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Gambling should be "seen as a health concern", says ex gambling addict

27 March 2024
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Sam Perry, a 33-year-old from Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, has shared his journey from spending £60,000 on gambling within two years to supporting others in overcoming similar challenges.

He calls for gambling to be "seen as a health concern".

Introduced to gambling in 2018, Perry became quickly engrossed and found himself gambling for hours daily, significantly impacting his social life and financial stability.

Perry's turning point came after exhausting his overdraft on gambling, prompting him to seek help from Aquarius, a part of the National Gambling Support Network.

Five years on, Perry now works as an outreach gambling practitioner with Aquarius, offering support to others facing similar struggles.

He advocates for less stigma around gambling and emphasises the importance of support and public awareness campaigns, like those by GambleAware, in addressing gambling as a serious health issue.

“Campaigns have enormous weight when it comes to changing public perceptions and should be reminding us that help is available and seeking it as a sign of strength, not weakness at all,” Sam said.

“Gambling should be seen as a health issue – it deserves the same attention and resources of other conditions, we mustn’t wait for the individual to hit rock bottom.

“When I worked in the betting shop, no one was trained on how to spot the signs.”

Looking back on his experiences, he said: “I used to think gambling would make me feel better than reality, but now I’ve found other things.

“I do lots of fishing, acting, joined the gym and I find entertainment through other ways.

“A lot of people don’t see gambling as a serious problem, but it can be crushing to go through.

“I’d encourage anyone who thinks they might have a problem to talk to someone about it.”

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