I remember one stage, peak of gambling, I had £95,000, in my Bet365 account. I did not get one call from that company. What’s in your account? You should stop, you should take this out, you should invest it, you should do this. Instead, they gave me more free bets, to keep me going. It was like a like a drug. They were like the pushers as an addict, keeping you going, keeping you going, keeping you spending.
I was very depressed and at a low that I’ve never felt in my life. Existing for a stage whilst having an addiction. I did have suicide thoughts twice, both whilst I was driving. I didn’t go through with it. Maybe because I’ve got two children, but you still thought it. It still went through my mind.
I deleted the apps on my phone and this sort of stuff, and putting some tools in place which I’d recommend. I’ve done that for a bit basically. Then the counsellor, I remember saying that’s the easy bit. But again, at the end of the month I got paid and straight away I just gambled. That month it just went, and that was it.
The financial side of it could do more. I was taking money out my bank left, right, and centre. There should be alarm bells, they should ring a bit more, questions should be asked on that side of it. My certain bank at the time, going in and out of my account, and I never once had a call to say £50,000 with Bet365. I never had a call. There should be a lot more of that being looked at.
I never had an interesting gambling. I just loved watching Chelsea. I’m a Chelsea fan. At the time, I had a season ticket at Chelsea. My first bet was on teletext. Remember teletext? Chelsea beat Arsenal 2-1. It was the Champions League. I thought, wow, this is easy, easy money.
People I’ve spoken to, the first reaction I get is, oh, they don’t understand. It’s like why, why would you do that, I don’t understand that, don’t ever gamble. You wouldn’t say that to a drug addict or an alcoholic. The gambling thing, the addiction, people really don’t understand it. That’s why when I hear that, you automatically think, oh yes, it is a bit shameful. Let me take it into the same account as a mental health illness and addiction. It’s the same thing. That’s hard to get people to understand. That’s what I’ve witnessed with it. That doesn’t help you wanting to talk about it.
I got to a point my youngest daughter said, we’re not doing anything today, or something like that and it hit me. I was like, why am I trying to win-back, claw-back, £50, £100 now? Because my credit has gone now and it’s affecting my child’s life. Not what she knew affecting her, the fact that she wasn’t having fun with her dad. Then I wanted to stop there.
I still feel the stigma related to gambling so I keep it close to myself what I went through, because shame is a normal feeling for a gambler. The more that it is spoken about by the likes of me, can only be positive. That’s where the stigma needs to end because gambling kills people.