Comments

Jane
Reply

Trevor, do you think your latest relapse was perhaps a knee jerk reaction to you perhaps self excluding from the nearby haunts? I’ve noticed that people are at most risk from doing something negative soon after doing something good and constructive. I do it too. Many of us do. I think, sometimes it is our petulant gambling side that resents our decision to help ourselves, so we go one step further and in your case, decide to travel a good distance just to show yourself that you still can if you want to.
It’s a classic tantrum isn’t it? The gambling side doesn’t like us controlling it, so it gets us to show who’s boss by getting us to go out of our way to gamble, just to prove to ourselves that we can and that we won’t be controlled.

My worst relapses have followed some of my best efforts to unravel this mess and put restrictions in place.
It’s a pattern that many of us follow so I think it is something that we should be extra cautious of when putting restrictions in place. The more I self excluded, the more I wanted to gamble and would just seek out somewhere else instead. If I didn’t exclude, I could go a few days without it, but if I hit that button to cool off, I would want to gamble straight away just because I knew that I had stopped myself from accessing it.

We want what we can’t have, don’t we Trevor and doing something to control the addiction seems to set it off on a sort of warpath where you will then go out of your way to undo the good work that you have done.

At least it’s good to be aware of all these things. It shows that we are becoming more mindful of ourselves and the war going on inside.

Hope you are feeling better now, Trevor. Just get yourself right back on track. You too, Mat. You can do this. Like Trevor said, do not give up trying. There is hope so long as we keep going.

Jane
Reply

That’s why we have to make sure that we not only put restrictions in place, but also change our mindset and attitude towards gambling, because if we don’t, then we just see our efforts as stopping ourselves from doing something we want to do, and of course, we then want it even more.

Really important to remember why we want to leave gambling behind.

Trevor
Reply

Hi Jane,

Totally agree about the mindset and what we want to achieve. It is important to visualize what we want from this journey…..why we are trying to reprogram ourselves and push back on an activity that part of us wants to do, what are our benefits and incentives to being strong. At times the thing we want from the journey is our sanity…just to be happy and not have dark thoughts.

We must all keep on trying and no matter how many times we have a relapse….we got to keep on trying. As long as there are profits to be made the gambling industry will never stop trying to entice us, we need to show the same strength by stopping to gamble.

Keep trying and success will follow eventually.

Jane
Reply

That’s great advice, Trevor. I’m really glad you feel this way, especially following your recent lapse. Sometimes, stepping off the path can make us even more determined to beat this, it can fuel us on that journey even further. The problem comes from chasing the loss of the latest relapse because if you then win, it removes the deterrent, it removes the consequences from gambling and so that makes gambling seem okay to do it again and affects our mentality towards ever stopping for good.
I managed to do my longest period of abstinence, 6 months, following a horrible big loss. I let anger and determination fuel me and it worked. If we relapse and win, we will always keep gambling but if we relapse and lose and can have the strength to suck it up and walk away from that loss, then that empowers us because it means we are accepting the consequences of our actions. Therefore, we can see the damage more clearly and want to do something about it.
Always chasing losses, winning, then losing, then winning some back….it all just keeps this whole thing going. Keep going, Trevor.
…and a good day to all. :)

Trevor
Reply

Hi Jane

Your so right. It’s probably another road of internal conflict between my good side and my bad side.

Just need to keep trying to be good and abstain.

Loser soon to be Winner
Reply

Thankyou Jane…..My partner in crime (Joanne) is playing hide and seek hopefully not behind any scratchies!

Thanks Trevor yes might need a name change soon but not just yet will have to hit over 100 days or 6 months! Hmmm wonder what to call myself? Winner?

Trevor
Reply

Hi Loser,

How about you name yourself Obey Wan Knobi. The force is with you and you have defeated the dark side. Although he is dead though…which could be draw back…

Ha ha ha.

Keep strong.

loser
Reply

HAHAHAHA That’s one way to stop gambling now isn’t it? That was my last option being dead lol

LOSER
Reply

Matt you know what to do…I read you tried meet ups but there are thousands of clubs on their keep going and keep trying to find new one’s and meet new people. Join a sport club or something to keep yourself busy that’s what i did and it has helped immensely. If I can do it so can you Mat.

LOSER
Reply

All good Jane still on track DAY 42 I don’t count days, I don’t even think of gambling its like my brain has rewired and is switched off to it now. I can truly say I am now a X gambler it’s over and done with now, I have a new life! Like I woke up and something switched in my brain. Going to be easy to get to 100 days I just have to remember when that is lol. I know I will never relapse as I am not even trying to stop………………..I HAVE STOPPED!

Life is good, Miracles do happen!

All the best everyone will check in again in a few weeks!

Jane
Reply

Loser, you are inspirational. I am so happy that you continue to hold strong. Your attitude has definitely changed and you are able to see the mistakes more clearly now so that you don’t fall into the trap of wanting to bet again.
The difference in you is amazing….where is that guy who couldn’t string a few days together???? What have you done with him?? :)
Keep going, Loser, keep up the good work. It starts to get interesting from this point on, as it gets easier and you really start to have faith in what you can achieve. Every day you add to your tally at this stage, makes another week possible. That’s how important it is to add distance between you and your last bet. It makes you so much stronger so that your days without gambling start to really make a difference to your long term recovery and each day you add now, actually equates to much more in terms of your recovery. Time is the greatest healer as they say, so let time heal you, Loser. Let it make you forget the past so that your future can be one that you choose yourself. One you will be proud of.

