NEW ROLE REVEALS HER SHOCKING ADDICTION Online gambling left me £70k in debt and nearly cost me my life
If you do win, it feels good, so you go back on. It’s the buzz and the thrill and the bright lights, the music and the fast spin of the slots.”
Despite hearing of others who had got into debt playing online casinos and bingo, Kelly thought her new hobby was just harmless fun.
But she was soon addicted and hiding her habit from her partner, son and everyone around her. She said: “There are chatrooms on the sites. A message popped up from one player which read, ‘I can’t believe I’m £13,000 in debt.’ I was reading it, thinking, ‘How on earth do you get 13 grand in debt doing this?’
“But it quickly takes hold. Not even six months after my first spin I was £10,000 in debt and had maxed out my first credit card. Looking back, I can’t believe my bank let me keep going.
“I was playing for eight hours a day, every day – hiding it from everyone – and could easily lose £100 in just five seconds. It only takes a second to click, spin and lose it.
“It doesn’t feel like real money. It felt like playing Sonic the Hedgehog when I was a kid, with the lives and top score at the top of the screen.
“I would be losing more than £500 every day, easily – sometimes more.
“I’d get up in a morning and, as soon as my partner went to work and my son went to school I’d sit all day on my laptop just spinning on the fruit machines.
“I’d max out one card, then I’d apply pp y for another one. Then another. I got so desperate I used to get into my car and think, ‘I’ll wrap myself around a tree and end it. Then it’s only me and the tree who would get hurt.’”
Kelly eventually told her partner and found the help she needed.
Since 2014, she has been paying back her debt at £300 a month and has helped other addicts recover.
She said: “For someone like Sheridan Smith to portray what I’ve been through and for it to be seen on television is a huge deal. It will reach millions. She is such an icon.”
Speaking about online gambling