Jack began gambling in 2012 and registered with GAMSTOP in 2020 after his addiction began to spiral out of control. He was losing 75% of his wage as a steel worker each month to gambling sites, but after two years of self-exclusion, he has successfully overcome his issues. He discovered a passion for professional ultra-marathon running and recently finished second in the toughest long-distance run on the planet, the Montane Spine race.
How did you start gambling?
I started when I turned 18. I think the combination of alcohol and the ability to gamble at that age was a dangerous mix for me and I began quickly burning through most of my money on a monthly basis.
What kinds of gambling did you do?
It was mostly sports gambling, such as horses, tennis and football.
When did you realise that your gambling had become a problem?
By 19 I’d self-excluded from my local betting shop, but this only drove me towards online gambling. I found it incredibly difficult to remain in control while gambling online as it was easier to not think about the consequences compared to going to a bookmaker and physically signing the betting slip. At the time, I was being paid a weekly wage on a Monday afternoon and often I'd spent the whole pay packet by Tuesday morning, so I knew things had got bad. I was really trying to get into ultra-running, but I knew in order to pursue my ambitions, I first had to tackle my gambling addiction.
Where did you go for support?
In 2020 I used GAMSTOP. I’ve been on it for now over 2 years. My wife Jess was also a big help, I think it was a combination of asking Jess to marry me and signing up to GAMSTOP that really helped me put my gambling behind me.
What would you say to someone who is struggling with gambling?
I’d want them to know about the tools available to help them if they’re struggling, such as GAMSTOP, and that they are not alone and there is lots of support our there. I also think finding a passion like I have with running and making sure you have a good support network around you is really important.
It was two years ago when I registered with GAMSTOP and cut myself off from gambling. Life has improved dramatically since then and so has my running.
How are you doing now?
Since then my life has improved significantly and so has my running. I’m now a keen Ultra runner, having completed some great trials over the past year with many more planned. I’m also really passionate about reaching out to those who are struggling with gambling, I’m hoping by sharing my experience, I can encourage others to reach out and get help.
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.