Life without gambling is possible if people can forget what went before. As I always like to say, habits are formed in our lives but just because we have always done something, doesn’t mean we always will!
Prove to yourself everyday that you don’t need gambling to make you a winner, by waking up and knowing that you did yourself proud and used your time well. Good for you.

Hope your sidekick is also doing well…and not the bookies on her behalf.
All the best.

Trevor
Reply

Loser,

Well done. You doing so well on you’re journey with important milestones on how you are feeling and you’re nonchalant relationship with gambling, you past counting days. It is brilliant and inspirational.

Is it time to change you’re blogging name

mat
Reply

Lost £1800 today first I won 700 last week then lost it all I feel numb stood in front of machine for 3 hours and didn’t eat or drink anything today I have a pounding headache another Months pay thrown away one step forward two steps back my own personal hell

Trevor
Reply

Hi Mat,

Sorry you’re having a tough time. I did the same thing on Saturday night…3-4hrs pressing a button…managed to find a cashino machine hall and instead of kicking me out at 10pm…its a 24hr place…so I left when I put all my money in….about 11.30pm So depressed I cried part of the way driving.

I have loved ones who need me and rely on me…if this wasn’t the case goodness knows where I would be.

I know you find it hard, but try and build friendships, do team sports, go to the cinema on your own if needs be. Try and break into more healthy less harmful routines.

Remind your brain who is in control. Keep trying.

I always think in the long term as well..will I be hobbling to the bookies when I’m retired with my pension money…hell no. I don’t to end up like that. Do I want my loved ones to give up on me…no. Action needs to be taken.

Please, please do not give up. Keep trying. Get self excluded from your favourite haunts…get excluded from nearby bookies etc. 2 weeks ago I had to travel 3 miles to get to the nearest amusement hall…Saturday night was a 40 minute car drive because I excluded from the ones near me. I can still gamble but it’s a lot of effort.

Try and be strong. If you can’t make friends go on regular runs, join a gym, at the gym pay for a fit female personal trainer….money well spent. Do jigsaws. Just keep yourself busy. Go on cooking courses or water activities or archery or bowling or anything…just keep trying stuff out….something will stick.

Take care.

J.B.O
Reply

i hear ya, you’re not alone, not even an hour after i got paid i had two drinks then put ALL my money on black, landed on red like usual.

Jane
Reply

Here’s the thing, Trevor. You have to ask yourself, am I feeling remorseful and crap because I gambled again, or because I lost? If it’s the first one, then great, you are feeling the effect of ‘throwing away’ your efforts to be a non gambler. The money lost is a side issue for you that merely highlights your struggle. You are down because you recognise that you don’t want to be this person anymore and want to quickly move on from the issue and put it behind you.

If it’s the second one, then you have to remind yourself about the bigger picture when it comes to gambling and that being that win or lose, gambling will still defeat you in the end. The trouble is, when an addicted person gambles, their brain will still get a fix of dopamine whether they are winning or losing, because dopamine is released through anticipation of winning, not just winning.

It is this reason that people are often compelled to chase, because all the time you are still gambling, your brain is still soaking it all up, even if you are stressed out because you are haemorrhaging hundreds. Your doped up brain will keep you spinning fruit and wheels because it loves living in the moment, it doesn’t care about you and the effects that this will have on you. There is no tomorrow for the brain, only for the mind who has reason and consciousness. It doesn’t do long term. It just does the here and now.

For this reason, your brain will cripple you with the impulse to continue to gamble because it doesn’t allow you to fully take on board the consequences because all the brain wants is its fix in the here and now. As you become more down about gambling, it has a secondary affect on your brain which is very sneaky and counterproductive. Depression and feeling down sends out a message to search your memory for what makes you happy and the corrupted brain comes up with gambling as a way of making you feel better which creates urges to do it again. It is how we have trained it to think. Breaking this thought process is the hardest part. Depression causes subtle changes in the way people think and it distorts how we think about our problems and what to do about them. I was so down about my loss in January, that instead of seeing gambling as the problem, I saw it literally as the only way to get my money back! This is that same distorted way of thinking that we have as addicts. That’s why if possible, it is best to try to leave gambling alone altogether, because the more you do it, even if it is just a quick go, the more your brain wants it and the more the connection is reinforced.
Try to remember, Trevor, that wins don’t necessarily keep us gambling, but more so, the anticipation or possibility of winning that keeps you handing over your cash.

If we all knew that we wouldn’t be lucky in a session, we would stop way before we ran out of cash, but we throw everything we have at the possibility of getting our money back purely because while we are still gambling, a win is still possible. I often find that once I start gambling, it soon stops being about winning, as I lose so much in a session that it just becomes about getting back what I had a few minutes ago. This is the sad reality of gambling.

You mentioned that you just had to get a fix, but what exactly was the fix you were looking for? Contrast that with what you actually got. It will help break the connection between gambling and feeling good. The reality and the possible are two very different things, Trevor.
The industry thrives on telling us what what is possible, what we ‘could’ win, but they don’t say, ‘come and play with us today, you could lose your job, your wife, your house’. I wonder how gambling adverts would go if they actually told us the truth!…..( If Carlsberg did gambling ads…..) :)

Chin up, Trevor, you have so much to be proud of. Just keep going and slow things down to just a day at a time. You have really helped people since coming on this site and I’m really glad to have you around.

