Gambling Experiences

For leisure and a social life

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.

I mean, he wasn’t good on his feet is, you know, his dementia was kicking in and caring for him was very, very difficult. He didn’t want me to leave the house. And eventually I had to get carers to come in because he was getting too heavy for me. I was having to see to him at least three times a night, changed the bed all the time, cleaning up, all the usual awful things that the wonderful carers that we do have go through. Because of that, there wasn’t much point by going to bed. So as soon as I had finished one chore, I would just go and escape and go sit on my laptop. So, during that time, my gambling really became quite prolific, and I would be on it all night, right through to the mornings and in between, obviously to seeing to dad. And it just embroiled everything that I was doing. When dad was admitted to hospital, I’d go up to see-him, but as soon as I got back, I did all my chores that I needed to do, and then as soon as I’d done all that, it was like a reward that I’d achieved something, I’d done something. So, my reward was to go back online.


Gambling more could also be the result of a change in circumstance. This separates them from their usual social group and activities. 

So then when I left school and started work. First of all, I was shy and retiring, couldn’t, found it difficult to communicate with women because I’d gone to an all-boys grammar school and been brought up with two brothers. And so that was a culture shock, which eventually kind of led me to… basically we were working with 2000 women and about 500 blokes, so I couldn’t avoid that. And it was an opportunity to grow up, shall we say, but I chose to spend my lunch times avoiding people by going in the bookmakers just to kind of as for somewhere to go.

Terry #2

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”.

Get Support

If you feel like you need support or someone to talk to about your own or someone else’s gambling, there are several organisations who can offer help, support and answer any questions you may have.

Take Part

We are inviting people to share their experiences of any kind of difficulties due to gambling.