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No more gambling but....  


My husband has had a problem with online gambling for a long time. Culminated in me finally issuing him with an ultimatum about a year ago. When he finally realised he was about to lose me and the kids, he sought counselling and hasn't gambled since.

I still check bank statements from time to time to check he hasn't been gambling. 

Just checked online banking this morning and I see that he has been spending money on purchasing in-app packs of lives for a game a bit like candy crush that he plays. So he's not gambling but he's got some sort of compulsive behavopur going on. He's spent about £100 in the past month. Which is pennies compared to what he used to gamble away.

I know that when i speak to him about it he won't think it is a big deal because it isn't actually gambling. But i feel hurt yet again. 

Does anyone else have experience of this? Where do we go from here? 

Posted : 18th May 2020 7:21 am
Merry go round

Hi esscee my husband gambled however much anyone did, said, begged. He's an addict and while he could get money he would gamble. Even a £1 for coffee.

In the end I was the one who sought help. I got support and advice for myself. Whatever we think that it's 'their ' problem, it affects us too.

Paying to play. It's an opinion but some say 'yes it's gambling' others say 'no'. I think 'it's keeping the fire burning '. It's something that's bothering you.

So it's not about 'we' it's about 'you/me'. Unfortunately checking bank accounts occasionally doesn't stop a gambler. He knows you haven't been checking every day. Do you have credit checks as well?

Addiction is a progressive illness that's starts small and ends up very dangerous. 

I think online games etc are all very addictive. It's about finding healthy ways to fill the time you used to spend gambling. 

Pick a calm time when he's not playing the game and show him how much money he's spent. Tell him it's bothering you. No ultimatum. Try and explain that it may be a 'trigger '. 

If he is aware of his compulsive gambling, he should be aware of how this is risky. He should be considering how you feel.

There are many diaries that are written by people who haven't gambled for years and fall back into it. 

We can only control ourselves so therefore we can only help or change ourselves. 

In my situation I wanted to educate myself on what was going on. Communication is very important so you want to be able to talk about things rather than arguing. 

This is an example, my husband plays space invaders on his iPad when he's watching tv. So I asked him if he paid for the game. 

There is support online from gamanon, go to website, meetings 7-9 all anonymous, just ask for opinion or advice. Or call gamcare or read up, there are many books about addiction. Read some diaries. These are all options, but I would definitely keep my wits about me.

Posted : 18th May 2020 8:41 am
Mr Grumpy

Hi EssCee

 Im afriad I have never expericance this with ingame add ons. However by the sounds of it you are not to concernd about the money as it appears relitivly low compared to the past issue you have experianced but more the fact he may be leading on to other things . I personally would would talk to him at first very causal and express your concerns as hes not liing to you if he admits hes been doing this. I personally think if he lies and trys to hide what hes been spending then this is where the problem begins. 

Im afarid my opinion is a little vague. I think you need to chat first and express your concerns. State the facts and your concerns. But dont be do it in any anger as if it was me I listen to my wife more when she asks me and not tells me. 

I wish you all the best 

Posted : 18th May 2020 8:50 am

Thank you. I have spoken to him today. He doesn't think it's a big deal, thinks that it's nothing like gambling and that i am over reacting. He's angry that I've compared it to gambling. 

Posted : 18th May 2020 12:12 pm

Hi Esscee,

Hopefully my experience can help.

There are two ways to look at this. He's not gambling, he's playing a game that's fun for him and it's costing £100 a month. No more than a  few rounds of golf a month might cost so not really a problem, unless you are absolutely skint in which case that's a different conversation.

But, and this for me is the important part, as a compulsive gambler I tend to have a compulsive nature. Not in everything but I found I did with certain games. I could download an app and play quite happily but the more I played the more I wanted to play. Some games have features that you can buy to move onto the next stage quicker, or loot boxes which you can buy to strengthen your character. Again, not so much of a problem if it's affordable.

But, and this time it's a really big but, the cost of it, the affordability, money wasn't the problem. Just like compulsive gambling, although the money is important, the real problem was me. I guess that doesn't make a lot of sense when it's the debt and money that gets us into trouble, but at a certain stage problematic or compulsive gamblers use gambling as an escape, just like an alcoholic escapes into a bottle. The money is irrelevant. If I could have gambled with coconuts  I would have been out shaking the palm trees every day!

