Women have shared their harrowing experiences of gambling addiction as it is revealed that the number of female problem gamblers rose by a third between 2014 and 2019.
The figures, reported by charity GamCare, found that the problem now affects more than 75,000 women in the UK.
The Government is currently considering reforms to gambling law. Its call for evidence is set to close at the end of the month.
Speaking to The Daily Mail, Tamsin Elliot shared how she has spent over £10,000 on gambling sites since last March – gambling while at work, with family, and even during the night.
She warned that: “You can spend at the click of a button. It’s terrifying, but it doesn’t feel like real money”.
Due to her heavy spending – including almost £1,600 in a single day – Tamsin was contacted by a company’s ‘customer care’ department. “The woman who called asked if I was addicted. She ran through a list of questions, asking if I was depressed and spending within my means. I told her what she wanted to hear. They didn’t contact me again.”
But she says the companies continued to encourage her to gamble and she was “bombarded by emails offering free spins”.
Many of the women who shared their stories explained how hard it was to stop once they started. Abbey Little placed a £5 bet “for fun” in 2019, and soon found herself deluged by adverts.
She shared how these would appear on social media and daily text messages leaving her feeling that she ‘couldn’t escape’. Within a few months she was gambling most of her monthly income.
Later that year, after a significant loss one evening, she woke up in hospital after overdosing on prescription pills.
Kerri Nicholls told how she used websites rather than apps to better hide her addiction. It became so bad she felt unable to stop betting – admitting she had even gambled while at a funeral.
She placed her first bet of just £1 in 2010, but by 2015 she had amassed £45,000 worth of debt.
She continued gambling with money she didn’t have, including the mortgage money from a joint account – leading her to rack up £100,000 debt in total.
Pippa Longley stopped gambling last year, after blocking herself from gambling websites. But she is still paying off high-interest loans worth more than £5,000 and says the temptation to gamble remains.