Hope Nik is doing okay, seems to have gone quiet. Hope Kate is well too. Joanne, Loser, hope you are still on top form. J.B.O, James, Mat and everyone else, keep it a good day.

Trevor
Reply

Hi Jane,
Thanks for the post and the incredible insights. The dopamine hit is the devil in disguise. Just wished I could channel that dopamine hit into another activity. A challenge for me….

It’s weird that we create barriers to gambling then within no time at all we trying to find chinks in it or find that backdoor opening we had put into the barrier by accident….not.

I’m remorseful for gambling and also the amount. It was about half a weeks wages, but it happens white frequently. Really need to stop. Told my wife that I really need her support on this. It’s tough but the alternative of a lifelong addiction to slot machines cannot me justified or continued.

Thanks again Jane and everyone else who posts.

Jane
Reply

Yes, Trevor, we are so good at being our own worst enemy. I told my partner straight, after January….don’t trust me, don’t trust what I say or what I am doing. I was angry that he let me do that to myself but it was not his fault. I do need a tighter reign though. I am sneaky and manipulative when I want to bet.
I don’t deserve trust yet. I need to earn that trust and so far every time I am trusted to be alone, I look for ways to gamble. It crosses my mind quite a few times and that message confuses me because gambling has cost me so much and caused so much hurt that I both hate it and love it???
What I did by writing down the credit card details before handing them over proved that I still try to leave a little door open as you mentioned in your post.
I resent many things I try to do and that is part of the healing process, learning to accept that we are not really sacrificing gambling, because it is harming us, we are not giving up something fun, we only feel that way because we have learnt to lean on gambling and see it as ‘ours’. It is better to willingly give it up, knowing that it is hurting us, than have it taken away and then feel anger at ‘missing out’. We have to work at losing that notion of missing out because we really aren’t missing out at all but all the hype on telly has us believing otherwise.
At least you stopped short of causing yourself too much damage, but it is good that you are remorseful as it proves that it is about much more than losses. Of course losing money hurts, it hurts me no end, I give advice but I cannot take it, Trevor. At least I see my own mistakes but I too feel trapped by my own self sometimes. It literally is like a battle going on inside and I feel like I am just an arena for it to play out and have very little say in which side wins. The worst thing sometimes, Trevor is knowing how to fix this, but refusing to, or doing something positive, then undoing it….It’s so frustrating!

I know that I have a say in this but at the time, because I still feel drawn to gambling, I am guilty of allowing the side that wants to gamble to win because sometimes I know that deep down, I still want to.
I feel stable at the minute and doing good. Not sure what day I am on but I’m just keeping my head down and carrying on.
Hope you feel better soon. It sucks to have your days and moods governed by gambling.
Here’s to getting back control.

Trevor
Reply

Having a bad time. Just lost a wedge in a nearby town…just had to get a fix. Now feel crap, remorseful and useless. You would think it couldn’t be hard…..not doing something. Just shows how the addition has programmed us. Can’t do 10 days in a row.
Up hill battle I can’t lose. I need to sort this out.

mat
Reply

Thanks for your comments, its not that I gamble all the time I gambled twice in past 30 days, I don’t think its the job either, I work out in the gym try to eat well, coffee, desserts I cut a bit on alcohol now I will limit to maybe once per week and just few glasses of wine, trying to lose weight.
What I find I am not happy with being just here I feel out of place I don’t have friends I am single this place feels strange I have no connection and no roots only two family members. tried looking for that meetups things ages ago but gave up as I had nothing in common with no one in my age just general weird people.
I have plenty of hobbies and talents but I am just really lonely I cant for some reason build any friendships or even meet people. I am not as depressed at the moment and health got a bit better maybe it was the alcohol making me sick.

Jane
Reply

I’m sorry you feel this way, Mat. It is really hard for some of us to create lasting meaningful bonds with others. I find that many times, I push people away because I know that deep down, people don’t make me happy, if anything, they annoy me because most I meet are shallow and addicted to their phones.

I’m not naturally social but I am sociable, if that makes sense. I will not seek out the company of others because I am happy with my limited social circle. I made it limited because I like it that way.
Being lonely is not the same as being alone. You are lonely, and perhaps prefer to be around others, where I prefer to be alone. For me, my mental health made me want to be alone, but it hasn’t made me lonely. Doing things my way has made me happy, far happier than when I was trying to fit in with others.
It was constant pressure from friends to go out, meet up, do this and that, that made me feel out of sorts because it wasn’t want I wanted to do. I had a group of friends who were very outgoing, always going out to be seen and always looking for me to go along too, never taking no for an answer, so I had to part company because I felt like I didn’t fit with the group. It just wasn’t my scene, despite being friends since little school.
They would call me boring and old for not wanting to go out all the time and it got me down and made me feel weird and different.
It’s important to surround yourself with people who make you feel positive and who respect you for who you are and don’t try to change you. Going to places that interest me ensures that I mix with people with like minded interests.

Feeling lonely can damage your mental health and in turn your mental health can then lead to more loneliness, but everyone has different social needs and it is important to find a level you are comfortable with.
There’s two different types of loneliness, one where you are surrounded by people that you don’t relate to or connect with, and the other, where you are isolated and don’t see or talk to people much at all.

