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Chris

Chris, 26, gambled heavily from ages 18-22. He now works as a call advisor for the National Gambling Helpline and shares his personal experiences with gambling on his TikTok profile. He hopes that by sharing his story, others like him won’t suffer in silence and will know where to go for support.

How did you start gambling?

My first experience with gambling was when I was 12. As a huge Swindon Town fan, my friends and I would place 20p bets with each other on the score. I knew I was going to gamble on football when I turned 18. I lived and breathed football, whether it was watching it on TV, going to the matches, coaching, or playing.


What kinds of gambling did you do?

The second I turned 18 I signed up to every site I could find, trying to maximise offers and free bets. I quickly went from small weekend bets to weekday games, increasing stakes and eventually betting on sports I had no interest in. Horse racing became the big one for me – since it was on 24/7, I could always play.


When did you realise that your gambling had become a problem?

My gambling spiralled out of control when I discovered casino games like roulette and blackjack. It went from a bit of fun to gambling every minute of every day, filling the time between each race or match with blackjack and spins. My world crumbled around me. I racked up £25,000 in debt, my mental health was in the gutter, I was losing friends, but I didn’t care as long as I could gamble. My friends knew I liked to bet, but they didn’t realise how bad it was. Now they say they wish they’d known, but it was so easy for me to hide it from everyone. I was living a double life. It got to the point where my monthly pay wouldn’t even cover my debt repayments. I felt like I’d reached the end of the road and had very strong suicidal thoughts.


Where did you go for support?

One day, I came home from work to 15 letters at my front door. I was living with my parents at the time, and this rang alarm bells for them. They made me open the letters in front of them and it all came spilling out. My parents felt betrayed that I had lied, but they were a massive help. They took me to Gamblers Anonymous the next day, helped me sort out my finances, and pointed me to GAMSTOP and MOSES. 99% of my gambling was online, so having GAMSTOP in place immediately helped. I sometimes went to bookies with whatever money I had left, so I registered with MOSES too. It was quick and easy and I felt secure once it was set up. I also use blocking software and bank blocks – having layers of protection is key. My parents control my finances, which has helped rebuild my relationship with money as well as the trust between us.




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99% of my gambling was online, so having GAMSTOP in place immediately helped

How are you doing now?

Although it never fully goes away, I’m in a better place. I’ve been very open with friends and family about my gambling. I also started posting about gambling on social media as I realised there are thousands of people out there suffering in silence. I used to be one of those people – seeing someone like me would’ve really helped. Friends have reached out to me about their own gambling, and I hear from many others who are struggling through my social media. I’m now really enjoying my social media platforms and have done some work with Swindon Town who were really supportive. I’ve just started work as a call advisor for the National Gambling Helpline and I’m looking forward to helping people in the same situation I was in.

Other stories

Over 400,000 people have used GAMSTOP to take back control of their gambling. You can read about the experiences of real people who have found self-exclusion helpful here.

What more can I do?

GAMSTOP is just one of the tools you can use to help control your gambling. There is a lot of other free guidance and support available.

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