But this isn’t the start of a story about a downward spiral into gambling addiction and debt. In fact, when this particular ‘bad day’ happened, I’d been living in the world of sports trading and gambling for the best part of a year, and by treating it as a job, had earned enough to pay the rent and bills. But the up and down nature of it was starting to lose its appeal, and although my experience had been (modestly) financially positive, I was becoming more aware of those who weren’t so lucky.
Gambling in the UK is a £14.5bn industry that, like alcohol and smoking, can cause harm. Gambling research, across a number of disciplines, has looked at the addictive nature of gambling and how, when it becomes problematic, it can lead to financial hardship, crime, and damage to relationships. Approaching gambling from this addiction model focuses on a relatively small number of gamblers, implying that ‘recreational’ gambling, on the other hand, is non-problematic. It also unavoidably highlights the experiences of men, since it is men who make up the majority of problem gamblers.