Do you game online at all, Mat? The online gaming community can be a great place to mingle and chat to others and play Xbox etc…..Gaming has got very sociable these days and can be a nice way to spend the evening knowing you are doing the same thing as others and having that feeling of being part of something. Talking to people online can be a good way of building connections and it is an easier place to start than face to face. You could even start a blog about yourself and how life has been for you since moving here and others in a similar situation might reach out and share their stories with you. There may be others in your area who have a similar background that you can connect with and relate to.

You may even think about getting a dog. Kate is having a blast with Woody and it has helped her get about a bit and lifted her depression too. I am far happier with my animals than with people. Animals and food make me happy. :) People are overrated and I am happy the way I am with just my immediate family, but you are living alone and a certain level of interaction keeps people from feeling cut off, so have a think about some of these ways you might be comfortable with.
Whatever you do, Mat, just keep away from gambling and chat on here whenever you want to talk or feel lonely.
All the best. x

Isla Joanne
Reply

The only good thing about scratch cards compared to a choc bar was that they were CALORIE -FREE ! Lol But then again most of us gained a few pounds whilst gambling so perhaps there’s some hidden calories . I agree scratchies are a waste of money.

Excellent post to Mat , Jane.

Have a good weekend folks , all the very best.

Jane
Reply

Mat, for me it was always about a month to 6 weeks. Then back to the crap again, but I figured out that this was happening because for one, I was expecting it to happen, for two, I let it happen, and for three, I was still looking at this as giving up something that I liked to do so I would resent my decision to stop.

Like Loser says, the key to going longer is filling your time well. I know you are at work, but I think part of the reason why you struggle may be because you don’t find your job enjoyable so you might come home discontent instead of being able to relax, pleased with your life and efforts. You may be restless and unsettled because you are not getting that satisfaction back from the time you put in at work so when you come home, you might want something to give you that boost. You should be able to come home and chill, relax, with some good food and down time, but if you are bored and unhappy you might need more because there is a sense of feeling unfulfilled. Something has to fill that void, and that something for us, is gambling.

I went through a patch of not feeling useful or needed. I didn’t feel appreciated and I didn’t feel necessary. I got quite depressed because it is really important to feel a sense of worth. I took up gambling and it made me feel like some VIP, throwing money around like it meant nothing. I felt that I connected to gambling and that it gave me something back for my time and made my decisions feel valid and worthwhile when I won. It’s really important to use our talents because when we have them and we don’t use them, we grow stale and we can lose that fire that makes us want to get up in a morning. The problem with gambling is instead of using our own selves and those around us to be happy, we sit alone and expect a machine to make us happy and we can forget how to function and be happy without it. The longer we do this for, the more we die as a person.

Using our talents helps us find out who we are and what we are about and this makes a person happy because it not only makes us feel useful, but it gives us opportunities. It makes us stand apart from others and show our worth. When people get the most out of who they are and use their abilities to the max, they also find out from this, what makes them tick and what is important to them as a person. In other words, it gives your life meaning and purpose. Something I felt I lacked very much would led to my gambling.

Putting yourself to good use is how you develop yourself, grow and evolve. The last one is most important because when you use your talents and qualities you can turn your life around and away from harmful habits we may pick up along the way. Evolving is what we do best as human beings. We all possess great ability to change because it is in our nature to want to survive.

Forget what happened in your past, Mat, you were a different person then. You can’t go on the past and say that you couldn’t stop then, so why should you be able to do it now because people change, circumstances change and our outlook can change too. We form habits for a number of reasons, sometimes because we enjoy them but sometimes because we aren’t enjoying something else. People take up gambling, smoking, drinking sometimes because they like it but often they are a way of escaping something else that is stressing them out, so to get rid of the bad habits, we have to look at the causes to properly break the cycle.
It’s important to ask yourself if you are happy and if you are not, why settle for that? You are a smart man, you can settle into a different job, something that makes you want to get up in the morning, rather than something that feels like a chore. People overlook job satisfaction because many just work for the money, but we spend so much of our lives working that it makes sense to enjoy what we do because if we don’t, it can affect other aspects of our lives.

Looking back serves no purpose because the past tells you that you are a gambler but it doesn’t tell you that you always will be. I had £25,000 in the bank in the past, I don’t have it now! Things change for better or for worse and we have a say in that in most cases. When it comes to gambling, you definitely have a say in it but the despair comes from feeling that you don’t.
Really wish you well, Mat.
And to everyone, keep it a good day.

LOSER
Reply

Goodmorning Miss Scratch,

Don’t waste your money Joanne buy that candy bar instead! Every 7th scratchie wins and it’s all rigged!
Did you buy that handbag you so wanted?

Mat you can do this but like I said counting days is useless, find the real reason you gamble and deal with it, resolve that problem in your life and all will work out. You remind me of me every 3 weeks was my downfall and the more I went used to turn into every 1 week I would go. I knew I was bored and had too much free time and I knew to find a hobby but couldn’t find anything i loved but now look at me go!

Day 38

If I can do it everyone can!

mat
Reply

Hi all I have been gambling past week few times all progress gone there is always something that comes up.
I don’t know if there is any point counting days as in 10 years I couldn’t stop for good. it often goes to 3-4 weeks and resets.

Isla Joanne
Reply

Every time I go to pay for petrol I have to buy a couple of scratchers! I think most people don’t expect to win on them but just spend a couple of quid on them as a ‘pick me up’ , I often see workmen buying them along with their mid morning snacks. I hope you and your partner have some luck!

