The shoplifting was obviously because of gambling. I never had any money. I had my kids every weekend and sometimes I would – They would be asking for McDonald’s or, I would have no money. I would be like, “We’ll go here and get something.” I used to go in and grab whatever they wanted and walk out here because they were kids, they’re not going to suspect anything, but obviously from that, I started going in myself, taking a big bag with me and taking– Well, it wasn’t really food and stuff like that. It was food now and again, but I started going different places and scanning places, looking where all the cameras were, looking if they had any alarms. Literally looked into every single detail to not get caught.
One of my friends… I spoke to him a little bit on social media and he was like, “Oh, you should get on Bet365, it’s miles better”. It’s in-play football. When you are watching the match, you could still do pre-match bets. But when the matches were on there were loads and loads, an endless amount of markets, like red cards, a player to be booked, certain players to score, how many corners, throw-ins. It’s honestly just endless the amount bets and… That was always up and down. I could wake up– like I was going to say is like one half of the world is asleep. The other half is awake. On this app, it had football from every country.
She literally gave me my bank card back. I started gambling again. She was touch or go whether to end it, because she was like, “How am I supposed to trust you now?” I said, “I’ll suffer any punishment, whether you want to break up with me, whatever, I’ll suffer it and I’ll take it,” but I didn’t get the… It’s all right taking a bank card off a gambler, but it doesn’t solve what’s up here. It sounded like I was probably making excuses, but I said to her, “I didn’t go to any GA meetings, I didn’t see a doctor, I didn’t do nothing. You just took the bank card off me, and I carried on with life when I should have got all this help.” What I’m getting now, mainly just GA, and I just said to her, I said, I’ll go GA.
I took a loan out for £1,000 and pretty much used that for gambling. I ended up paying that back. I think it was like 12 months. I ended up paying that back and yes it’s just the same old story really… ended up taking, I think it was five loans out. It just got– it was just yes it was just relentless… One loan and then another loan and third one. I didn’t even look at the APR. I didn’t know what APR percent was. I didn’t have a clue. All I read was, “Yes. Sign the paperwork.” … Then, you got the money within like a day or two and I thought, “Oh, no, it’s all right because I paid that first loan off. If I staggered my payments, I can pay for them.” I just couldn’t, I had child maintenance to pay. I had board when I was living at mum and dads at the time, my board to pay, car insurance and I just honest to God, my bank account was in minus, probably 300 every week. Then when I got paid obviously it would clear, but… I would be left with like £40.
I wanted to destroy something, but I couldn’t destroy the van. I was ringing up, I googled gambling rehab places and nothing come up. There was this place in [town] called [name], something like that. It said they were open, and I must have rang them over 20 times, because I was so desperate that I would have literally walked into one of these rehab places where you’re in there 24/7. I would literally have gone there for as long as it needed. I rang up another place, I never heard anything off them. I rang this other place, they said, “Yes, we do inpatient stuff.” And she went, “But for two weeks.” What did she say? £3,000, and £6,000. I was like, “Oh God”, bear in mind I’m ringing about a gambling addiction, I have zero money. It was like, well your best bet is Gamblers Anonymous.
I ended up owing my mum £600… I was like, “Oh, can I borrow £100?” This was off an auntie on my dad’s side. She bank transferred me £100, I never paid her back. Even though at the time I had all the intentions of paying them back, but once I had the money in my bank account, I was like, “I could pay them now, or I could put this in Bet365 and win double, double, take it back, give them their money, and then I’ve got money to bet with.”
You’re like, “Oh, well, I’ve gambled hundreds. I might as well just do another hundred,” and I just did that, kept doing that, kept doing that and ended up with like £1,000 and I was like, “Oh, well, I’ve just blown a lot of money so I might as well just carry on because I’ve won £17,000 in the past, so why can’t I do it again?” I did that and ended up losing it all. I had nothing. I was like, “Oh my God. I need to bet. I need to win this money back.” I think for me, I was always chasing it. I was always chasing all that money that I lost and accepted it, obviously it was gone and it was my own fault, my own choices, but I think a lot of people think the same, but like once you’re in a deep hole, a dark pit, you think, “Well, I’m there now so what’s the point in stopping?”
I didn’t think it was a problem because I was winning a lot. I always remember when I passed my driving test and I put a £20 bet on, and that was like a 10-15 football team accumulator and the return was like £800… I won this £800 and I bought my first car with it. I just kept on winning and winning as well and I was just buying stuff and it was unbelievable. I just didn’t know what to do with the money. I just kept gambling it. In my account I had like a grand, and then it went to five grand, went to 10 grand. This as an apprentice bricklayer that’s on £170 a week. I couldn’t believe the money that I was winning.
It was just luck, but I used to really look into so many different football statistics. I looked into all sorts of stuff, and I ended up being in a betting group on Facebook, like a private group. There was like a tipster in there and put tips, really got into it.
I think it was with Bet365, you can apply for like a– it’s not a bank card. It’s just like a debit card. They send you this card and with all your winnings, you can put it this card and just buy goods with it, so you buying stuff with bet winnings. Bet365, they are the poison of the gambling world, they really are. They’ve obviously worked it out. I would always try to– I couldn’t settle for like £200, £300. I would feel settled at 500 and then I would put like £400 or £300 away and play with £200. I used to put that onto my Bet365 bank card, whatever it was, but I’d always end up losing my winnings and then taking it back off my bank card and putting it back in my account.
But the urge to gamble, when I’d lost, say I lost all my money, the urge got stronger. It was really weird… It was just like, “Oh, my God,” I was going through contacts through Facebook. People who I hardly knew. People I’ve not spoke to in years. Just absolutely ruining my reputation by saying, “Oh, I’m really – can you bank transfer me £50,” to people that I barely knew. Oh, God. The stuff that I said and did, obviously, I used to ask family a lot.
The only bill that came out the day I got paid was my child maintenance… Then anything else was just whatever, phone bills, I used to miss and pay it a week after. My car insurance, I would miss, and then pay double next month and ring them up and just be like, “Oh,” just come out with some shit basically, make up some story just like you do and what you did when you were gambling and you had no money.