I am super proud to consider this podcast as my brain child. With the help of the whole team, within three weeks of the initial idea, we were able to record and upload our first two episodes and have this website up and running. But that's the thing with me - I don't tend to do things by halves!
My infatuation with gambling began at an early age and I'm still unsure as to the exact reasoning why. Maybe it was my surroundings that played a part - growing up in a single-parent household in an area immersed in hardship. It's not as if my mother can be described as parsimonious with money because the fact of that matter is that we didn't have much by way of funds and so she had little option but to be frugal with it and provide my brother and I with the bare essentials. I think clinging onto a method in which quick-money can be made was my thinking of a way out.
Whatever the reasons; my brain seemed to get this insatiable buzz from gambling. On the rare occasions we got away to the seaside and at the arcades I preferred spending my money on gambling machines rather than playing games such as Time Crisis or other shoot em' ups or racing games and the like.
Later on in life - from the age of 17 - I starting betting on football and soon became enthralled with everything else the bookies had to offer; FOBT's, the nags, greyhounds and even the virtuals. I would regularly play poker both live and online too.
For 15 years I recklessly gambled and, as is the case with most gambling addicts, I would often spunk my whole months wage within a few days of being paid. I've been in all sorts of financial trouble with payday lenders and guarantor loans, all of which with extortionate levels of interest. There were times when I thought that I just couldn't go on and contemplated taking my own life. Everyone knew I liked a bet but nobody would have known to the true extent nor the inner-pain that I had long suffered. All of this came to a head in March 2020 when my family found out the true extent of my gambling - my last bet was Sunday 22nd March 2020 and I fully intend on keeping it this way.
Since then I have immersed myself in learning more about the industry that had plagued me for such a large part of my life and quickly noticed that the operators, and institutions that oversee their practice, are not being effective enough in terms of commanding safer gambling and protecting the vulnerable and those that suffer from this illness. I would now like to see much more preventive measures in place rather than reactionary ones. It's all well and good pumping millions into support services (which is needed of course) but the industry also needs to do its utmost and cut this off at source.
Based on my own personal experience, and from what I have seen of others since entering recovery, because the industry seems incapable of adequate identification and interventions among disordered gamblers then, ideally, I would like to see a 'proof of funds / affordability' system introduced in which should a customer wishing to deposit above a sensible predetermined monthly amount, then they'd need to prove that this is affordable for them and their family.
I hope that the All Bets Are Off podcast is a space in which disordered gamblers in recovery, and those contemplating joining recovery, can relate and feel comfortable. We hope that by sharing our stories and having a platform that enables others to come and share theirs whether that be an individual, a group or organisation, then we can all get something from this. I can say that on a personal level this project has done wonders for my recovery that's for sure.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone for their continued support. Each and everyone of you are an inspiration to me.