I read recently that the national lottery now feels threatened by the rapid rise of on line gambling hence the reason they introduced some more games which pay out smaller prizes ie hot-picks.

Good morning Loser! lol (you’re probably having your breakfast)

Isla Joanne
Reply

I won’t go into the finer details because of course I’m trying to keep my own identity a secret on here but the person who stole my identity was able to borrow large sums of money disguised as me. I only became aware of it when I started to get demands for money. Anyway they finally managed to unravel it , caught the culprit , they got prosecuted and I got letters of apology , etc. It was so stressful and scary that I have kept those apology letters safe to this day. The thing about it was that it was the careless although in fairness to the person it wasnt intentional a government employee who allowed the culprit access to my details. I didn’t have an issue with the Government employee, we all make mistakes, the person felt really bad about it , thankfully they kept their job and the culprit finally got caught and dealt with.

Whenever the online casinos asked for copies of my bank statements etc I always used double-sided tape to blank out as much information as possible so that they only got the information they wanted which was usually to confirm your address.

I did notice last year that a lot of the casinos now seem to be adopting a policy whereby they want you to verify your account within 72 hours of opening it. I too have had accounts frozen when I didn’t verify my account with 72 hours. Towards the end of last year I joined a casino where it said I could deposit up to 500 pounds. I deposited 50, lost it, deposited 100 , lost it , went to deposit more and it got declined. Probably just as well! (Maybe I’ve been deluding myself, it is obvious I’ve been chasing losses as well!). Went on live chat only to be told I couldn’t deposit anymore until I verified myself.
The very next day I was so desperate to gamble that although I hadn’t verified myself I thought I’d chance my hand and try and deposit on that same casino. Guess what, they let me deposit another 150 pounds and of course I lost it. As the fog is slowly lifting from my brain I get quite upset as to what a hold this addiction has had on me…

Have a good day folks.

Jane
Reply

I also blocked out part of my bank statement just on my personal shopping transactions and names of people who had traded with me on ebay, but they wouldn’t accept it as proof because it was partially obscured.
I think as time goes on and the sh*t hits the fan, they will have to start doing far more in terms of protecting people and showing responsibility for the ‘service’ they provide.
We should start to see sites becoming far more vigilant in checking the ages of people who gamble which for me, is the most important factor, rather than always focusing on money laundering and criminal activity. One of the main reasons for verification is to prevent money laundering and to keep gambling ‘clean’. Checking who you say you are is more in their interest than yours. People may try to gamble with ill gotten money and then try to pass it off as coming from a clean source by withdrawing it to their bank accounts. This is what the industry cares about most which is why they mostly only care who you are when you withdraw.

Allowing children to bet and become addicted to these sites is criminal and needs to be something that is addressed far more closely than it currently is. I know kids who gamble underage at my daughter’s school. They get a kick out of it at this stage, but that feeling won’t last.

It doesn’t matter that when found to be underage, the deposits may be returned to the child, because the damage in terms of addiction, may already be done. They are meant to prevent underage gambling, not just underage winning. It is the gambling, after all, which is the prohibited activity for minors, not just the winning.

I bet using my own accounts and then made accounts with the same merchant in my partner’s name after self excluding. The first thing the company does is cross check the account because of the same IP being in use. I gambled in the same way, same games, same bets, same style, same numbers, and I feel strongly that they knew it was me getting round my self exclusion, but because I was losing, they let me hang myself with it because so long as it’s a different name, paypal and email address, they are not responsible, even though they know that addicts do this sort of thing especially to sign up to offers and bonuses more than once.
So long as you lose, they turn a blind eye. They do not FAIL to spot the signs of gambling addiction, they simply IGNORE it so long as it serves their purpose.

Isla Joanne
Reply

Excellent points , Jane .

From personal experience I have twice signed up to casinos that I shouldn’t have signed up to because I was self-excluded from one of their ‘sister’casinos. With the first casino I deposited 100 and they intercepted me when I had about roughly 36 left in my account. I asked them if they would be returning my whole deposit of 100 and they refused and only refunded me the 36.

However more recently , towards the end of last year , I signed up to another site which I shouldn’t have signed up to although it was a genuine mistake . I deposited 200 and had practically lost it all when they intercepted me. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find an email around 10 minutes after they’d cut me off advising me that they shouldn’t have allowed me to play and they had made arrangements to refund me the 200 pounds I had deposited. I did get the money refunded as promised. Of course they weren’t doing this to please me , more so to protect themselves. I think some of the casinos are being extra careful because they do not want to be investigated by the Gambling Commision and run the risk of heavy fines .

The whole industry stinks, they just bend the rules to suit their own purpose. I wish I had never got involved , it’s all so seedy.

Another thing I don’t understand is why a person aged 16 can buy lotto tickets and scratch cards and yet you need to be 18 and over to gamble! Scratch cards are really addictive.

