about 18 months ago and this has helped me immensely.

My counsellor has given me great help, encouragement and some real insight into my gambling behaviour as well as some practical tips and strategies for dealing with the urge when it strikes. I still have busts from time to time but thankfully they are becoming less frequent and less damaging financially. There has been no quick fix for me but the counselling has taught me strategies to limit the damage when it occurs.

I now like to think of myself as a recovering gambler, no longer compulsive but not yet cured, but a hell of a lot happier. Every time I get the urge to gamble now I try to live the Serenity Prayer.


Recovering gambling addicts story

gambling addiction recovery

When Linda Mannerberg attended the Women’s Money Conference in Las Vegas Nevada in 2012, she was struggling with debt and a gambling addiction she hid from those closest to her. She attended the conference again this year in April 2013, but this time she was in a completely different place. She received a standing ovation for turning her financial life around in just a year.

Like many of the other women at the conference who applauded her success, I was deeply touched by Linda’s story and asked her if I could share it with our readers. She agreed, but said she didn’t think it was a big deal. I told her I disagreed. Here is her story:

When I came to the conference last year, I was in a lot of debt. I had credit card debt, a car loan and payday loans. I would get paid and pay the interest on the payday loans, but I wouldn’t have enough to pay off the loans.

I also had a gambling addiction — I would get up in the middle of the night to go gambling.

My boyfriend and I have lived in Las Vegas about nine years now. When we first moved here, a new casino held a slot tournament. It didn’t cost anything to join, so a friend and I decided to go. I ended up in the finals and won $5,000. That’s when my gambling problem started. I thought that if I won that, then I can win again.

Of course I never did.

In fact, this year when we went to the casinos to get our gambling loss statements, I was shocked. It showed that I lost $35,000 with all the casinos. I used to play penny slot machines so I kept thinking, “I am only playing 40 cents at a time.” But it adds up.

Keeping Secrets

No one knew about my financial problems. I hid them from my parents and my boyfriend. We’ve been together 22 years, and he didn’t have a clue. I kept everything to myself. We have our own checking and savings accounts, so he didn’t know what was going on.

So I listened carefully at the conference, and took lots of notes. I knew I needed to change because if I didn’t, it was going to get worse. I sat down with my boyfriend and told him everything. I thought for sure he would throw me out on the street, but he was really nice about it.

He said he would help me, but I needed to follow what he said. He took over my money. I cashed my check and gave it to him. He paid off the payday loans and took over my payments on the other loans and gave me just enough money to put gas in the car or whatever.

Finally, after six months, we decided I could open a savings account — but he told me he wanted to see how I could handle it. I think he was making me prove to myself that I could have that money there without spending it.

Getting Help

After the conference, I also talked to a friend at work about my problem. She told me I would be surprised at how many people are gamblers, and that I should talk with one of my co-workers who, I was surprised to learn, also had a gambling problem. She took me to Gamblers Anonymous meetings.

Now, I don’t want to be in casinos anymore. If I get a gambling urge I call a friend, or I stay home and don’t get dressed.

Last year when all this happened, I owed about $12,000. Since then, I have been able to pay my boyfriend back all that money he spent paying off my debts. I only have student loans and my car loan now.

After the first Women’s Money Conference, I ordered my free Credit Report Card from to see my credit score, and so did my boyfriend. Once a month we look at it to see if my credit scores are getting better.

Recently I needed a new car, so I applied online to see what I could get. When I learned I qualified for a car loan at 2.9 percent, I started crying. My last car loan had a 9 percent rate. We ended up buying my car from a dealer in Utah, 404 miles away, because it saved me $3,000. Now I research things carefully.

Recently, I opened my own checking account. My goals now are to double up on my payments on my student loans and car. My boyfriend is going to get ready to retire and I want to be able to retire, too. Being ready for retirement is my goal now.


How addiction ruined stars career

michael johnson addiction

My mental health torment: Former City starlet Michael Johnson reveals Priory treatment and asks for privacy

Johnson, who was once tipped to become the future England captain, pleaded to be “left alone to live the rest of my life”

Former England footballer Michael Johnson has been in The Priory with mental health issues, he revealed today.

The player, 24, was plagued with injuries and was twice convicted for drink-driving in just three months last year and banned from the road for three years.

He has now been released by Manchester City and admitted having treatment “for a number of years” at the famous Priory clinic, which specialises in mental illness, alcoholism and gambling addiction.

Johnson, who was once tipped to become the future England captain, also pleaded to be “left alone to live the rest of my life”.

He burst onto the scene as a teenager and signed a five year contract worth £6.5million in 2008.

But he played just four Premier League games after that, costing City around £1.65million an appearance.

Champions City have paid up his £25,000 a week contract, which was due to expire in the summer.

Today devastated Johnson said: “I am more disappointed than anyone but that’s the way it goes.”

The midfielder added: “I have been attending the Priory Clinic for a number of years now with regard to my mental health.

“I would be grateful if I could now be left alone to live the rest of my life.”

He has not played for the team since appearing as a second-half substitute in a Carling Cup tie against Scunthorpe in October 2009.

Earlier this week Johnson had been pictured on Twitter looking overweight and dishevelled.

He seemed to be a long way from the fit young man who made his debut in 2006 aged 18.

A Manchester City source said: “It is all very sad.”

Johnson played in the 2006 FA Youth Cup final alongside future England stars Micah Richards and Daniel Sturridge.

He made his first team debut at the start of the following season and earned England Under-21 honours.

The player was compared to some of the nation’s brightest prospects and Liverpool FC were rumoured to be preparing a £10million bid for the star.

But in the 2007-08 season he was out for three months with an abdominal problem which led to a double hernia operation.

The following season he was again hit by stomach problems which were followed by a serious knee injury.

He now faces an uncertain future in the sport.

Video Lottery Terminal Addiction

video lottery terminal

Video Lottery Terminal will be abbreviated to VLT within this article.

