Desperate Gamblers’ Families Reach Out to Bookies Begging For Help


Posted: February 24, 2014

Updated: October 4, 2017

Desperate parents and partners of addicted gamblers in Ireland approach betting houses with pictures of their loved ones begging them to refuse their money.

Gambling addiction is turning into a significant problem in the recent years, which can easily be undermined and remain unnoticed for a longer period of time. Unfortunately, this is a serious issue that needs to be recognized and addressed, so that it can be overcome in the long run.

The situation in Ireland is particularly serious and in the past year there were numerous examples in the gambling news of struggling families who couldn’t manage to cover their basic needs like rent and groceries because of problem betting.

The cases of women, who wrote desperate emails to bookies begging for refund of the money that their gambling partners lost, are getting more and more. There was also a case of a gambling addict in England who requested a lifetime ban from bookies in an attempt to overcome his serious problem.

Unprecedented gambling problem in Ireland

Ireland is currently experiencing immense difficulties with problem gambling

• Families are forced to reach out to bookies asking them to refuse bets from their addicted relatives

• Irish players gamble more than EUR 5 billion/year, adding up to around EUR 10,000/minute

• Gamblers accumulate frightening debts, which don’t allow them to cover simple expenses in their households

The deadlock forced numerous Irish families to contact booking houses by providing pictures of their relatives, asking the staff to put them in a blacklist or even go further and give them a life ban.

A person dealing closely with problem gambling commented: “It’s completely unprecedented, it’s like nothing anyone has seen before but it’s happening more and more.”

The story goes further: “Gamblers’ families obviously can’t follow them around constantly but the debt more and more people are finding themselves in, is putting immense pressure on families and they’ll do anything to save money.”

“Many parents, wives and partners are being pushed to the brink and pressure like that makes you do desperate things and it’s extremely upsetting for shop staff who have had people in tears holding up photos of customers and begging them not to serve them.”

Unfortunately, this desperate move doesn’t always help as gamblers just reorient themselves to internet betting in Ireland and continue to play: “The sad thing is they’d just go online to gamble anyway and that can sometimes be more dangerous.”

Desperate moves of wives who had lost hope

Last year there were reports of numerous women on the verge of a breakdown, who didn’t find any other solution helpful, therefore they decided to write extremely touching emails to bookmakers, who operate under Irish gambling laws, declaring that they have nothing left due to the secret gambling performed by their husbands or partners.

There was a significant case of a woman, who reached out to the newspapers in Ireland saying that she was completely shocked when she found out that her husband had “lost everything”, which forced her to write an email to a well-known bookmaker begging to receive money back.

She said: “I didn’t know it had become so bad, then I realize we couldn’t make the mortgage or car payment and I didn’t know where to turn. It’s not the bookie’s fault but I was desperate, I was angry and out of desperation I just sent an email pleading for the money back.”

More shocking gambling examples

Some other sad stories include the cases of husbands’ who wasted away their children’s Holy Communion and birthday savings or family holiday funds.

The situation reached so serious stages that these men couldn’t provide for simple things like dinner or gas for their cars.

There were even cases of unfortunate gamblers who managed to accumulate unprecedented debts as high as EUR 500,000. The situation is even worse due to various tax increase, benefits reductions and unseen unemployment.

The seriousness of the problem is getting even more worrisome because people are trying to find quick ways to solve their financial situation, but unfortunately gamblers just get more hooked trying to re-win their huge losses.

Frightening gambling figures in Ireland

The latest statistics report that there are around 40,000 gambling addicts in Ireland and only less than 1% of them received any help. The estimate numbers show that Irish players gamble more than EUR 5 billion/year, which is around EUR 10,000/minute.

Fiona Weldon, clinical director of the Dublin-based rehab charity the Rutland Centre commented: “Like any addiction, it’s a chronic and relapsing condition with no known cure.”

She added: “It is also an addiction that people can hide for longer periods, even years. But when it is found out, it usually all blows up and can destroy a family unit. In the worst cases, a family home may need to be sold to pay for all the gambling debts.”

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