Jane
Reply

Yes, scratchcards are a serious problem for some people and I know you have experienced the lure of scratchcards, yourself. It’s the government’s baby and I think they like to see it as something rather special, separate from other forms of gambling. It was offered to us as a sort of gift, back in the nineties, a bit of fun while supporting good causes, with the chance of getting super rich in the process. However, some would argue that while it makes the odd millionaire, it can leave the rest of us a lot poorer, trying to get a piece of the elusive action ourselves.
As odds go, the ‘house edge’ with scratchcards is ridiculous. It is the biggest rip off when it comes to offering potential returns to its players and I personally don’t enjoy them, but my partner will often bring them back with a pint of milk and a loaf. It’s funny cos I always roll my eyes like HE is wasting money! Huh, the cheek of that one!
Scratchcards seem to be used as a coming of age thing too, often put in birthday cards of the newly turned 16 year old. There is a different mentality surrounding some forms of gambling ins’t there, especially lottery, scratchcards, bingo and tombola and of course, these are still allowed to advertise throughout the day’s programming where other’s only advertise during sports events. One can’t help but notice that the majority of gambling ads in the day are aimed at females, they are the more softer, fun and more social varieties and even though I can still see it’s gambling, the ads don’t have the same affect on me as the more darker lure of the casino ads at night. I honestly think it’s because they are on late, they are forbidden and distinct and I think that appeals to my reckless side.

There was a story about the lottery being linked to underage gambling in the news a while back where it was reported that many 12-15 year olds were able to regularly buy scratchcards. Camelot were told to take action, but it’s rather amusing since even legal sales at the age of 16, are still way below the legal age of other forms of gambling.
Is it just a harmless little flutter or is it a dangerous addiction? The answer to that will probably depend upon your own personal experience but I have read many stories of people being horribly and uncontrollably addicted to scratchcards, both online and in shops and it certainly has more wider reaching possibilities when you consider the cost of some of the scratchcards they now have on offer. When you consider all the talk about getting FOBT stakes reduced to £2, you can quite easily walk in to your local shop and ‘stake’ £10 on a scratchcard as many times as you like. It must be really difficult when people have this kind of addiction because although you can prevent yourself from buying them online, you can’t exactly self exclude from your local Spar.
It is a serious issue and one which I think will struggle to be recognised because it is one of the more ‘innocuous’ forms of gambling but it can still turn into a beast and it can certainly set a person off on the wrong foot if they have an addictive personality.

I guess when it comes to gambling, the legal age is pretty much whatever you can get away with.

J.B.O
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placed ALL my money on one hand of blackjack at the local casino and lost. i go to the local cause it’s straight up cash and with online it takes days/weeks to get it. so depressing when you lose.

Hey Ray, if you read this shoot us an update haven’t heard from you in forever.

Jane
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Sorry to hear that, J.B.O. Are you trying to stop gambling or trying to cut down what you spend? What made you go, had you planned the visit, or was it more of a spur of the moment thing…Was there a trigger for you or did you just want to gamble? Try not to look at it that only losing is depressing, because if you had won, you would still lose eventually. Only the house wins in the long run. Gambling is depressing, full stop. It keeps you down. It suppresses you and makes you need and depend upon it. People are often depressed when they gamble and that can be why they continue to do it. People might gamble because they feel down and then they feel down because they gamble. One feeds the other. We come to see wins and losses as exactly the same thing. Both keep you gambling.
If you do want to stop gambling, exclude yourself from this casino. They are giving you quick cash not for your benefit but so you come and bring it straight back to them. Giving you a large payout in a casino doesn’t exactly guarantee you will go home with it!

It’s the same tactic that they use online, except they delay the withdrawal so that you cancel it and lose it too, because if they pay you quick, you might take it somewhere else. If they delay it, then it can only go back to them because having the money pending is a trigger for addicts who are desperate to play again. Whether you get paid your win in seconds or in days, it will always end up going back to the house.
I am glad to see you posting again and I hope your friend, Ray posts too.
Keep busy and try to forget what happened.
All the best.

J.B.O
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thanks jane. in my early gambling years i had impulse control issues, nowadays i can control my impulses but at times it’s the allure of doubling my money in seconds, i’ve won so much money a hand full of times but i lost much more than i have ever won. last night i just wanted to double my money and took the gamble, lost like usual. i appreciate your effort in trying to help others. thank you.

Isla Joanne
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Thanks for taking the time to post all that information Jane. I’m sure the others found it interesting as well. Gosh you really are a well informed person. That was quite an eye opener for me, I’ve never really understood about cookies, information sharing etc I really am quite naive when it comes to the internet.

Tbc

Isla Joanne
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One of the casinos asked me to send a photograph of myself holding my documents! Towards the end of last year One of the casinos didn’t ask me for verification documents , just photos of the front and back of my bank card. I thought it odd and you’re correct they do share information because when I enquired they informed me that they already had a copy of my verification documents. Of course I was so desperate to get my winings paid out that I didn’t give it a second thought. It’s scary to think what could happen if our information got into the wrong hands. I had my identity stolen when I was in my late twenties, believe me, it’s not something you want to go through. And yet despite that I gave away all my personal information without a second thought, this addiction is very powerful.

It always felt like those casinos were stalking me , I guess they were. I wish I could find a way to outsmart them but I guess the only way is to not give them a penny more.

Thanks again, Jane.