My name is Jack. I’m a 38-year-old married man living happily with my wife and two kids, age 11 and 13. Other than the occasional lottery ticket and 50/50 draw, I never had the slightest interest in gambling until about a year ago. In fact, had you asked me then, I would have told you that gambling was a complete waste of time and money.

So how did I get into such a mess? It all started innocently enough. A year ago, my daughter was heavily involved in competitive swimming, and I was taking her to lots of workouts and competitions. The competitions were fun to watch, but the workouts were tedious – lots of sitting around. One Saturday I got thinking about a Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) location not far from the pool. A co-worker of mine had mentioned that he had just won $1000 from a VLT. At that time, money was a little tight at home, and while winning $1000 would have helped us out a lot with our expenses, I knew that it wouldn’t change our world.

So, I went to the hotel and took a look around. The number of people there surprised me – I actually had to wait for a free VLT. I had no idea how to operate the machine, so I sat down and played with a few buttons. The person at the next machine helped me. I told him that I liked card games, and he leaned over, punched a few buttons and a video poker game came up on the screen.

I popped in $20 and started playing a quarter at a time, but nothing much happened – I won a few bets and lost a lot more. The guy beside said he couldn’t help but notice I was only playing a quarter at a time. He said that it’s impossible to win the big prizes if you bet that small, adding that since it was early in the day, the machine likely needed a “warm up” to get it paying. I found this quite funny at the time, but after he left I bumped up my bet to $1.25 and gave it a whirl. Wouldn’t you know it – the machine started handing me money until I was up to about $400. Just then, my cell phone rang – it was my daughter saying she was finished at the pool. I mumbled something about running into a friend at the mall and said I’d be right over.

During the drive to pick her up, I had a few thoughts and feelings swirling around in my head. The first was a smug feeling – I had $400 in bills bulging in my wallet. The second was guilt about the first little white lie I had told my daughter. Third was the thought that I should keep the whole thing from my wife, partly because she was even more opposed to gambling than I was.

I stayed away from the VLTs for a few weeks – mostly because I was feeling a little embarrassed about how easy it had been to lie to my daughter and to keep the whole thing from my wife. One day, though, my friends and I went to a lounge after a hockey game, and we each threw in $5 to play a VLT. The money went in a flash, and we all left the lounge. I made a quick circuit around the block, went back into the lounge and found the same machine we had all been playing. I was thinking the machine was probably due to pay now, partly because of the haphazard way my buddies had been playing earlier. Not 20 minutes later, I cashed out $600! That money helped me pay off a nasty Visa bill, and again I laid low on the machines. It felt like I had stumbled upon a little secret, but was unsure of what really to make of it.

Understand that I’m just a normal guy, and I didn’t become a gambling addict right then. Little by little, I started to play more – sometimes after work, other times when I was waiting for my daughter’s practices to finish. The fact was that gambling was ridiculously easy to hide – I actually jumped at the chance to chauffeur the kids anywhere because it gave me a good chance to play.

I think I crossed the line when I was at my brother’s place one day. I was half listening to my sister-in-law’s chatter when I felt a strong urge to play. I made an excuse about needing to get home to help my son with his homework. I remember the feeling of relief when I sat down, anticipating a nice payday. After all, I had witnessed enough “bad” play from VLT players to know how to get any machine to pay. This night, though, the gambling gods left me on my own, and all my previous “knowledge” seemed to be no good. Five ATM visits and almost $1200 later, I left. Five hours had gone by.

Unfortunately, my wife had called my brother’s place, only to discover that I had left hours ago. I told her the first truly gigantic whopper lie of my life – that I’d left to attend a going-away lunch for a co-worker. My wife believed the whole story, and I knew it was very unlikely that she would check it out.

I do the banking in the family, so the $1200 was something only I would be aware of. To say I was disgusted with what I’d done was an understatement, and I swore I’d never let it happen again. The only problem was getting back the $1200. I stayed away from VLTs completely for two weeks, giving myself time to cool off and figure out how to make a quick hit on the machines. I would then put the whole thing behind me. I had made some bad decisions on the machine that night and thought I would be a lot smarter next time.

I planned my next gambling “affair” with military precision. I took only cash with me, and I had a believable excuse for a five to six hour departure from home. I was determined to study the machines so I could decide the right time and the right machine to use to recover the loss. I had also decided in advance how much I could lose and was determined not to get too greedy: if I got up $500, I’d get out. You can probably predict the result. I actually did get up $600, then I switched machines and decided to go for it all. Needless to say, the luck left me and the $600 was lost, along with another $1000. I actually snuck home while everyone was sleeping, grabbed my debit card and went back to get a cash advance. I lost it all.

You can see the nasty situation I’m in now – down almost $10,000, and my wife thinks everything’s fine. The rest of the story is the same old thing over and over again – I promise myself that I won’t gamble, then I break the promise again and again. The only problem is that now my wife is talking about a trip. I’m avoiding the discussion because there is no money.

I could, of course, confess the whole thing and probably risk losing my wife and family. Or perhaps I could go to one of those meetings where you drink coffee and talk. I’ve never been one to complain about my problems, especially when I’m the one who created this mess. I am not a bad person; I don’t know how things have gone so wrong.


“For many individuals, problem gambling develops quickly. The experience of early wins often changes the person’s view of gambling from being a source of entertainment to a means of winning money. Through recognition of the problem, along with a willingness to seek help, the problem gambler’s situation can be alleviated.”

Original source

Video Lottery Terminal Definition:

A video lottery terminal or VLT is a gaming machine that allows gamblers to bet on the outcome of a video game. A VLT is similar to a slot machine, in that each terminal is a stand-alone device containing a random-number generator.

John Daly $90m gambling losses

john daly las vegas

John Daly Relied On Tax Records To Figure $90 Million Gambling Losses

You don’t think tax returns are handy?

Tell that to John Daly. Daly recently revealed that he ran the numbers and determined that his actual gambling losses were $90 million compared to $35 million in gambling wins. The numbers are so staggering that it shocked even him: he had only estimated the figures in prior conversation before deciding to review his tax records.

