I’ve been gambling for most of my adult life and, as I’m sure is the case with most people reading this post, it’s been very detrimental in so many ways.
My mother has always been aware of my problem and has often said how appalled she is that there is no real support available for those with gambling additions. (I’ve been to my GP a fair few times in despair and have seen counsellors who I believe have been ill-equipped to deal with this issue. Either that or I didn’t really want the help at the time. Probably the latter.) She’s even written to our local MP! Yes, I am very lucky to have such a supportive Mum.
But, after a day when I have spent money I could ill-afford on online slots again, I realised that one thing I’ve never done is have a look into why the regulatory committees, or government, or whoever aren’t doing more to curb this ever-growing issue. I realised in nearly fifteen years of having the internet, YouTube, LinkedIn etc. I’d never once searched for ‘online slot addiction’.
As an online slot machine ‘fan’, firstly I decided to watch a few videos on how they actually work. Long have I held the belief that the more you play, the higher your chance of winning, to the point of becoming a VIP at more than a few of the big players. (And you know that still gives me the most ridiculous sense of pride!!). I also convinced myself that there was a particular time of day / night - those golden hours - when you’d have the slots all to yourself and a better chance of winning. Or, of course depending on when I wanted to gamble, the busy times when all those other players depositing at the same time which meant I could win more from a bigger pot. I am embarrassed to say that it’s not until now that I’ve realised how truly random online slots are and how easy it is to be fooled into thinking that you are in some way owed loyalty from these casinos.
I also watched some discuoussions / lectures on gambling and I came across what I think might be one of the biggest steps to help problem gamblers.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve managed to self exclude from some websites; your ‘go-to’s’. Self exclusion feels great at the time! Like a break up from a nasty spouse. But at the back of your mind you know there’ll always be another one out there waiting to pull you right back in. That’s exactly what’s happened to me in the last month or so; the resolve to stop, self exclude and feel proud until the feeling wears off and the compulsion returns. So in the last week I signed up to another casino. With foresight, I have given my partner control of my money so I had very little to spend, but it proved to me that I wasn’t there yet. That the moment I get my ‘me time’ I will want to gamble. I’ve tried Gamblock on my PC but without giving details I managed to get around it. ‘What is out there to give me that barrier I need so much?’ I thought.
Whilst doing my research, I came across GAMSTOP. If you are in a crisis right now and you feel like you want to stop yourself RIGHT NOW from gambling ever again, get to this website:
Here you can register your name, address, email, alternative emails, alternative addresses... and they will block you from every UK licensed online casino.
I thought to myself ‘oh, well that won’t work very well because all the casinos seem to be licensed in Malta or Gibraltar etc.’ So, I went to log in to one of those casinos about an hour after I registered with GAMSTOP and I have already been self excluded!!
Personally I think this is a game changer. Ok, people will change email addrssses and postal addresses, but it is a huge win for people like me who need that extra barrier. It is just a shame that I had to come across it by chance because I was looking for help. Hopefully it’s more well known than I think.
Thanks for reading and I really do hope this will help even one person turn things around like I hope it will do for me.
Welcome to the forum Meesh86,
Thank you for your post recommending GamStop. It is good to hear that you've found it helpful.
You mentioned that you've seen counsellors in the past but that it didn't work out back then. Please feel welcome to call us on our freephone 0808 8020 133 if you'd like details of other free treatment options, we could look to see what choices you have locally and what you could access online or by telephone.
Well done on your recent progress.