Hi, I’m a new member and have really scared myself with how out of control I was today.
My dad was and is into horse racing and although quite a small stakes gambler has been very successful over many years. He taught me how to read form and other skills and as a result I too have been betting on horses for a couple of decades now for small stakes and most years have made a respectable annual profit.
Recently for no logical reason other than seeing a documentary on it I have started laying on the b*****r exchange, in essence becoming the bookmaker by offering prices on horses and collecting the stake if the horse I laid lost.
The danger of laying is that you will consistently win but when you don’t and the horse you laid has won, well you lose quite a bit in one go.
Today at Royal Ascot after many successful lays I got it badly wrong and then made the stupendously stupid decision to chase my losses. I’ve never chased in my life when backing but for some reason I could not cope with accepting my lay was wrong today and decided I couldn’t get it wrong twice after the winning run I had been on. Wrong! Ok very bad but there’s no way I could get it wrong three times in a row... wrong!
£2,500 later and I am shocked at how out of control I got today.this has never happened to me before in 20 years and I feel like I’ve been in a nightmare. The most horrible thing about this beyond the fact I feel like a great big mug is how quickly I lost the cash. It must of been within 30 minutes. It normally takes me a month to earn this level of cash and I lost it in 30 minutes.
Well, due to my successful backing of horses over the years and normally frugal saving, this hasn’t decimated me and I’m not in the horrid position of having no money until the next pay day... but I’ve been scared out of my wits today. This morning I had that £2,500 sitting in my bank account. This evening it is sitting in someone else’s account. My desire to chase the losses has gone as sanity has returned but I’m still disgusted with myself.
I’ve shut my b*****r account and have lost any desire to have a bet of any description now. It feels a bit better publicly shaming myself here today, I feel I deserve to feel ashamed for how I have behaved today. I could have donated this amount to families really struggling in the pandemic and instead I have just done the equivalent of burning it. I’ve spent £2,500 for absolutely nothing in return other than upset.
Thank you for reading.
Your conscience and remorse can be used in your favour. I along with many others on this forum with well established gambling habits would be looking for ways to recover the loss in your situation - instead you’ve taken a step back, taken stock and had a key moment of clarity. This is an encouraging sign.
The other key thing here is one lapse in judgement is not worth berating yourself for. £2,500 is a material sum to anyone but pales into insignificance when you compare it to some stories on here. You’ve been able to find this yourself without any debt and you seem to appreciate the value of money you’ve lost (this hurts now but will help you in the future).
Something you might consider enacting a “deposit limit” on your account. You’re probably familiar but just in case - most bookies allow you to define a limit up to your choosing and in a time f of your choosing (ie £100 a month) to limit deposits to your account. You can remove them with 24 hours notice so they’re not the best tool if you’ve truly lost control but it stops you tunnelling into the moment where you’re not thinking clearly. Distracting yourself for 24 hours is normally enough to clear your head and decide the limit was a good idea.
The easier answer is to enact one of the barriers to all gambling platforms (gamban/Gamstop). You seem very similar to me in that you genuinely enjoy the sport of racing (I could happily sit and watch any sport at all) and a little flutter enhanced the enjoyment. Somewhere along the line the balance tipped for me. I found my stakes increasing and the sporting events I used to enjoy (Cheltenham for example) just brought me more anxiety than excitement thinking about how much money I could potentially lose over the course. The barrier brings back enjoyment for the sport not the dopamine hit from winning money.
But hey - I don’t want to lecture. As I said above you’ve had a momentary lapse and beating yourself up is part of the process. Being ashamed of what you’ve done will prevent you doing the same thing in the future. Your life is not ruined and you are not an addict.