Daly’s net gambling losses over the period 1991-2007 totaled about $55 million. The famous golfer thought it was about half that, saying:

“We went through all my tax records to find out, because I really didn’t know, and it just came to that. I was shocked. I thought it might have been $20-25 (million), but I had no idea that it was $55-57 million. It’s crazy.”

Daly burst onto the scene in a big way in 1991 when the then relatively unknown 25 year old golfer managed a “zero to hero” win at the 1991 PGA Championship. He wasn’t even supposed to be at the tournament: he was the ninth alternate in the tournament, replacing Nick Price whose wife was having a baby.

As a college golfer, Daly had never won a tournament. As a kid, he taught himself to play, using golf balls he fished out of a pond in his native Dardanelle, Arkansas. And yet, he dominated the course, startling his competition – and perhaps himself.

His paycheck for that performance was $230,000 – nearly 40% more than he earned in total the year before. He didn’t keep his good fortune to himself, donating $30,000 of his winnings to the surviving children of a tourney spectator who had been struck by lightning and killed.

Daly’s generosity was perhaps only matched by his appetite for obsessive behaviors – like gambling and drinking – that would add to Daly’s colorful legacy. His drinking interfered with his play and his endorsements over the next several years. In 1995, he won the British Open, keeping him on the golf leaderboards. He became the only American golfer to win two major golf championships and numerous PGA championships but never participate in the invitation only Ryder Cup, prompting Daly to remark to a Canadian radio station, “I feel like I’m the Babe Ruth of golf… He always wanted to be a manager and he never got that chance. But it’s not something that breaks my heart or anything. As long as we hopefully win, that’s all that matters.”

Daly might have liked winning on the course but off the course, he just wanted the rush, win or lose. He said about gambling, “It was more about the adrenaline than the money … I loved the action.”

Sometimes, he lost more than a million dollars at a time. In 2006, he admitted that after losing a playoff to Tiger Woods, he drove to Las Vegas and gambled away $1.65 million in five hours. Over a nearly 15 year period, he threw away $90 million in losses on just $10,116,306 million in PGA tour winnings (and $35 million in gambling winnings).

Daly recognized, however, that those losses weren’t completely useless: he says that he kept detailed records of all of his big gambling sprees. That came in useful on those tax returns: while gambling winnings are fully taxable, you can also claim your losses.

Winnings are reported on your federal form 1040 as “Other Income” on line 21, including winnings that are not subject to withholding. Federal income tax generally is withheld at a flat 25% rate on gambling winnings of more than $5,000 from any sweepstakes, betting pool (including payments made to winners of poker tournaments) or lottery, or if the proceeds are at least 300 times the amount of the bet. However, gambling winnings from bingo, keno, and slot machines generally are not subject to income tax withholding: slot machines were one of Daly’s favorite targets. He admitted playing the $5,000 slots at the Wynn Casinos in Vegas quite often but says, “Now if I gamble, I play the $25 slots. If I hit something, I might move up to $100. But I don’t do what I used to do anymore.”

If you aren’t subject to withholding, you may need to pay estimated tax. If you don’t pay enough in taxes on your winnings through a combination of withholding or estimated tax, you may be subject to a penalty. That likely wasn’t an issue for Daly, who lost more than he won.

You may deduct gambling losses only if you itemize deductions on a schedule A. You claim gambling losses as “Other Miscellaneous Deductions” on line 28: they are not subject to the 2% limit. Unfortunately for Daly, you can’t report more in losses than you claim in winnings. You can’t use the net loss to offset other income or carry the loss forward or backwards to offset winnings in other years.

These are the rules for casual gamblers. You might think that Daly would qualify as a not-so-casual gambler but the burden to prove that you’re a professional gambler for tax purposes is pretty steep. Daly’s activities are less likely “pursued full time, in good faith, and with regularity, to the production of income for a livelihood” as outlined in Commissioner v. Groetzinger, 480 U.S. 23 (1987), and more believably, as a hobby. Just ask Daly. Despite tens of millions of dollars in gambling losses, Daly doesn’t seem to regret his behavior, saying, “I had a lot of fun doing it.”

Gambling addiction in sport: John Hartson on how betting nearly cost his life

Listen again to the full John Hartson interview in a BBC Radio 5 live Special on Gambling Addiction in Sport with Eleanor Oldroyd.

A fearless and robust striker, John Hartson’s forthright response to being diagnosed with cancer came as little surprise to anybody who knew him well.

But there was one challenge “Big John” repeatedly shirked, his life-threatening addiction to gambling.

“You never think you’ve got a problem,” he explained. “You’re a gambler, you enjoy it, you never realise the hurt you’re causing.

“Your family know you’re addicted, but I used to think they had the problem by questioning me.”

Then the questions stopped. Hartson’s wife Sarah had had enough of him coming in from trips away, ignoring her and the children, going straight to the TV and turning on a cricket match, golf tournament or horse race he had £5,000 on.

So she packed her bags and told him she was leaving.

“I broke down and said I’d do something about this,” the former Arsenal, West Ham and Celtic star remembered, his voice buckling with emotion and regret.

“When I was fighting for my life [with cancer], she was my rock. She was pregnant, she looked after the children, she was incredibly strong, and this scumbag here came out of hospital and carried on with the gambling, after everything she had done.

“I hit rock bottom and it takes that for you to realise – the penny dropped. I will never gamble again as long as I live.”

john hartson gambling addict

Hartson scored 206 goals in 505 club games in England and Scotland, and 14 in 51 games for Wales

‘If I gamble again, I’ll die’

Hartson’s last bet was three years, three months and three days ago.

“Everybody is aware that cancer kills. It nearly took my life in 2009,” the 39-year-old said, recalling the two emergency operations and more than 60 sessions of chemotherapy he needed when testicular cancer spread to his lungs and brain.

john hartson
 Sportsmen more likely to be gamblers

“Cancer takes good people away every day, but, for me, gambling also kills.

