Like me you've probably seen a lot of Gambling ads on TV.
But did you know that there are just under HALF A MILLION people in the UK that are ADDICTED to Gambling, and once they start are UNABLE to stop?
For these 430,000 people Gambling isn't "FUN" any more, it's TORTURE. Everyday men & women who have crossing over from normal into "ABNORMAL gambling, where they have to gamble until their last pound is gone, until every account is emptied and every card is maxed out. Time and time again, like a Rat in a Wheel going round and around.
This COMPULSION to gamble means they gamble FOOD money, RENT & MORTGAGE money and anything else they have access to in order to get their fix. Their brains don't function normally due to the stress-adrenaline-dopamine rollercoaster they are on, and they require more and more of this chemical mix to get the same reward. Work gets less productive, relationships get rocky and moods swing enormously under the strain.
It's not as obvious as say Drugs or Alcohol, but it's identical in many ways. Gamblers need a bet just to get them through the day, and they need a bet just to be themselves and feel normal.
Gambling is also the only addiction where "ONE MORE" is seen as the solution/cure.
Over the last 10 years the Gambling Industry has grown from £8 Billion to a massive £14 Billion a year.
And with it the number of problem gamblers has risen from under 100,000 to somewhere between 430,000 - 2 Million according to the Gambling Commission
The knock-on affect for Families & Communities of this is ** HUGE **
Problem Gamblers feel that they cannot escape the grip of the addiction, no matter how hard they try.
To be in the grip of an addiction like this is soul destroying and many see NO OTHER WAY OUT to end their pain, people like:
# Lee Murphy - a 37 year old Training Coordinator earning £28,000. Described as "Clever, funny, great with children" and someone who worked really hard and had lots of ambition. He took out 10 payday loans and had MULTIPLE suicide attempts and said: “When I lose, I chase what I’ve lost with more money. It’s a vicious circle. The gambling is shameful. Embarrassing. Deceitful. A killer.”
# Philip Tomlinson - a 29 year old Manager for Morrisons supermarket who spent the money saved for Northern Lights trip with his girlfriend. Before he hung himself, he left a note saying “I am sorry for gambling, it was my biggest regret."
# Daniel Clinkscales - a 35 year old Regional Manager earning £43,000 a year described as an "Intelligent, astute, positive, successful person". He was never treated by Doctor for depression, yet threw himself off the Avon George in Bristol as he could not stop himself from gambling.
Click on the picture below to read more about the many Gambling Suicides.
Well HARDLY ANY.
According to the UK Gambling Commission, there's 430,000 problem gamblers in the Britain today.
- Gamcare is the largest operation, looking after 8,000 gamblers a year
- Then there's Gamblers Anonymous (GA) which looks after another 7,000
- You've got therapy & independent councellors who look after around 2,000 gamblers
- And there is just ONE NHS clinic that looks after a further 1,000 people a year
|Gamblers Anonymous (GA)||7,000|
|Therapists / Councellors||2,000|
|NHS (the only UK clinic)||1,000|
Now I'm no maths genius but even I can see there's 18,000 people that ARE getting Help for their gambling problem...
And there's not going to be any more help either! According to ResPublica, a Gambling Addict receives x3 times less funding than an alcoholic or a drug addict.
The Government doesn't see it as a crisis, and has actually just put BACK the decision to reduce maximum stakes on highstreet gambling machines!
Which means that for the next year a person with a problem can still gamble £300 a minute or £18,000 an hour, and 2 people a day will continue to kill themselves as the only way out.
Unless we act now.
I myself used to have a gambling problem in my twenties and was lucky enough to find some great people who helped me see where I was going wrong, make some changes, and get my life back on track.
And for the last 25 years I've been helping others get THEIR lives back, helping run GA, setting up gambling support meetings, performing prison visits, installing & manning helplines, creating podcasts and other resources.
But the number of problem gamblers continues to shoot up and it's clear that we need to do more.. SO much more.
And a year ago I had a life-saving heart operation and pledged the next 10 years to do something about it myself, and created a not-for-profit organisation "Back on Track" to get it done.
Eventually we will address all forms of addiction, but right now it's Gambling.
We urgently need YOUR help to raise £85,000 to implement PHASE I:
We also want to work WITH Gambling Operators to help publicise these vital help resources at the point of play or problem, and in partnership with their teams so those that need help can access it when they need it most.
After this has been implemented we will be raising £450,000 to implement Phase II:
The good news is that we've already done a lot of PHASE I and the Online Community is pretty much built & ready to go! We just need some staffing and promotion. Once we hit our fundraising target we can begin construction of the App.
Incidentally we are fully inclusive and work in partnership with others. Existing resources like NHS, GA, GamCare, and Independent Counsellors are MORE than welcome to use our facilities to help better support their own Clients & Members, free of charge. We believe in signposting to and working with others.
We've also prepared the first free Gambling Awareness for Employers webinar & Podcast which is also ready to be publicized, with more resources in the pipeline.
Together we can make a difference.
Please either pledge what you can afford, or help promote this life-saving campaign on social media.
And keep promoting it please - we're not going to stand by any longer and watch this situation get worse, without taking MASSIVE action.
Between us we can help save more young people from taking their own lives, and help hundreds of thousands of others get Back on Track to being happy & productive again.
Founder of GamHelp, the Gambling Recovery Community