Report back if/when you feel you need to but rest assured you are not the first person to have made a costly one off error at the great fortune of the bookies. Make it a cheap one and cut out this kind of habit now and you won’t regret it.
without sounding too melodramatic to lose 2,500 in 3o mins is a pretty serious problem whatever your financial position
gambling addiction has a fantasic way of making you rationalise the addiction
"oh its only xyz i can work some overtime next month and make that back "
"well i won xyz last month so i suppose i havent really lost much "
"others have lost a lot more than me its ok "
these are all common narratives the gamblers mind works upon its what helps to keep them hooked
in order to recover you really have to admit to yourself that wow i have taken a hit here i dont ever want to take another one
never underestimate the power the addiction has over you
Well the positive thing here is that I completely understand that the £2,500 that was mine has gone and is no longer mine. The strong compulsion to chuck a load more into my b*****r account and chase after the losses has well and truly departed. I took a tough hit but there is nothing I can do about it now other than learn from the experience.
You’re spot on that I do love the sport of horse racing and thoroughly enjoy going to meetings and watching the races, very often with no interest in backing a horse for most the races. And as mentioned in my previous post, I can look back on just over 20 years of fairly consistent profits by measured and sensible stakes that I can afford. I never made life changing amounts but it was useful pocket money at the end of the year.
Yesterday has had a psychological effect on me though. I definitely will never lay a horse again. It’s not my thing. I’m sure with expertise and the right software people do make profits by laying but I am certainly not one of those people. When I back a horse I am sensible and enjoy the thrill of testing myself against the bookies win or lose. But in my short time of laying horses, I never enjoyed it and was always anxious as the loss was higher than losing a normal bet. And this was the first time in my life I had a compulsion to chase losses, I think because I was upset my 3 or 4 weeks of carefully built up profit went within one losing lay.
Anyway, this loss of control for the first time ever has really shaken me and I have decided to give myself the rest of the year off from any form of betting activity. If in January I feel I want to go back to backing as I have for the past few decades then I have the option of putting a couple of hundred pounds in my account and testing the water but I will only do so if I have a feeling of missing horse racing for the rest of the year. But I will never lay another horse for the rest of my life as it seems a very dangerous way of gambling that can very quickly get out of control if you start to chase losses. I think laying works the same way as I’ve heard roulette does from reading posts here, i.e. you seem in control, can even chase your money back successfully most the time, leading to false senses of security...and then you hit the bad run and within no time you’re shell shocked at your stupidity!
Thank you for the feedback Givemethebuzz. I understand the points you make which are all well made. What I can admit to is being confused by yesterday’s behaviour. Am I an addict? Perhaps I am and won’t admit it yet. Then again for the past 20 years I have happily bet on horse racing, always sensible sums, been relatively successful and yet never really worried about a loss and never chased a loss.
what I 100% agree with is losing £2,500 in 30 minutes can not be diluted in any way. It’s crazy, sad, and completely lacking in logic and not to be underplayed. Yes I’m not in debt but I’m also not a rich man and a few more of those episodes and I really would be in debt very quickly.
in the past month the only change I made was to the type of betting I.e. changing from backing to laying and clearly this was a huge mistake. I clearly do t have the psyche to lay. Whether this represents an underlying deep seated addiction that has always been lurking but never shown it’s face before I don’t know. As I mention to cross29, I am taking a break from horse racing for the rest of this year and I guess if there is a hidden addiction here then this will be quite a challenge for me but I suspect the break will do me good and I won’t suffer cravings.
It's not the amount off money you've got or how it's going to leave you and that one day when that sickening feelings not in your stomach again then you could lose even more, your the only one who knows how much you've lost all in plus your on here for help. You've done amazing coming on to gamecare as a first, secondly you value the value off money not just down to rich or poor I would definitely have a word with one of the advisors on site and go from there my friend as we come in all shapes and sizes
Thanks for the advice Kev. As mentioned I don’t know whether I have had a lurking problem waiting to break out for 20 years or whether the other day was just a one off bizarre aberration. I guess if this was a one off reaction never to be repeated then it has still been worth posting to the forum as there will be people ongoing in the months and years ahead who have a real problem with chasing losses. Clearly chasing losses in any betting format is bad news but if I can stress that it is particularly dangerous when laying in sporting events then this may help one person one day.
