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X Factor winner speaks out about gambling addiction

26 October 2023
Gambling machines 9

Myles Stephenson, 2017’s X Factor winner, has opened up about going to a ‘dark place’ due to his gambling addiction.

The 32 year old member of R&B act ‘Rak-Su’, said that his habit started small with friends but ended with him spending ‘hundreds of pounds’. ‘All I have to do is think back to me losing a ridiculous amount of money at the age of 18, all the way up to 21/22.’

Stephenson cited the accessibility of gambling as a factor in the development of his addiction, saying "you can do it anywhere, on a bus or a toilet, you can do it anywhere in the world".

He was able to shake his addiction by blocking gambling sites on his phone, and with the help of colleagues.

"They're the things I put in place to get my addiction off gambling and until this day, I haven't been back inside a bookmaker, and I am still blocked on all gambling websites."

He’s since partnered with GamCare, a charity focused on supporting those stuck in gambling addictions.

Myles said GamCare have given him ‘a platform to speak on and give people with gambling issues a way to seek help.’

A record 1,389 patients with gambling addictions were referred to the NHS last year. This is up from 1,013 in the previous 12 months and 775 just two years ago.

Tim Cairns, CARE’s gambling policy lead, has previously commented:

“The gambling industry boasts profits of almost £15 billion per annum from British punters. Under current rules, betting companies make voluntary contributions towards addressing gambling harms. But these contributions are woefully inadequate.

“It is time for a substantial, compulsory levy to be placed on gambling companies. Money from this can go to services that free people from the chains of addiction".

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While for some, gambling is just harmless fun, for a significant minority it causes genuine devastation. Our vision is to see laws passed that will help protect vulnerable problem gamblers.

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