And obviously gradually the money progressed, and the amounts started to progress further and further, really. Like I say, up until the point where I got paid at 12 o’clock and 12 o’clock at night, that was a regular occurrence, I’d be checking my bank at 12 o’clock to make sure that my money or my wages had gone in. And within the space of an hour and a half my entire months’ salary had gone and I had no more options to turn to.
There’s very limited support available currently. There’s two gambling specific rehab clinics in the entire country at the moment and one’s just opened up in Southampton as well. But the other two are very far up north, which for my locality, that’s just not an option. I think better training for NHS professionals to be able to diagnose compulsive gambling or problem gambling as an illness. It is an illness. It’s recognized by Public Health England as an illness, so it should be treated in such a way.
But when smartphones became more readily available and the apps became more readily available, that’s when it seriously sort of ramped up further and further. And the further I got into it, obviously, the further I got into the addiction and the further the compulsion pulled me into making more rash decisions than I previously would have and ramping up the stakes further than I would have initially been making and it grew and grew and grew over the years.
The sports bets I would put on or horse bets I would put on would be ridiculous accumulators where I’d put 10p down and win a couple of million pounds, never going to come through in a million years, but that was the type of betting in terms of sports betting and horse betting. That’s how my sort of… because it was too short lived or there was too longer wait for the outcome with the sports betting really, for me. Just waiting three minutes, five minutes for a horse race to finish just wasn’t instant enough for me. Whereas with the slots, it’s very much you press the button and the outcome’s there straightaway.
I’ve got as many blocks in place as I physically can have in place. I’ve got bank blocks and email blocks and all sorts, but I still I still get adverts. I get the postcode lottery coming through my door, being forced in my face. I’ve got no choice of that coming through my door. That doesn’t fall under the remit of the gambling blocks that you can put in place. You have to contact them separately to say don’t send me these because I’m a compulsive gambler, which is what I’ve had to do. Which it shouldn’t have to be like that. You wouldn’t get a sample of vodka put through your door. You wouldn’t get a bag of heroin put through your door.
It needs to be safer for people with gambling addiction to not be targeted. 70% or 60 to 70% of gambling profits come from the 5% of compulsive gamblers or at-risk gamblers. At risk gamblers aren’t people that might be a compulsive gambler, might not. They’re at risk of it becoming a serious problem. They’re already at the stage where they’re at the point where they probably can’t turn back. It’s not fun anymore, but they can’t stop. The vast majority of the at-risk group are already way, way into the hole at that point. So, I think when that amount of profit comes from people that are vulnerable and being targeted… it’s relentless. It’s everywhere.
I think it’s quite hard to explain to someone that hasn’t had any addiction problems the feelings that come up because I don’t think there’s anything that you can compare it to or replicate to get that sort of empathy from them, really, if they haven’t experienced that compulsion, that need, that desire, that waking up at two o’clock in the morning shaking because you haven’t put a bet on or you can’t find £5 to put your next bet on. I think it’s quite hard to actually explain to someone that feeling without them having experienced it themselves, really.
Everything so far that I’ve experienced, it’s all outside organisations, charitable organisations that have set up because they know the harm that comes from the addiction. They know about it, so they’ve set it up off their own back to be able to offer that support and offer that avenue of support for compulsive gamblers. It shouldn’t be that. It should be the government act and they put these actual proper NHS blocks or help and support in place. Not to say that people shouldn’t attend Gamblers Anonymous because it’s an outside organization because a compulsive gambler I feel should attend as much as they possibly can to access the support wherever possible. But I think more needs to be put in place from a medical point of view to support the addiction. It’s recognised as an illness by Public Health England. Why is it not treated in such a way?
It’s relentless. It’s everywhere. You get the adverts all the time and I’ve got as many blocks in place as I physically can have in place. I’ve got bank blocks and email blocks and all sorts, but I still get adverts. I get the postcode lottery coming through my door, being forced in my face. I’ve got no choice of that coming through my door. That doesn’t fall under the remit of the gambling blocks that you can put in place. You have to contact them separately to say don’t send me these because I’m a compulsive gambler, which is what I’ve had to do. It shouldn’t have to be like that. You wouldn’t get a sample of vodka put through your door. You wouldn’t get a bag of heroin put through your door.