For me after decades of enjoyable and sensible betting I’ve had a few months of anxiety ridden laying which led to an ultimate melt down. I’ve chosen to walk away from horse racing for the rest of the year as much as anything else because I’m not enjoying it. It’s now a famous slogan but it really is very effective because it’s true... when the fun stops, stop!
There but for the grace of God go I. Just out of interest and please only reply if you feel comfortable to do so but is it possible to identify what keeps you gambling & what type of gambling you carry out? I know when I laid my first horse that won (meaning I lost) I had a never experienced before overwhelming feeling of anxiety that I had to get the cash lost back immediately. It wasn't even that much of a loss. All my logic left me and rather than think about what happens if my chasing bet/lay to recoup my losses also loses.. all I was thinking was how wonderful it will feel once I've recovered the lost money.
This is where most damage is done in my opinion. Once you are in that chasing loop it's almost impossible to get out of it until the damage has been done and there is nothing left to spend. Somehow I managed to pull myself out before I reached that point but I still took a hit and am still scared to acknowledge how easy it would have been for me to keep chasing.
I was just sat there thinking about you and hoping your we're doing well, so how's things? I was just reading what you've told me and it hit like a tone off bricks As with a broken leg people can see it but what you've got going on inside is terrible and I understand what it's like to have those thoughts off the past and how they effect our life's in the here and now. Just remember I'm here if you need me
Thanks Kev. I think I'm doing ok at the moment and I hope you are too.? Yes we have both experienced terrible things in our past but of course people cope or don't cope with these things to different degrees. For me, the best thing I ever did was seek some counselling as a last resort to try to come to terms with the things that happened. I was skeptical that after decades of hurt and confusion anything could be done for me but was so low that I thought I had nothing to lose. I can't tell you how effective my counselling was for me. It really helped to organize my thoughts about what had happened to me. The best bit for me was that as you'll know it's impossible to forget our past experiences but I discovered it is possible to kind of spring clean the brain and compartmentalize memories so you can tuck them out the way and stop yourself tripping over them everyday!
Trying to relate my past to my recent crazy gambling spree is more complicated. In the past I have forgiven myself for a lot of things by going back to my childhood experiences and saying to myself, 'well what do you expect, of course you're going to do screwy things and make bad decisions because you got screwed up as a kid'. But I also think if I am honest that I have also probably used my past as a bit of an excuse to allow myself to make stupid decisions and then forgive myself afterwards. It may in a way have been a form of self harm. Who knows!?
The good things for me is that nearly a month after losing those thousands in 30 minutes I am thinking back to that period quite lucidly and I still get palpitations that I was that out of control. I really can't blame past experiences on this. I am solely responsible for that mess of a day and I will be solely responsible for making sure I never get myself into that situation again. I guess we can only make so many excuses before we have to look at ourselves and decide do we want to feel and act like a victim for the rest of our lives or do we want to draw a line across all the bad stuff in the past and move on in a much more positive light.
I'm feeling quite optimistic for myself right now. I know our gambling experiences are not quite the same but having seen all the incredibly insightful advice you give to new members on this forum I am very optimistic for your future too. We know its not easy to move forward as damaged goods but we do need to find ways to dump the baggage and get on with life. I think if you relate most of the incredibly kind and useful words you give others on here to yourself you will realize that actually you do get it, your past, your gambling sprees, the self hurt, self doubt... it is all linked but with a bit of effort and willingness we can untangle the links and get on with life!!! Let's do it my friend.
I'm glad you feel that way my friend I just try and be as honest as I can I know that what I say may not relate to everyone but if I can help one person then it's one that understands what the gambling company's are about and how they love when we're losing our money and I really do believe that they pray on us when we're at our weakest and there for us being vunrable at that time as they have people monitor what's going on and whose losing what and they know if your chasing money as your putting thousands on and they will have to do affordability tests in the future as they Will be told to not because they want to as they have it all there own way for far to long so putting them in there place should be down to an independent community that they don't fund and use as puppets just fining them and I don't see the money do you it should be giving to the problem gamblers to help clear there debt