It’s hard because, you know, you’re constantly reflecting on what you’ve done. Which so, is like trying to, I guess the counselling is helping me at the moment try, to try and to move on from that. Moving forward rather than just thinking, Oh God, I can’t believe I did this and that, and what I could have had. You know, the amount of time that I’ve spent gambling is ridiculous. You know, that was, let alone the money that I’ve lost, the amount of time that’ve spent, the amount of lies that I’ve said, and you know.
If you look at game shows on a Saturday night, you know, you’ve literally got a ball dropping down a series of things. Anything can happen. It is complete luck, you know. There’s loads of examples of game shows out there that is gambling. There’s no skill involved in it at all. You don’t have to answer a question, you don’t have to do anything. You know, you just have to pick a number in a game of Deal or No Deal. You know, you’re literally picking a box. So you’re promoting that kind of activity as a fun and positive thing.
But now you have this thing where there’s like multipliers on. So you can win, but you can have like a multiplier put onto that number. So say number one comes in normally you’d win X amount of money. But if on some other forms of roulette, it might be the number one comes in but you win 500/1. So there’s even more of – so normally it’d be 35/1, but they put it so that says it says you could get 500/1. So there’s even more of that enticement for some people, I would imagine to think, “Wow, you know, just one more go because I could do that”. And, you know, I’ve had lots of, obviously, I was gambling a lot of the time, for 10 years, so I’ve had lots of wins. And like I said before, you hang on to those… So I guess, in terms of the way they’re designed, that probably is a factor into it. So it makes you think that it’s likely to happen again.
Like I say, it’s not just the addict’s responsibility. Because obviously, they’re using this, they’re getting their fix from somewhere. And they need to look at what they’re doing in the land-based stuff. Like I say, a lot of the times, if you have a membership card to these places and you scan it at table or you put it in a machine obviously everything that you do is recorded. But I mean, I’m sure there’s ways of you looking up your statement or whatever it would be called. But I was never told about that. All you’re told about is,” Oh, you could earn points or whatever”. And a lot of the times I didn’t even have a membership card. I just said, your name, you go in. And you know, they can be trained to be more responsible.
But in, and, you know, just like a gambling addict, it doesn’t pay the addiction to be responsible. Gambling didn’t want me to be responsible. So and like, you know, in a, you know, it’s a profit, it is a profitable thing, so why would they want anyone to be responsible? Tricky, very tricky.
There must be more steps that you can put in place to limit access to things online and in the live format in casinos. You know, it feels like when I was a child and growing up, casinos weren’t places that people went to in the same way as they do now. It was like very high end, glamorous thing. They weren’t in every city like they are now. It was, as far as I’m aware, I don’t know if this is true, but for a long-time roulette was banned in most places apart from Monte Carlo. And you have to question why that was.
And obviously financially, I’m not really responsible for my money anymore because I can’t be responsible for it. And that’s a hard, hard thing to hard thing to come to terms with yourself is that actually, for me personally, I’m not a responsible person, especially with money. So for some people to hear that, like, you know, you hand over your finances to someone else would be a really massive thing. You know, people like their independence, they like they have their own money. But for me, actually, that’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me because, yeah, it just helped in terms of not being able to, I can’t actually gamble even if I wanted to.
I’m sure no one would argue if you said, I’m going to quit smoking tomorrow. They would be like that’s brilliant, well done. And you would, you’d be proud to say it, but I think you would definitely feel ashamed to say I have a gambling addiction and I need to stop tomorrow because somewhere there must be a thing in your mind about the stigma attached to it. So you’re irresponsible, you don’t care about what you’ve done, you’re stupid for want a bad word. You know, you’re not intelligent enough to realise what you’re doing.
There an attitude of like, Oh, it’s hidden, we’ll like sweep it under the carpet, these people are like, you know, just irresponsible people that can’t control themselves. Surely you wouldn’t be that stupid just to lose all your money on gambling? Is that the attitude that a lot of people have and can we change that attitude so generally, people are more supportive?
In terms of stigma is it doesn’t matter like. I would say, really, it doesn’t matter how much money is the win or lose. It’s like that, when, when it’s like an illness for you, it doesn’t discriminate against anyone. Like the addiction, the addiction doesn’t discriminate at all, at all.
I was gambling a lot of the time, for 10 years, so I’ve had lots of wins. And like I said before, you hang on to those and a couple of them I would describe as lucky, even though it’s no more lucky than another win. But as a gambler, so I suppose logically, I would say ignore what I’m saying, but illogically they were more, it was more lucky and when that happens, that’s really, really bad because you think it could happen again.
I didn’t really have enough value on myself or my life, the people in my life or myself, to consider the damage I was doing. So, I guess as a personal thing, there was obviously a lot of other stuff going on alongside the gambling, which made me think that it didn’t really matter how much damage I was doing.
I’d say mainly it was the winning, winning the money that was the big thing. And then at the casino you kind of have this, you think it’s a glamorous place and there’s a lot of if you’re winning there’s a bit of kind of bravado and a kind of ego thing going on there. When in reality… I would say it’s very different if you go to a casino on like a Friday night, 9:00 p.m. It’s very different if you go at that time, compared to if you go to the casino at, say, 11:00 in the morning on a Monday. That’s when you see what it is really.
What I would say, was you are not a bad person, you’re just someone that’s unwell. You need to draw a line under everything that’s happened before. You’re never going to get the money back. That money is never going to come back to you. The only thing you can do is try and move on from that.
They could make it more easily available to get sort of the counselling support. You know, I pay for the counselling, but I know that there is like ways you can get free things. But if that was more advertised and more readily available, then that would be a good thing.
They need to look at what they’re doing and the land-based stuff. Like I say, a lot of the times, if you have a membership card to these places and you scan it at a table or you put it in a machine obviously everything that you do is recorded. But I mean, I’m sure there’s ways of you looking up your statement or whatever it would be called. But I was never told about that. All you’re told about is “Oh, you could earn points” or whatever. And a lot of the times I didn’t even have a membership card. I just said, your name, you go in. And you know, they can be trained to be more responsible.
In terms of the emotional impact of those sorts of things, there’s lots of feelings of guilt and shame and the sort of self-loathing that went with losing money that could have been used for other things. So, lots of regret, you know, which is really difficult to cope with, especially once I kind of have been on the journey to try and stop gambling. Those feelings really come to the front because then you’re like, my headspace was in a different place where I was reflecting on it all, and it’s really difficult because there’s those feelings of regret and resentment and shame that are really, really strong.