NEW ROLE RE­VEALS HER SHOCK­ING AD­DIC­TION On­line gam­bling left me £70k in debt and nearly cost me my life

The People - - News Features -

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.