My problem was I started to act like I did when I was gambling. I lied about how much time I played. I put the game playing before other things. I lied about the cost, despite it only costing a fraction of what I had gambled. I wasn't sleeping because I was playing the stupid game. Suddenly it all became about the game! Luckily my experience with Gamblers anonymous gave me enough insight and understanding and I came to a decision to delete the app. What a relief that was, to get my mind back. I know someone else who racked up £10,000 playing a war game, so although I said the money isn't everything, it can add up!

My advice is to just talk to him, explain your concern and just ask him to think of his behaviour with this game. Ask him to be honest to himself and just think does his behaviour remind him of when he was gambling. It might not yet and it might never be a problem, but for me I didn't like how I felt playing it so I came to the decision to delete it. You're meant to be a partnership, not keeper and keepee. and that means talking to him and letting him come to his own decision but hopefully taking your feelings into account.

Sorry it's long winded but I hope that helps a little.



Posted : 18th May 2020 12:52 pm

I agree with Chris. It's not the spending of money per se that is the problem, but rather the mechanisms behind it. When I was gamble free a while back I played Fifa Ultimate Team for a while. It started out as innocent but after a while I started to purchase some virtual card packs. Then there were limited edition card packs for sale and I bought a bunch of them. Easily spending more than 100 euro's in one sitting and staring at the screen hoping a good player would pop up out of the pack. This is the same mechanism as playing slots and hoping for a big win. Technically I did not stop gambling at all. I just found a different outlet.

Like Chris said, if he could gamble with coconuts he would shake the palm tree all day long (I loved that metaphor lol, made me laugh). It is likely that your partner is using the game as an escape and is doing so in a compulsive manner. The fact that you said he got defensive when you wanted to talk about it makes it even more likely in my opinion.

Then again, you also don't want to harass someone for spending money on something they like. It's a difficult problem and it's all about subtle nuances in intention I guess.

Thanks for sharing your story here. Keep us posted and I wish you all the best!

This post was modified 3 weeks ago by Reminder
Posted : 18th May 2020 6:16 pm

Hi EssCee and Welcome.

My view on those games is that they are not healthy and they are set up to take money because its about buying lives rather than skill.

Now he can buy games straight away for a few pounds or buy him a games console and some second hand games.

I dont play games like the ones you mention. I tried some and realised they are just money grabbers from people with less patience and resolve to reject them..They are not worth hundreds of pounds to play. They are set up as couch potato play and designed to be highly addictive for the wrong reasons. I find them very devious and even sinister in their mentality.

They are like gambling in my view because the play is so random that he will run out of lives quickly. They are amoral in my view because some people have ended up spending hundreds and even thousands on them

If he likes games he can do much better. Buy him an xbox 360 for £30 and he will get hundreds of hours of play from games costing £3 each...proper games and not silly mobile phone money grabbers.

Im not saying every mobile phone game is like that but he only needs to spend say £2 to buy some good games for his phone that dont need in game purchases.

£100 is a lot of money to be wasting on a game like you mention. You are not wrong and I do feel you need to help him away and towards something better

Best wishes from everyone on the forum

This post was modified 3 weeks ago 2 times by Joydivider
Posted : 19th May 2020 12:09 am

Hi EssCee, 

When most people seek help for a gambling addiction, they have usually dug a massive hole of debt and turmoil and they can dig no further as they have hit rock bottom, their mind is fixated on the debt they have created and want to fix it. As they are a compulsive gambler they are told they cannot gamble anymore and to take it one day at a time.

But the crux of the issue is nothing to do with debt or gambling, its all to do with our behaviour. When I took an honest look at myself I could see that gambling was my comfort blanket, so while my head was full of turmoil this allowed me to switch off and all troubles/worries faded while I was in this bubble. So its this escape, thats what I was addicted to.

We all have varying levels of escapism, we ay surf the web, scroll through social media posts and comments, go shopping online etc, its perfectly normal, however the problem comes for people who struggle to regulate this, they are usually compulsive people who would spend hour after hour in the bubble. If it becomes unhealthy then its a problem. 

If he just spends a few hours each week on the game then it seems ok, but if he is on it constantly then it is an issue. You have every right to raise your concerns with him, and you have every right to be able to view his accounts, emails, whatever you need so their is full transparency. 


Posted : 20th May 2020 10:35 pm
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