People gamble more because it ends up being what they do for leisure or social life. Gambling companies tell them it is something to do for fun, relaxation and to enjoy time with friends. Sometimes, gambling is the leisure activity that is easiest for them to access, and they do not have other options. It can be a big part of what their social group does together. Some people take it up as a hobby.
Boredom, having too much time on your hands, or not being able to do usual activities often leads to more gambling.
I was off work sick for a couple of weeks and I’d actually turned to sort of keep myself entertained because obviously no one else is off, my wife was in work. I was bored all day. I’d started betting on horse racing. I never had any interest in horse racing. I had no real idea what I was doing, but it was just something to, I thought this would keep me ticking over until the football starts in the evening.
I was on my own a lot. My working life involved me being on my own, by and large, catching a train or a bus to wherever this car was, and then bringing it back. Because of driving for a living, I didn’t drink. My social life was gambling, really. It was gambling. It very rapidly got out of control.
Some people turn to gambling because it is what is easily available to them for leisure or social connection. People feel physically isolated, lonely, or uncared for. In some circumstances they are looking after children, the elderly, or a person with disabilities.
We sit at home with the kids. A lot of time, we can’t go out. You can talk to people on there, you can have a bit of fun, what you think is fun, and it’s having a life, that even though you’re not leaving the home, you still at home, you still looking after your kids and things, but you have a bit of a social life and fun.
Gambling more could also be the result of a change in circumstance. This separates them from their usual social group and activities.
Alternately, being in a social group where gambling is a key activity, can influence individuals to gamble more.
Some people decide that they wanted to get good at gambling and take it up as a hobby. For others it became the thing they did for themselves. They started to spend all their spare time on gambling.
I suppose it became from somewhat very recreational, very like a one-off to something a little bit regular. It became regular and ended up becoming like a hobby in a way. It became something that I enjoyed doing and could pass the time. If I did have a break or if I was watching something I wasn’t really interested in, I could have something going on in the background that seems to be more fun and could potentially make me maybe some money at the same time.
I think something maybe changed then, and it became something that at the end of the day, after a hard day at work or being on my own, it was just something that became increasingly part of my life. Most of it was online slots. It wasn’t sports betting or bingo. I very rarely played bingo because that just didn’t feel like it was my thing. Just played lots and lots of different games. That went on for about two years, and probably was increasing in time, in money, but not really feeling that it was a problem. Going into that period, I started getting bullied at work. I realized I was in a relationship that I didn’t really want to be in, but it was so nice that I had no reason not to be in this relationship.
For several people, gambling grows from something that happens socially to something they start to do alone.
So, yeah, part of the social group. And then, it just became routine and then sort of switched from friends turning and saying “do you want to go to the casino?”, I was the one that started to instigate “shall we go to the casino?”, so that had turned around. And if they said no, this was another massive turning point for me, I just used to go on my own then. So it had gone from it being a social element and it starting as a social element. And then I’d gradually go “well I don’t need anyone around there, because I’m going to go anyway”.