“There are four places you can end up as a compulsive gambler: out on the street, in jail, dead, or at Gamblers Anonymous (GA).

“I ended up at GA, thank the Lord, and it’s not only saved my marriage and made me a better person, it’s also saved my life. If I gamble again, I’ll die. I’ll lose everything.

“I’m ultra-determined. I don’t think about gambling today. I don’t buy raffle tickets, I don’t buy lottery tickets, I don’t go to race tracks – I go to GA twice a week.

“I’ll be going until I’m 70. Why wouldn’t I? It’s my medicine.”

Sportsmen are three times more likely to gamble

Hartson sees a lot of different people walk through the doors of those meetings – there are an estimated 400,000 people in the UK with a problem – but most of them do not come back. They have not reached their nadir yet.

“You’re very selfish as a gambler, very deceitful. Compulsive gamblers are compulsive liars – they’re very good at covering things up,” said Hartson.

So good, in fact, many can appear, swan-like, to be gliding through life, holding down jobs, living in nice houses, with loving families. And a disproportionately large group can feed this destructive addiction whilst playing professional sport.

chopra gambling debt

Former Cardiff and Sunderland striker Michael Chopra estimates he lost a total of £2m gambling

Hartson’s testimony came at a conference organised by the Professional Players Federation (PPF)  at Edgbaston Cricket Ground last month.

An umbrella body for the players’ associations in cricket, football, rugby union and other leading sports, the PPF wanted to share some research into an issue that has been the stuff of terrace legend.

From jokes about QPR maverick Stan Bowles’  inability to pass a bookmaker as well as he could pass a ball, to guesstimates of how many millions golf’s favourite rogue John Daly has lost in Las Vegas,  the idea that sport’s competitive and wealthy young men were cash machines for the gambling industry has been commonplace.

Now, thanks to a study of almost 350 cricketers and footballers, we know sportsmen are three times more likely to have a gambling problem than young men in the general population (6.1% versus 1.9%).

That equates to nearly 200 current professionals in British cricket and football with a serious issue, and another 440 “at risk”.

The study had a few more punches to deliver. One in 10 said they gambled to “fit in”, one in four said they were encouraged by team-mates to do it, and nearly one in three thought their team’s links with the gambling industry “encouraged” them to bet.

 keith gillespie gambling

Ex-Man Utd winger Keith Gillespie – “I lost £47,000 in a single afternoon”

For football, in particular, that should be alarming.

A quarter of the Premier League’s clubs have gambling logos on their shirts, the Football League’s 72 clubs play in competitions sponsored by Sky Bet, William Hill backs the Football Association and pretty much every club has its own “official betting partner”.

The highest suicide rate of any addiction

Sporting Chance’s chief executive Colin Bland revealed that seven out of 10 of the footballers that come to the Tony Adams-inspired residential clinic  are there because of gambling.

But Hartson is not looking for excuses. He realises the vast majority of people gamble rarely, and when they do, they do it because it is fun.

While he may have been frittering away a reported £50,000 a week – he does not put a figure on it himself, as the amounts addicts gamble is relative to their earnings and it is always too much – his dad takes his business clients to Ffos Las racecourse once a year for champagne and £20 each-way punts. “Not everybody gets drawn in,” he noted.

But some who do get it bad: gambling has the highest suicide rate of any addiction.

rugby gambling addict

Niall McNamee (in green, playing for Offaly) contemplated suicide when his gambling got out of hand

Sitting alongside Hartson during the conference’s main session was Gaelic footballer Niall McNamee. He told a similar tale of the disease’s progressive nature – moments of relief that became more fleeting as tolerance to betting’s buzz builds.

But he also spoke about bad company, lies, stealing and, ultimately, despair.

“I remember waking up one morning with a knot in my stomach,” said McNamee. “It was the most gut-wrenching pain. I had no money to go gambling with, or to buy drink to numb the pain.

“The thought came to me that if I jumped out of the window that would end it all. It terrified me. I have had friends who have died from this addiction.”

Thankfully, this was his rock bottom, and he got help. McNamee, who is still one of the game’s top forwards, is now a well-respected voice on problem gambling in Ireland, and at 29 is about to launch his own business.

‘I should be living in a £4m mansion’

For Hartson, the first symptoms appeared as an 11-year-old potboy at a social club in Swansea. Fascinated by the fruit machines, he memorised the reels and was called over by the adults whenever they had a few nudges.

It sounds innocent enough, but before long he was pouring his money into those machines and begging for money for match fees at the weekend. A decade later he would have accounts with all the top bookmakers and was so consumed by gambling that he would struggle to hold a serious conversation.

hartson gambling

Hartson is still a hero among fans of Celtic, where he scored more than 100 goals in a five-year spell

“I can concentrate now and focus on what people are saying, but five years ago I couldn’t,” he admitted. “My life is so much better now. I’m a better husband, a better father, and I’ve got money coming out of my ears!”

And just as his cancer foundation is helping people deal with that affliction, he now hopes he can persuade a few footballers to think about their futures.

“I was in a lot of trouble physically and mentally when I quit,” said Hartson, who went out with a whimper at West Brom.

“I should be living in a £4m mansion on the edge of the Vale of Glamorgan but I’m not because of all the money I wasted. I’ve got a nice house in Swansea, and it’s paid for, but that’s what I should have when you think about the money I earned.

“I would like players now to aspire to the big house.”

‘We’re at a tipping point’

Betting is an integral part of our culture – three quarters of the UK’s adult population have gambled, most likely on the National Lottery, in the past year – and betting companies have moved into the sponsorship space vacated by tobacco and, to a lesser extent, alcohol. Without them many sports would struggle.

But listening to the speakers at the conference, it was impossible to avoid the conclusion that British sport needs to look again at its relationship with gambling.

cricket gambling

Former Gloucestershire and New Zealand cricketer Craig Spearman said that when his gambling problem escalated, “at times the pain and self-loathing pushed me to the brink”.

