Daniel Williams

Recovering Problem Gambler Opens Up about How Gambling Addiction Landed Him in Prison

Recovering Problem Gambler Opens Up about How Gambling Addiction Landed Him in PrisonIn a recent interview with the BBC, Andy May, who spent two years in prison for theft, talked about his struggles with gambling and how they ultimately drove him to steal more than £1.3 million to fund his addiction. May is currently volunteering with the independent charity GambleAware, which this November revealed that, according to survey data, 64% of UK adults who suffer from gambling addiction are afraid of opening up about their struggles due to stigma. This led to the launch of a campaign that aims to address the stigma that surrounds gambling harm, and May hopes that by bringing attention to his story in partnership with GambleAware, he will be able to help others gain the courage to look for support.

He began by explaining that his venture into the world of gambling started with him setting aside between £5 and £10 per week for football bets, not seeing the hobby as potentially dangerous. As his bets escalated, however, he would soon find himself with monthly expenses of £500 when it came to gambling. May’s first period of struggling with gambling addiction ended following his failure to not wager the money he and his partner had set aside for a house deposit. After this incident, he swore off gambling and successfully abstained for seven years. May emphasised that he did not reach out to charity organisations to seek help during that period and instead opted to deal with the problem on his own.

May Relapsed Seven Years After he Quit Gambling for the First Time

May Relapsed Seven Years After he Quit Gambling for the First TimeThe issue resurfaced when May came across a gambling promotion ad on TV, which aired as he was watching the World Cup. The advert presented viewers with the opportunity to take advantage of a free £50 bet, and he took up the offer. This single instance of vulnerability is all it took for May to once again begin wagering irresponsibly on the regular.

His expenses soon reached amounts that he was unable to afford, and, feeling overwhelmed by the constant need to gamble, he began stealing money from his company and did so for over four and a half years. By the time his employer noticed something was wrong and fired him, he had stolen over £1.3 million, and a year later, he was contacted by authorities. He was arrested not long after, and served two of the four years he had been sentenced to. May explained that the worst consequence of his actions was not prison itself, but the way his family was affected. He continued, describing how what helped him start over was the Epic Restart Foundation, and he also found support by attending Gamblers Anonymous meetings on a weekly basis.

May’s story can ultimately serve as both a cautionary tale, and as an example of just how effective problem gambling resources in the UK can be in helping those in need. May ended the interview by saying that he wished he had had the bravery to seek assistance sooner, and he encouraged those who are struggling to open up about their problem gambling issues and reach out.

Daniel Williams

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.

Daniel Williams

Author: Jerry Lewis