There are many types of addictions that affect various people around the UK, but those with no experience of this illness tend to believe that alcohol and drugs are the only culprits. Sadly, many individuals are affected by a different type of addiction, and one that is very difficult to recognise until it is at an advanced stage. This â€˜hiddenâ€™ or â€˜secretâ€™ addiction is a gambling addiction.
A gambling addiction can be just as devastating as an addiction to alcohol or drugs to both the individual and his or her family members as it can result in the loss of relationships, jobs, money and homes. It is an ever-increasing problem and one that many blame on the growth of gambling advertising, online accessibility, and fixed odds betting terminals.
The growth of online gambling sites has led to more and more people developing crippling gambling problems. It is possible to bet with a debit or credit card, which gives individuals the illusion that they are not using real money. The fact that online gambling sites are available twenty-four hours a day is another problem; it is now easier than ever to gamble no matter where one is, and all from a computer or mobile device capable of accessing the internet.
The issue of easy accessibility has recently been raised by a coroner after the death of Omair Abbas, who took his life when he lost more than Â£5,000 on an online gambling addiction. Omair went missing in March this year (2016), and his body was found in the River Ely almost two weeks later. Before his death, he had told friends that he was suffering from depression and had expressed suicidal thoughts.
On the day he went missing (March 31st), Omair left the house for work, as usual, saying goodbye to his father Farhat on the way out. Mr Abbas said, â€œHe had never said it like this before. It was if he was saying goodbye for good.â€
Omair also sent his mother Saima a text telling her he loved her, and she commented that this was unusual. His parents felt that something was not quite right, so they contacted Omairâ€™s workplace, only to be told he had not arrived for work. This was despite the fact that he had left the house in his uniform.
Mr and Mrs Abbas were immediately concerned about their son and contacted the police. An investigation began, and CCTV footage from the Grangetown area was analysed. Omair was last seen at 4.52pm on March 31st. On April 13th his body was spotted in the River Ely by Lee Virgo and Callum Price, who were out on the river.
Omairâ€™s bank account was checked, and it was found that he had made a number of transactions to an online betting company. He had maxed out his overdraft, and when police searched his laptop, they found a document addressed to his parents entitled Suicide.
Omairâ€™s cousin, Cameron Raja, spoke of how he discovered that Omair had gambled almost Â£5,500, despite him saying he was only betting Â£10 at a time. Cameron also revealed that one of Omairâ€™s online friends stated that he had been feeling depressed and had talked about taking his life.
The toxicology report of Omairâ€™s body did not show any alcohol or drugs in his system, but he had suffered blunt force trauma to the head which the coroner said was consistent with a fall.
Omair Abbas suffered as a result of his gambling addiction. Like many other gambling addicts, he was unable to confide in those closest to him regarding his illness. This is a very common problem among addicts; sadly, many feel they have no other option but to take their own lives.
- Â Teenager took his own life after gambling addiction left him devastated (Wales Online)