During a court hearing on Monday, David Apps, 57, was found to have stolen £11,900 from his mother’s credit card. As reported by the Daily Echo, Apps took the money in order to wager at Spreadex, a popular remote sportsbook.
The crime took place during a visit in July 2023, when, after being trusted with the card, he proceeded to use it at Spreadex and make a total of 31 transactions. According to Prosecutor Nicola Sully, his actions could be seen as “an abuse of trust,” and she put an emphasis on the consequences Anne Bates, his mother, has had to face following the theft. In her victim impact statement, Ms Bates told the court that she could not pay her bills and that she was forced to sell her apartment and consider moving to Australia, where her daughter resides. Ms Bates also stated that she could not believe that her son had stolen from her, and that she still loved him, even though she wished he would be held accountable for his actions.
Apps is an ex-police officer, and he currently holds the position of director of operations – special projects at the government of the United Arab Emirates. In spite of his supposedly good financial situation, Emily Lanham, App’s defence attorney, told the court that it was his gambling addiction that led him to max out his own credit cards. She added that his monthly gambling expenses had stood at £5,000 at the time the crime was committed. Lanham also claimed that Apps was remorseful and “willing to provide for his mother.”
Although Apps will not face time in prison, he was ordered by Judge Nicholas Rowland to make monthly payments of £1,500 to Ms Bates, as well as pay compensation for the psychological trauma she has suffered as a result of his actions. Apps will need to prove that he has secured counselling as well. He has until July 15th to fulfil the conditions of this deferred sentence.
Problem Gambling can have a Negative Impact on both the Gambler and Their Family
David Apps’ case is preceded by many similar situations in which untreated gambling addiction has resulted in the individual committing theft or other forms of crime. Earlier this month, Andy May, who is a recovering gambling addict, shared the story of his problem gambling struggles with the BBC. May told the BBC how his journey began and his issues with gambling culminated in him losing all of his savings and stealing over £1.3 million in company money from his employer. Unlike Apps, May was handed a prison sentence once found due to the severity of his crime, and he served two years. After undergoing counselling and treatment, May’s situation improved, and he now works with the GambleAware charity in order to spread awareness of the stigma that surrounds gambling harm.
Another situation that had an ultimately positive resolution is that of recovered problem gambler David Quinti. As reported by the Manchester Evening News, what used to be a fun hobby took a turn for the worse when Quinti found himself wagering exorbitant amounts of money in an effort to chase losses while gambling, which left him with anxiety and an inability to continue working productively. The time he would spend with his family had also deteriorated, and Quinti had even resorted to taking money from his wife’s banking account in an effort to continue betting.
After being told by his eight-year-old son to “stop,” Quinti made the decision to quit gambling, and once he confessed, he was supported by his family and friends. He also received help from the Beacon Counselling Trust organisation and the debt charity Stepchange.
Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.