Jane
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Having your identity stolen is very scary, Joanne. I’m sorry you had to go through that. Yes, they love that photographic evidence, passports or ID cards with your face all over it. And lately, everything has to be in full colour too, with all four corners visible….If it is to protect us, then shouldn’t it happen BEFORE we start playing. Legally, a company should check within 72 hours that you are old enough to gamble, and if this has not been proven, then they must freeze your account. This happened ONCE, with Betfred. I made a deposit and it was frozen before I even had the chance to browse the games. I contacted live chat and was told that the deposit had gone through fine, but that in order to use it, I would need to prove my age and identity. Although I was annoyed as an addict, I was appreciative also as it shown moral responsibility at the first instance, rather than allowing a person to spend days or even weeks getting addicted to games before someone stepped in to question it.

All other times, I have never needed to confirm who I was for weeks, until I wanted to withdraw. The gambling commission set these guidelines, but the companies do not adhere to them because many want to give you long enough to play that you will lose the money anyway, and perhaps pick up a nice life long addiction in the process. The companies are also allowed to ask for whatever form of ID they like. Considering that it is unlawful for a company to allow underage gambling as they could have their license revoked, you would think that checking this information is of the highest priority when a new player joins, but it is clear that it is not so much underage gambling that they are keen to protect but making it as difficult as possible to leave with anything except addiction.

Keep it a good day, everyone.

Jane
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Joanne, they see you coming before you’ve even finished setting up your account. There are two important factors to keep in mind. Online gaming companies collect vast amounts of sensitive personal information related to behavioral patterns and finances. The gambling industry has an archive of personal identification records due to the demand of passport and credit card scans, drivers licenses, utility bills and other personal documents in order to verify accounts for withdrawal. Even when you self exclude or close your account, this data is saved permanently unless you go to great lengths to ask for your details to be destroyed and then they will just quote some bureaucratic BS.

Part of the reason all this data is kept and stored is for later use. The data is sometimes sold to other parties to be used to re target us at a later date and keep us gambling since the company is no longer allowed to contact you directly but others are and your business is much sought after.

Gambling companies use third party companies to harvest data on people so they can target not those who have money, but those who do not. Hence the massive bonuses they dangle in front of us around the end of the month when money is running low. It is the lower class and working class that are many more times likely to gamble in order to make ends meet and to self medicate. The companies use cookies to collect sensitive data on people who may be going through divorce, separation, those who are in debt and those who already have credit cards. They know what time of the month you are getting low on funds and will send out ads and emails. They know your pay bracket and they know what sites you are likely to want to join. Thanks to your ID, they know who provides your gas and electricity, who you bank with, they see your bank statements and where you shop and other ads will pop up on those sites in no time too. It is certainly something to think about when we hand over so much sensitive information so easily for the sake of withdrawing a few hundred quid.

They are also notorious for targeting ex gamblers and trying to coerce them back to gambling. If you clear your cache on your laptop or even buy a new one, and don’t gamble on it, it will be no time at all before you start seeing ads for new gambling sites and it will be no coincidence that they will be ones you have yet to self exclude from because they log your IP address.

Emails will start to appear in your inbox, first in spam, then in your main mail. Some of these third party companies even take cuts of your losses. If you click on an ad for a betting site on another website, they both share the profits if your bet loses. They deliberately advertise bets that are likely to encourage a lot of backing but that are very unlikely to come in. The link is traced and the third party company takes a slice of the action too.

How would you feel if I told you that every single click and hover on that laptop is known to them. Every game you play, click on, even think about playing, is logged and used to put you into what is called ‘profile buckets’. They log how long you play for, at what time, what game, how much you spend, your gaming patterns, stakes, repetition, etc and all of this tells the gambling company whether or not they are likely to make a profit from you. If you log in following a heavy loss, beware, because they have profiled you and are waiting for you to come back and chase.

In others words, Joanne, they literally do see you coming. Did you know that when you place a bet and use that link to share your bet on Twitter and Facebook, you are literally playing right into their hands. They will see your friends bets and group you together for observation. It may be that one of the group of friends has a tip off and is sharing it with others on social media…..If you win constantly on roulette but place small stakes, they will know but you won’t be banned, but it’s okay because you also place big stakes on football and lose all the time. Everything you do is watched and monitored. Everything.

If you think anything is random….think again.

Trevor
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Hi Jane,

I don’t bet online but what you have described…the sophisticated approach the gambling industry can obtain and use your data…and others make me feel sick and my blood boil at the same time. Manipulating bastar*s.

I forget how big brother can use lots of data and your own personal transactions to manipulate the owner of the data.

Slot machine free for 6 days. Still having the odd go on the lottery….but if I can keep away from the slots then I’ll be chuffed.

Keep strong everyone. No matter where you are on your journey…do your best. Counting or not counting.

Jane
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Trevor, well done. Yes, targeting your main form of gambling first is a good idea, and then you can choose to cut down on others if you wish when you are stronger. Some can go cold turkey, for others, it is better to whittle it down until it stops mattering. It’s important not to put yourself under too much pressure too soon as this can cause urges and make you regret your decision.
I put up these posts about the tactics the industry use in the hopes that it will anger people into stopping. They know more about us than the government and we have handed them a lot of the information ourselves willingly. The rest they obtain literally by spying on our activities and looking for patterns in our play. My gambling wins and losses have followed a very distinct pattern and it is no coincidence. The lengths they go to, to delve into the lives of vulnerable people in order to further exploit them, is sickening and enough to make me want out.
They are immoral and I would like to see them all gone. If I could take back that very first bet I placed, I would because life just isn’t the same anymore and I have to work at being happy all the time now, when before I connected to things and to people. On the outside, I seem fine, I look fine, but inside, I am empty. I trust in the faith I have of being able to take this one day at a time and slowly take back what is mine and get back a sense of who I am again and what I am about. I’m not happy now, but I am okay and that is just fine with me. Being okay is stable and that is good. I expected too much when I first stopped gambling and I was disappointed. Now, I just try to get by and live in the moment more, being grateful for little, everyday things that keep me grounded.

