Gambling Experiences

Life challenges

A very wide range of life difficulties could lead to people gambling more. These were general life changes and challenges, the kind everybody goes through. For example, bereavement, a relationship ending, moving to a new town, children leaving home or pressure at work. The person is not sure of themselves and their usual routines and relationships with others are disrupted.

I tend to gamble a lot more when I’m not happy… But it came to a head when I moved and I’d split up with my partner at the beginning of COVID and we’d been together for nearly 11 years. We separated and then I’d started gambling again and it would be because I suffer from insomnia anyway and it was I wasn’t sleeping… That was something that was always there and [gambling] was an escape. Shut yourself off from the world and just live in this little bubble of slot machines… Then when I moved and it was Christmas and I didn’t know anyone, I couldn’t just go and see people that I knew, I was literally stuck at home, really depressed by this point because I hadn’t particularly really wanted to move anyway, I was moving to be closer to my parents.

I felt a little bit isolated; I left all my friends behind. My family were still back at home. I’d go online, downloaded an app with a particular bookmakers, got numerous free bets. Start off with spending probably £20, £30 a week maximum at that point and then gradually going into the bookies to place bets as well and whilst I was in the bookies I was playing the FOBTs.

It could be the build-up of one difficult situation on top of another.

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. The person I was with would have convinced me to stay anyway. Then my mum died suddenly, and it really impacted on my sister’s mental health. I was trying to deal with clearing the house out and the bereavement and trying to help my sister and things all just got to a head and I drank a lot of wine and gambled a lot of money. These were the days of you could use credit cards for gambling. I ended up over time with five credit cards, which then turned into two high-cost loans because my credit rating was slowly going down.

Getting loans to consolidate that debt to try and just make a clean break of things, and it didn’t. It just created a black hole of more credit that needed to be filled, and very quickly I would get one credit card with a credit limit, and instantly, by using it, it would go over that credit limit, and then have to sort that out. I always paid my rent, always paid my bills, but always had no money left to live or to make plans for things and became very isolated as well. I was struggling with the bereavement of my mum, my sister’s mental health, things that were going on for me being in a job being bullied, so losing my identity and feeling like I was withering away.


It could be that everyday life was hard. 

Sometimes, my little boy, he has disabilities, and my wife also does have a disability. Sometimes I’ve almost questioned myself as though I wonder if it’s almost something to perhaps erase what’s going on at home, as though for a bit of a buzz or to able to turn round and say, “I’ve won some money. Well, it’d be nice to treat them.” I think does that sometimes play in my head as though that would be nice, it’s almost an escape, if you like, from what’s going on at home.

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