More must be done to protect the vulnerable, identify problems earlier and make sure gambling is a happy mug’s game, not a debilitating illness.

Simon Barker, the assistant chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, notes that prevention through education is cheaper than emergency interventions. His counterpart at the Professional Cricketers’ Association, Jason Ratcliffe, said sport was only “scratching the surface” in terms of what was needed.

The Responsible Gambling Trust’s  chief executive Marc Etches has managed to persuade the gambling industry to donate more than £6m of its profits to fund education and treatment, but he knows it is not enough.

“We’re at a tipping point,” said Etches. “The industry needs to recognise that it’s in the business of risk, and it needs to take more responsibility.”

FA crackdown on players betting on football

Since the start of the 2014-15 season, the FA’s new betting rules forbid players, managers, club employees and match officials to place any bet on any football matter.
This includes not just domestic matches and competitions in England but any football worldwide. This does not just apply to the results of games, competitions or events that take place in them, it also covers other football events such as manager appointments and player transfers.
These rules apply to bets made in person, online, on the telephone or with friends. Participants are also not allowed to instruct any third party to place any bet on their behalf.

Originally published here, we thought this was such an interesting article that we’d post it on our site for you all.

Compulsive Gambler Shares His Recovery Story

casino addiction

Compulsive Gambler Shares His Recovery Story About Gamblers Anonymous Now That He Stopped

A compulsive gambler who participated in Gamblers Anonymous program shared his recovery in hopes to help others affected by this addiction. Sean was an above average student in high school. He played sports, volunteered at the local soup kitchen on holidays and had a high school sweetheart that he married soon after graduating. He went onto college and received his degree. Five years after graduating college he already had two kids and a beautiful home. He was living the American dream. Everything was going perfect in life. Then one day the local news broad cast the grand opening of a gambling establishment. The news reporter hailed it as a big boost for the local economy. Little did Sean know that this new place was going to cost him his life savings and more.

The local excitement generated by the opening stimulated the public’s curiosity. Most people have never really been exposed to gambling and the affects it can have on you. The local news stated that there were going to be just as many stars at the opening as there were at the Academy Awards. Everyone wanted to go and check it out. Besides gambling they have various types of entertainment, unique shopping, first class accommodations and top quality food. Sean called his friends to go and everyone said yes. Sean had the time of his life. He was one of the lucky ones he won $500.00 and everyone else either broke even or lost their money. They all agreed they had a fantastic night and could not wait to do it again. They all decided that they should go every Friday night. It was time for them to get out of the house and take a break from the kids. Everyone found a babysitter and off they went.

For the next six months Sean, his wife and friends spent Friday nights dancing, eating and gambling. Everyone thought this was the life. They all had good jobs and no financial problems. Sean was on a hot streak. His first game of choice was poker. His wife really did not like to gamble but she like the shops and entertainment. While Sean gambled his wife went to the shows and shopped till she dropped. She thought everything was fine. Sean would hand her $200.00 he said he just won and told her to treat herself to something special at the stores. Little did everyone know that Sean’s $500.00 gambling limit was up to $1,500.00 a week. His friends also did not realize that he was losing. He would run to the cash machine at the end of the night and made people to believe he either won or broke even. He was always an honest guy, there was no reason anyone would suspect that he was lying.

A year had passed and Sean had lost over $15,000.00. The wife had no idea, but Sean was beginning to have doubts about the gambling establishment, but could not stop. He remembers one day he called in sick from work and decided to spend the day gambling. He was sure he could win back all the money he lost. He took $5000.00 out of the bank and lost it all that same day. He was upset with no where to turn.

Another year past and he lost even more money. All of sudden his world was crumbling with no where to turn. He thought about committing suicide by making it look like an accident so his life insurance would take care of his family. He was in so much pain and no one knew. He wanted this madness to stop. He knew his wife knew nothing about his addiction, but knew she was going to find out shortly since he maxed out the credit cards and gambled his mortgage payment.

Sean’s job began to suffer because he was always preoccupied with placing his next bet. He began to isolate himself. He stopped going to lunch with his co-workers. No one questioned why or I should say no one took the time to find out why.

His wife was called by their mortgage company telling her that they did not get their March payment. She called Sean at work and he old her the check must have gotten lost in the mail. He began to panic, became very resourceful and found a way to cover the mortgage. Another two months went by and he finally had to tell his wife. She was stunned in disbelief. She basically told him to get help or get out.

Sean had already known about Gamblers Anonymous but was afraid to go and was scared people would find out. He finally decided to call Gamblers Anonymous and check it out.

Sean found out that Gamblers Anonymous has helped thousands of individuals beat their compulsive gambling addiction. He was smart individual. He realized the expectations that are placed on Gamblers Anonymous are excessive due to the volume of gamblers seeking help with a very unique program. He attended his first meeting and realized he was not alone and help was available if he wanted it.

Gamblers Anonymous has a twelve step program geared towards helping individuals with their gambling addiction.

The twelve steps are as follows:

1. We admitted we were powerless over gambling – that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to a normal way of thinking and living.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of this Power of our own understanding.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral and financial inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have these defects of character removed.

7. Humbly asked God (of our understanding) to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having made an effort to practice these principles in all our affairs, we tried to carry this message to other compulsive gamblers.

Understanding the Gamblers Anonymous program allowed Sean to decide if this was the right program for him. He was able to relate to all the people at the meeting but felt his situation was different. He saw the pros and cons of this program.

For three months he attended Gamblers Anonymous, his life began to get better until he slipped up and placed a few bets. He was so ashamed that he gambled he didn’t know what to do. He missed the next meeting but decided to go again the following week. He told the group what had happened and they unfortunately change his date that he placed his last bet. This totally discouraged him and reduced his self esteem to the lowest in his life. He still continued to go but his heart was no longer into Gamblers Anonymous. He felt degraded. His sponsor there tried to help him work through it. The next meeting he attended a person walked into the room that he recognized. He began to panic and asked to talk to the chair person. The chair person tried to calm him down, by telling him that everything that happens in this room stays in this room. The person you know is here to get help too.

