Ex-Olympic boxer: ‘Gambling left me penniless’

A former Olympic boxer has shared how gambling ruined his life.

Paddy Barnes, a two-time Olympic medallist from Belfast, described his battle with online gambling in a video for  Sports NI.

He said: “It was bad. I had to get a lend of money off my father because I had no money left through gambling.”


Barnes said that before quitting he gambled everyday and “more often than not I was losing”.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s £1 or £100,000, it’s not yours any more, you’ve lost it.

“I’d say I wasn’t gambling again because I lost something, and the next day I was doing it again. I was always chasing. It was the thrill of it, the rush, more than the money.”

He warned: “It doesn’t matter whether it’s £1 or £100,000, it’s not yours any more, you’ve lost it.

“I was gambling and I talked to my wife, and then I stopped, but I started again. I knew I shouldn’t have been doing it. I was able to tell her I had a problem and once I did, I felt really relieved.”


Last month, the betting industry came under fire for using “predatory” tactics to tempt back former gambling addicts during the lockdown.

Firms offered welcome bonuses of up to £1,500 via social media, and Gamblers Anonymous reported that a number of ex-addicts had received emails from companies “trying to lure them back, with offers of free bets”.

Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s National Mental Health Director, said: “These tactics are shameless. They are predatory and need to stop.”

Following the pressure, Britain’s largest gambling firms promised to end all television and radio gambling advertising for six weeks. Advertising slots were to be donated to charities, replaced by safer gambling messages or removed.

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