Having a gambling addiction can end up being catastrophic for the affected individual’s life, as former army major Justyn Larcombe found out the hard way. Within three years of placing his first £5 bet, he found himself divorced, £70,000 in debt, and unemployed. He had gone from a high-flying, successful man earning six figures annually and driving a Porche to having to move back to his mother’s house and working to pay off debt. And it all started as ‘a bit of fun’.
How does a gambling addiction spiral out of control?
Larcombe points out that the illness is progressive. Many people do not know before it’s too late that they are among the 0.9 per cent of individuals who suffer from a pathological addiction. Bets start out small, but soon larger bets are being placed, and then even larger ones to recoup losses. One of Larcombe’s biggest bets was on a sure thing in a tennis match – he lost the £17,000 bet.
His wife soon noticed the expenses on the bank statements and took the children and left him. He spent £27,000 on his corporate credit card and was fired from his job. In total, Larcombe squandered £750,000 in three years.
What role does online gambling play?
According to Larcombe, online gambling is becoming a catastrophe – especially for the youth of today. Although the betting age restriction is 18, he found at a recent talk at a Tonbridge school that eighty per cent of pupils aged between 16 and 17 were already gambling online using their smartphones.
“What I’m worried about is our young people. Gambling is so easy now that you do it on your smartphone. And who are the most adept at smartphone technology? Young people… If you are between the ages of 16-23, you are three times more likely to have a problem with gambling than someone who gambles if they’re older,” he said.
Who is to blame for this phenomenon?
Larcombe places the blame for this trend squarely on the shoulders of advertisers who glamorise gambling as well as manufacturers of children’s games that teach kids risk and reward from an early age. Even his 7-year-old son was found playing a game where the only objective was to accumulate virtual points to buy various goods and erect buildings in a virtual place. “One of the things you can buy in the game is a casino. So you go in, put in some of your coins and generally you’ll win.”
One of the companies that promotes these types of games with children is Atari, which concerns Larcombe immensely.
Where can you get help?
At Recovery Lighthouse, we have friendly and experienced staff to help you with all your questions about gambling addiction. Our clinic is geared to help you break the psychological hold that the addiction has on you and to teach you coping skills and other mechanisms to help you live a life free of gambling. Many of our counsellors are recovering addicts themselves, so they know what you are going through, but they are all trained to help you deal with the illness every step of the way.
There is no shame in admitting that you have an addiction – whether it is gambling or any other kind of addiction. Addiction is an illness that needs to be treated as soon as possible to prevent it from wrecking your life. Our website has all the information that you need to make an informed decision about getting treatment and recovering from the crippling effects of your addiction.
We are one step away from helping you. All you need to do is acknowledge that you need help and then pick up the phone and give us a call.