Gambling addiction is like a cancer, says addict

A man who lost every penny has shared his story to warn people of the dangers of gambling.

Kane, from Huddersfield, began gambling with his friends as a 15-year-old and realised he had to stop when he hit ‘rock bottom’ and had suicidal thoughts six years later.

“I would literally probably be dead right now if I didn’t have a decent family behind me”, he said.

Out of control

Describing his battle with addiction, he told the BBC: “And people think, ‘Oh, just stop, just stop’ but sometimes I physically can’t stop myself from putting it in – I’ll be shaking and sweating and all types of weird tics.”

He lost his last £210 gambling in a bus station in Huddersfield town centre.

“You want to sort yourself out”, he added. “You think in your head ‘No, I can control my demons, I can get past this.”

Kane has decided to undergo professional counselling, but said some people suffer in silence and end up doing things they regret.

‘Like a cancer’

Now 21, he admitted that his addiction was having wider effects, and has damaged his relationships with other people.

“It’s a horrible cycle because it destroys everyone that you touch.”

“It’s like a cancer that grows and grows and it makes everything worse”, he added.

‘Advertising is everywhere’

He also stressed that the prevalence of gambling advertising is causing problems for people.

“All you see on TV these days is gambling adverts, and it’s all good saying ‘gamble aware’, but people don’t ‘gamble aware’, they gamble their senses away because they don’t know what to do.

“People lose their houses, people lose their jobs over gambling.”

Government review

At the end of 2016, the Government carried out a public consultation on gambling as part of a review on whether or not there should be tighter controls on the gambling industry.

Among other issues, the Government is considering whether gambling adverts on television should be banned before the 9pm watershed.

Currently, these adverts are permitted before the watershed providing they are for bingo or during live sports broadcasts.

Ministers are expected to present their findings early this year.

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