What Sean didn’t know was this person he recognized had already been in the program for two years and successfully stopped gambling. This person was open about her addiction.

The next week Sean’s wife received a call from one of her friends asking her if Sean had a gambling addiction. She told her friend yes he does and he is getting help. Her friend told her there was a rumor going around about Sean.

Sean’s wife was very upset and called her husband at work. It was unfortunate that the person Sean recognized told only one person her husband. The husband meant no harm but he told a buddy of his.Gamblers Anonymous is a wonderful program but it is not anonymous and to expect people to keep silent is highly unlikely. Sean stayed with Gamblers Anonymous another two months and then decided it was time to get help elsewhere.

Sean found a unique website that had a private chat room which was available seven days a weeks. He found another source to help him move forward. He was grateful to Gamblers Anonymous for getting his life back in order but knew he needed another way. He found a site called I Stopped Gambling So Can Too He checked it out and found this was right for him. The owner of the site believes that Gamblers Anonymous is a wonderful program, but is not for everyone. This was the reason he created the website I stopped Gambling So Can You. He believes the private chat room is perfect for people who would like to keep their gambling addiction private. He also believes that compulsive gamblers should have alternative distinct programs available. The owner of the site also attended Gamblers Anonymous meetings and noticed that a large percentage did not stay. There were no tracking statistics on what happens to compulsive gamblers after they leave. In a three week period he noted a total of four people came and went. When you multiply this by the number of Gamblers Anonymous meetings through out the world you realize that alternative programs are needed.

Sean remembers waking up in the middle of the night, convincing himself that he should gamble just one more time. He told himself no. He then signed in to the I Stop Gambling Chat Room. Only one person was there, but that’s all he needed. They chatted for about an hour and Sean went back to sleep feeling content.

Sean checks in an out of the chat room on a weekly basis. As time passed by, he also went back to a few Gamblers Anonymous meetings to share his thoughts. He believed he found the best of both worlds.

It seems that compulsive gamblers can deal with people knowing only after a year or so has passed since their last bet. This is due to the fact that when compulsive gamblers realize they are at bottom, their self esteem is also at the lowest.

Sean also believes everything is one day at a time and will always be grateful to both Gamblers Anonymous and the private stop gambling chat rooms.

This story has a happy ending. Sean’s wife is expecting a baby in September. Their financial position has changed and their future looks bright.

Sean knows he will always be a compulsive gambler, but has made the choice not to gamble.

Mr. Howard Keith has an extensive background in dealing with individuals who have a compulsive gambling addiction.

Gambling footballers take out payday loans – Sporting Chance

 betting screens

Footballers are taking out payday loans to fund gambling addictions, says the Sporting Chance clinic.

The rehabilitation clinic, which works with the Professional Footballers’ Association union, said 70% of its referrals related to gambling.

It has urged the prime minister to crack down on online betting adverts.

“It’s not uncommon to have a player in a cycle of payday loans and gambling,” Sporting Chance chief executive Colin Bland told BBC Radio 5 live Breakfast.

The charity, founded by former Arsenal and England defender Tony Adams, works with a number of football organisations, including the Premier League.

Bland added: “We are working with a lot more current football players. We have had players who have got caught up in the scenario of taking out payday loans to place bets.

“We’ve had several of those over the last couple of years so the vicious circle continues.

“You can’t test for gambling. You don’t show up with a hangover; it’s an addictive disorder in some people that affects performance, it affects lifestyle and it wrecks lives.”

Asked if he believed Prime Minister David Cameron should curb the influence of online betting advertising, Bland said: “Yes. The gambling problem in this country is bigger than we think.

keith gillespie gambling

“I know the government has done an awful lot to get people help with drug and alcohol issues.

“The havoc that gambling will wreak through a normal person’s life is comparable with some of those other substances.”

Stoke City’s Matthew Etherington was helped by Sporting Chance after losing £1.5m gambling on greyhounds, horse racing and poker.

The midfielder revealed that he turned to loan sharks as a way of funding his habit.

“It probably got to its worst when I was at West Ham,” said Etherington, who played for the Hammers between 2003 and 2009 before joining Stoke.

“I was going to the dogs more regularly and that’s when it became a problem. I started going to the bookies during the day. It just snowballed to a point where I was frequently spending a month’s wages and then borrowing money off loan sharks.

“Towards the end it got very, very bad. There was a point where I was clearing 30 to 40 grand a month and within a week or two that was gone.

“When there was no money left there, I was getting it from elsewhere to fund my habit.”

A number of players have found themselves in trouble with the authorities over the past year because of gambling.

Crystal Palace striker Cameron Jerome was fined £50,000 in August for repeatedly breaking Football Association betting rules, while Rangers midfielder Ian Black was given a 10-match ban a month later for gambling on 160 matches over a seven-year period, including betting against his own team.

Tottenham and England midfielder Andros Townsend was fined £18,000 and suspended for four months at the end of last season for breaching betting regulations.

In an interview with The Sun, he said he began gambling out of boredom and that television adverts prompted him to place bets on matches he was watching.

Former Northern Ireland and Manchester United winger Keith Gillespie told Football Focus earlier this month that he lost £47,000 in one afternoon.

Bland thinks the way online betting firms target their customers needs to change.

“Gambling advertising is quite aggressive, particularly during sport,” he said. “I don’t believe that a provider of alcohol would be allowed to advertise in the same way. There should be a look at: ‘Are we advertising responsibly?’

The Remote Gambling Association, which represents online gambling firms including Ladbrokes, William Hill and Bet365, said that the industry was already well regulated.

RGA chief executive Clive Hawkswood told 5 live Breakfast: “The advertising of gambling is subject to very strict regulation by the Gambling Commission and the Advertising Standards Authority.