Keep going, Trevor. You are doing great.

Trevor
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Hi Jane,
Thanks for the encouragement and I hope everyone else keeps being inspired to regain their inner self…it is so important.

As you mentioned in a post and I can relate to this, we become another person while gambling and also trying to cover our tracks or leaving the gambling door slightly open…we become someone we loathe…it is so bewildering and frustrating. That door needs closing, nail It shut with 10 padlocks on.

We need to take every day at a time, be proud of our achievements, but at the same time be mindful that gambling can trap us again. We must try and resist when this happens.

Let’s keep the hobbies going, make new relationships, renew our commitment to ourselves and our family. Start living again, not living a lie. We can do this each and every one of us.

So here three cheers to the people on the journey…Jane, Isla Joanne, Loser, Nik, Monica, Kate, Andy, Duncan, James and me and anyone I forgot.

Jane
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Ha, ha, I don’t mind sharing 100 days with you, Loser. I’m counting on you this time, so don’t let me down. No pressure!
Joanne, good for you. That seems ridiculous that they allow you to withdraw a bonus like that. I guess they never expect people to even think that far ahead. They were obviously counting on people just seeing it and blowing it. Yes, £500 is a lot of money, but my trouble is, I still tend to view it against how much I’ve already lost, so by comparison it seems nothing. This is the trap I fall into and this is the reason I can’t take a win because deep down, I know it is only pennies back, even if in actuality it is still a lot of money.
In essence, it shows us how pointless continuing to gamble is. Many of us have lost so much already and we cannot afford to risk enough to get back anywhere near what we’ve already lost and so we are only ever thrown the odd breadcrumb which just keeps us following the same twisted path.

I can win money and it doesn’t excite me but I lose it and it bothers me a hell of a lot. The swing is ridiculous. The same amount of money won means little, because it won’t change my current situation but to lose it means so much more because it is yet another set back.
It’s because of being desensitised to the value of money. It’s stupid because this has only affected me in gambling terms. I go to the supermarket and deliberate over brands and am very careful with prices. I buy wisely and use Top Cashback and look for promo codes and discount codes for the sake of saving the odd quid. But with gambling, there is no limit to my stupidity and I think the reason is again because of the secrecy and anonymity which seems to trigger the other character in me.
Online, it doesn’t compute as real world spending for me. I am removed from responsibility almost when I gamble because I’m just pressing buttons, not handing over real money and there is also the element of things could change any minute, and I could be up again. We always think it isn’t over until it’s over, but really it is over as soon as we start gambling again.
I am two different people and that’s something that worries me. There is the real world me who cares very much for her family and is for the most part, selfless, caring, grounded and relatively sensible. Then there is the virtual me, that has ruined her family’s financial situation and hurt those she loves because of her own lies and selfishness. I am both people and that scares me because some days I never know which one is going to win out.
Day 74……Oooh…exciting!
Kate, Monica, Mat…don’t be a stranger. Hope you are all okay.
Keep it a good day, everyone.

Isla Joanne
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Well done on day 74 , Jane. The guy I wa s waiting for turned up, he was lucky he got that kit-kat with his coffee, they were sorely tempting me, he just made it in the nick of time! lol Now I’ve got a sore head coming on because of the smell of his aftershave. I hate the smell of Hugo Boss, and he’s stunk out my office! Lol Okay, more like portacabin! Lol

I too prior to gambling was good with money, always used Topcashback, Quidco etc. I was one of those extreme couponeers!. I have stacks of deodorants, bottles of shampoo, stain remover products etc in my garage all bought free with coupons. I ‘ll need to live to I’m 200 to use them all! Lol

Then like you Gambling made me lose all respect for money. However with me , if I lost a lot of money gambling this would make me really careless with money and I would also overspend on food , etc. There was almost a feeling of ‘I’ve lost so much already , a few more quid won’t make much difference ‘. I did go out to Poundland and bought a couple of cheap pocket size note-pads and I’m keeping a record of every penny I spend. Sounds depressing I know but it’s really helping me get back the value of money.

Tbc

Isla Joanne
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I’ve had a few bonuses in the past but nothing on that level. When I joined a new site , I would always refuse bonuses with wagering requirements because I didn’t fully understand them! I don’t want to say the name of the casino in case it tempts others.
In America it’s common to get bonuses that give you the option to withdraw but it’s a new one on me. Anyway got the email confirming that the withdrawal has been processed so it’s looking good. Ive probably played in the region of 50 casinos and I’ve only left 3 of them in profit! Anyway , I’ve finally let go of all the losses, the money is never coming back and that too is helping me to stop.

When I first saw the money in my account my first response was that of excitement and then for some reason I became really annoyed because it proved how much those casino’s are raking it in! Sometimes I think those online casinos ‘tip’ each other off! It’s almost as if they know my gambling habits before I’m even through the door.

Less of my ramblings, all the best folks.

The smell of that aftershave is almost gone, the bloke had a pony-tail, YUK, I like a bloke to look like a bloke. I’m an old fashioned girl at heart!

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