top of page



Harj, had a gambling addiction for over 10 years, starting from the age of 23. He has been working with the gambling charity Red Card for 2 years as a Non-Executive Director.

How did you start gambling?

I started gambling when I was 23 years old. I started betting on blackjack and roulette tables in casinos, but then started gambling at my local bookmakers as it was closer which meant less travelling and more money to spend gambling on horses, dogs and football. I quickly went from betting £10 to £20 and then £30.

What kinds of gambling did you do?

The rise of online gambling made it even easier for me to gamble. I bet on live roulette, blackjack, horses, sports, virtual and online slots.

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

I was putting in at least £100 every few minutes, eventually putting in £1,000 deposits.  I remember seeing guys at the casino or bookmakers that had been there for hours if not days. I thought ‘How terrible, those guys can’t control themselves’. Two things were true at the same time: I didn’t think it was a problem and I knew that it was wrong. In reality, I was the same, and I couldn’t control it either. 

I lost all sense of the value of money. I could win and feel nothing at all.

 I was gambling to shut up my mind. Begging, borrowing, stealing and defrauding were the ways that I would access money that I didn’t have or couldn’t afford. My wife had become suspicious of me and eventually managed to log into my banking app where she found a long list of gambling transactions. The moment she saw these, I knew I had broken every ounce of trust. My wife told me that if I wanted to make it work with her, I needed to get professional help.

Where did you go for support?

I tried on many occasions to quit, but I found it very difficult. I didn’t know who to go to to ask for help. I remember thinking of asking my parents, brothers and even close friends, however, shame and guilt kicked in. I also felt that as a Sikh (Indian), the Asian culture got in the way of my recovery as gambling is considered very taboo, if not a sin. Even with these feelings, I reached out to religious leaders from the local Sikh temple but did not get the help I hoped for and felt like they were judging me.

Eventually, I contacted Gamcare and remember crying for most of the call, for the first time in a very long time I didn’t feel judged and felt supported. I went on to receive CBT therapy for my gambling and registered with GAMSTOP to help break the habit.


I hope that by sharing my story, I can help others, especially from the Indian community, to have the strength to access support and put their addiction behind them.

How are you doing now?

My road to recovery has been the toughest and most challenging journey for me personally. I am now 3 years in recovery and work as a non-executive director at Red Card, a charity that promotes awareness and prevention of problem gambling through education.
I hope that by sharing my story, I can help others, especially from the Indian community, to have the strength to access support and put their addiction behind them.

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.


Registering with GAMSTOP is free, quick and easy. Watch our short video to see what the GAMSTOP registration process looks like.

bottom of page