“In addition, the industry has its own code for socially responsible gambling advertising. It is absolutely the case that none of those levels of regulation would allow advertising that was irresponsible.”

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport said the government is working with regulators to monitor potentially misleading advertising.

A DCMS spokesperson said: “There are strict controls over the content of broadcast and non-broadcast gambling advertisements already in place and a wide range of provisions in the advertising codes, regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority, that are specifically designed to protect children and vulnerable adults from harm.

matthew etherington
Matthew Etherington: ‘I was gambling whatever I could’

“However, the government is aware of the increased use of bonus offers and free bets by gambling operators in recent years as an incentive to attract new customers to their products.

“The Gambling Commission would want to be satisfied that these offers are not being marketed to customers with potentially misleading or unfair terms or conditions.”

The Consumer Finance Association, which represents the major short-term lenders operating in the UK, said payday loans should not be used to attempt to fix long-term debt problems.

A spokesperson said: “Payday loans are an extremely flexible and simple way of borrowing small sums of money without a long-term commitment.

“Our advice is that if you are struggling with debt, don’t try to borrow your way out of trouble. Seek help. Free advice is available from the debt charities who can help you to get your finances straight.”

Michael Chopra reveals £2m betting losses

 michael chopra gambling
Chopra has not trained with Ipswich for over four weeks

Ipswich Town striker Michael Chopra has revealed the extent of his gambling addiction, estimating he has lost as much as £2m through betting.

The 27-year-old, who has been receiving treatment for the illness, says he was gambling as much as £20,000 a day.

And he has even admitted to playing with injuries in the past in order to collect his appearance fee.

“I have probably lost between £1.5m and £2m on gambling,” he told Sky Sports News.

“Your first bet’s your worst bet. As the years have come along and I’ve earned more money I’ve started to gamble more.

“I was gambling up to £20,000 a day at times. As soon as I’d step over the white line I would focus on football – but as soon as I got to the dressing room I would check my phone to see if I’d won.

“As a gambler you want to be playing to get the appearance money. I was playing through injury to cover a debt.”

Chopra, who has fought the addiction throughout the majority of his career, said his £5m transfer from Cardiff to Sunderland in 2007 was motivated by his desire to collect a signing on fee to pay off gambling arrears.

“In my first season at Cardiff I had a gambling debt from when I was at Newcastle,” explained the former England Under-21 international.

“I had to leave Cardiff and sign for another team to pay that debt off.”

Chopra, who has amassed 92 goals in 265 league games for Newcastle, Watford, Nottingham Forest, Barnsley, Cardiff, Sunderland and Ipswich, checked into the Sporting Chance rehabilitation clinic in early October.

But Ipswich boss Paul Jewell has said he will continue to play the forward, who insists he is focused on his career at Portman Road.

“The main thing now is to get promoted with Ipswich. They’ve backed me and I want to pay them back,” he said.

Gambling addict lost everything, rebuilds his life

Wimbledon Final betting

Former Army major Justyn Larcombe told BBC News in July 2013 he had gambled £750,000 and his life was in ruins. Now he says he has turned his life around and is campaigning to help others with gambling addictions.

When I first met Mr Larcombe in a park in Tunbridge Wells, he revealed to me how his wife had left him with their two sons, he had lost his six-figure salary City job, he was £70,000 debt and he had been forced to return to his mother in Kent, carrying just a bin bag of clothes.

His spiral downwards had begun with a small bet placed online in 2009 during a rugby match, but soon the addiction was so strong it took over his life.

He started placing bets on all types of sites, sometimes as high as £5,000 on football games and even once losing £17,000 on a single tennis match.

Over three years, he gambled away his savings, the equity in his house, money his wife had given him to look after and then when all that was gone, he started using his company credit card. When his employers found out, they sacked him.

When his wife, Emma, discovered the extent of what he had done in the autumn of 2012, she left him with their two young sons and – on the day before he was due to be evicted and made homeless – his 70-year-old mother travelled to Derbyshire and brought him back to Tonbridge where he had grown up.

Now, 12 months on from our first meeting, the 45-year-old’s life looks very different.

“This time last year, really, I had nothing, I had no self-respect, I had no money, I had hardly had any income, I had £70,000 worth of debt and a little bin liner of old clothes and pictures to my name, that is all I had,” says Mr Larcombe.

Since he went public with his battle against addiction, media coverage helped to raise his profile as a gambling awareness campaigner.

“That changed my life dramatically, when the first interview came out,” he said.

“I was looking for recovery and what it enabled me to do, as I put my head above the parapet, was to reach out and get in touch with other people in a similar situation to me.

“It is almost as if my story has resonated with lots of people in many different ways, not only problem gamblers, but also the families of people who suffered this horrible addiction.”

In January he started running a recovery course at Tonbridge Baptist Church course for people with all kinds of addictions and also found some freelance work back in the City.

He has now paid off his debts and his family is back together and living in Shipbourne.

He has also become the chairman of a newly-formed gambling awareness charity called Rethink Gambling.

The book of his story is being published this week and he is due to swim the channel in August for charity Hemi Help, which aids people with hemiplegia, a paralysis condition one of his sons has.

Rethink Gambling was created when he got together with three other recovering gamblers.

The organisation has three direct aims.

“One is to see compulsory education in schools about gambling addiction,” says Mr Larcombe, who has a 13-year-old son from a former marriage.

“We would also like to see research funded independently into the gambling industry; at the moment it is primarily funded by the gambling industry.

“We would also like to see gambling moved from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, where it is almost endorsed as some form of entertainment, and move into the Department of Health.

“Then that 1% or 1.5% of people who have a real problem and all the mental health issues and the depression and the potential suicides can be dealt with properly.”

Something else Mr Larcombe wants to see implemented is a one-stop exclusion method so online gamblers who think they have a problem can exclude themselves from all the 2,500 online gambling websites in one go, a measure which he says would have saved his marriage.

His wife says he has changed a lot in the past 12 months.

“I think it is very unusual for someone to be in such a desperate situation to be able to turn it around, pay back his debts, become present in his life when in the middle of his addiction he wasn’t present,” she said.

“I think he is doing an awful lot for an awful lot of people and I think that is admirable.

“He is without doubt a different person to the person I married, I think he is a better person, I think he is using his energy to help other people and for good purpose.”

Mr Larcombe is keen for people to know he is not anti-gambling.

“My heart is to find protection measures for problem gamblers to reduce the temptation and the danger that people have,” he said.

In a statement, the Remote Gambling Association said it was an independent charity funded by donations from the gambling industry.

It said it funded the education, prevention and treatment services and commissioned research to broaden public understanding of gambling-related harm.

A Department for Culture, Media and Sport statement said it was completely committed to ensuring that the gambling industry “puts player protection and social responsibility at the heart of their business”.


Online Gambling Creating Hidden Addicts

online gambling addiction

Online gambling is creating a nation of ‘hidden’ addicts and alcoholics, warns Alcohol Concern Cymru

A new study commissioned by the charity claims drinking and online gambling are ‘commonly combined’

The research revealed people who regularly drank large amounts of alcohol were more prone to engage in moderate or problematic gambling

A huge growth in online gambling could lead to a nation of “hidden” addicts and problem drinkers, new research has warned.

A study commissioned by Alcohol Concern Cymru found drinking and online betting were “commonly combined” despite a lack of existing research in the field.

Researchers claim the rise of online gambling, which often takes place at home, is making addiction and alcoholism far harder to identify.

Behind closed doors

It said casinos and bingo halls were far more suitable venues to monitor “normal” gambling behaviour and alcohol consumption.

Mark Leyshon from Alcohol Concern Cymru said: “What is especially challenging for researchers is that much of this behaviour is hard to spot because it is happening behind closed doors.

“While some of us still visit our local pub and the high street bookmaker the places where we tend to drink and where we gamble has changed in recent times.

“The majority of alcohol is now consumed in the home and similarly the growth of online gambling means that much of this behaviour is more hidden than it was.

“The widespread availability of cheap alcohol and the growth of gambling websites has meant that it’s never been easier to drink and gamble, day or night, and the potential for running into problems has increased as a consequence.”

Links between drinking and problem gambling

The study was carried out by a team of researchers from the University of Roehampton Business School in London who looked at drinking and gambling behaviours in Wales, the UK, and internationally.

It revealed people who regularly drank large amounts of alcohol were more prone to engage in moderate or problematic gambling.

It found around a third of people with severe gambling problems are currently – or have previously been – alcohol dependent.

And almost 2% of the adult male population in Wales were classified as “pathological” gamblers in the report.

But researchers admit understanding of how – and to what extent – drinking and gambling problems are related is still in its infancy.

‘Clear gaps in research’

Dr Guy Bohane, lead researcher for the study, said: “Health survey prevalence data has identified that participation in gambling is higher amongst frequent drinkers and those who engage in multiple forms of gambling are more likely to consume more units of alcohol on their heaviest drinking days.

“However there are clear gaps in the research. For example the data doesn’t show whether this drinking and gambling is taking place at the same time.

“Similarly we know that both drinking at home and online gambling, which often takes place behind closed doors, have grown considerably in recent years yet there are few studies that have examined how these behaviours might be combined.

“There is also a lack of research into how different forms of marketing impact on those who drink and gamble at the same time, especially for young adults.”

Mental health woes

Mick Antoniw AM claims thousands of teenagers’ lives are being “blighted” with personal and mental health problems because of uncontrollable addictions to betting.

He said: “This review further highlights the lack of research and data in this area and the need for the issue of problem gambling to be addressed as an urgent health issue, which I have been consistently arguing for at the Welsh Assembly.

“It does not surprise me that the review has found a link between problem gambling and drinking since the devastating economic and social consequences of problem gambling will inevitably drive some to turn to alcohol as a means of coping.

“I’m particularly concerned about the impact on young adults since problem gambling, like problem drinking, often happens behind closed doors, fuelled by the enormous growth in access to online gambling.”

Research also revealed gamblers have a tendency to drink in response to “wins”.

Increase in female gamblers

It also found also a sharp increase in the number of women gambling online.

Professor Jim Orford, from Gamble Watch UK, added: “Gambling and problem gambling need much more attention than they have had in the past.

“This well-researched and objective report is therefore much to be welcomed. It focuses on the lack of information for Wales and on the need for more study of the possible link between alcohol consumption and gambling.

“But there is much more in this thorough report including excellent summaries of gambling provision in Britain and the debate around the response of the gambling industry.”

Original Article 29/17/2015

Gambling problems in footballers and cricketers

gambling football cricket

‘Gambling problems more common in footballers and cricketers’

In England, footballers are prohibited from betting on any football matter worldwide

Professional footballers and cricketers are three times more likely to have gambling problems than other young men, according to research.

A study conducted for the Professional Players’ Federation shows 6.1% of sportsmen would be classed as problem gamblers compared with 1.9% in the general population of young men.

PPF chairman Brendon Batson says the findings are “worrying” for sport.

“Sportsmen are a clear ‘at risk’ group and sport has a duty of care,” he said.

“We all need to work together to expand and improve the good practice that exists on education and treatment for problem gambling.”

The research was based on confidential questionnaires from 170 professional footballers and 176 professional cricketers.

Heather Wardle, research director at NatCen Social Research which carried out the study, added: “It is interesting to question why this might be. Is it due to a betting culture? Is it something about athletes’ personalities or perhaps a combination of these two?”

A year ago, the Sporting Chance rehabilitation clinic claimed footballers were taking out pay-day loans to fund gambling addictions and that 70% of its referrals related to gambling.

Former Tottenham and Stoke winger Matthew Etherington and ex-Manchester United and Newcastle winger Keith Gillespie are among those to have admitted having gambling problems in recent years.

Ex-New Zealand and Gloucestershire batsman Craig Spearman also revealed he was a compulsive gambler at the height of his career.

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