When I worked for Ladbrokes many years ago, I drove a store in a municipality with a reputation for extreme night violence in one of the tougher neighborhoods in southwestern London. The customers were a mixture of colorful characters, high rolls of doubtful background, and at least one was a professional hitman. The local pub was a no go zone where the local police were known to smoke dope. The former manager of the store told me that I kept a bundle of money in my shoes when I went to the bank in the morning, for compensation. It was your general townhouse.
There was a regular customer there who was a real nice guy who seemed to have everything, certainly in comparison to most people in that area he had a beautiful wife and darling, he was fit and healthy, played a good standard for football his true passion and had their own company running a garage.
But he had no idea how to play, and he was bitten by the bug so bad that a demon would take over him. He could not distinguish the games game with the money when he won and when he lost, he would deny that there was money so he could convince himself that he did not lose he would go to hell in a handcard.
One day, his demon manifested itself in such an extreme form that I had to take drastic action: it was a Saturday morning and he played at the meetings Hackney and Crayford morning BAGs greyhounds. And doing quite well. In fact, he cleaned pretty much my morning fleet and then some. Eventually, at 12.30, he had hit the bottom of my turn and I could not pay him anymore.
Knowing he was playing football on Saturday afternoon, I offered to hold on to his slip for safe storage and pay him out at the end of the day. That way it was before night and sunday racing he would have at least one Friday with money without burning a hole in his pocket.
Off he went glad to meet the bookies, but it was not long before the demon returned and asked for help. That afternoon, he called three friends and asked them to persuade me to pay their money so that they could make a proxy for him. He even called me halfway from the touch line during his regular Saturday game and asked me to bet on him. I said no.
But surely he was back in the store an hour later still in his football equipment and he spent an hour giving me back as much money as he could. I eventually kicked him out of the store and told him to come back on Monday.
I wish it was a happy end to history, but its just not that. I wish I could tell him that he saw his mistake, or he won such a day that he could retire from play and live a happy and fruitful life. I wish.
But no. He left my shop that afternoon, went home, took a suit and went west to casinos in West Kensington and lost a lot a redistribution of wealth from one bookie to another.
His wife and little children went without money the last time and left, his garage went to a pot in a pile of game debts. The last time I saw him, he tried to put money on my customers. Lastly, I heard that he lived roughly ..
Throughout his fall and it happened quickly in the months after the loud Saturdays run an allencompassing factor stared me in the face: this poor man does not play money hes just unhappy and uses betting to fill a void.
Let me just say now: If you see any symptoms of addiction in your attitude to gambling lying, selfdeception, cut your budget of essential things to feed your gaming habit, steal, mood swings thats what not what you want.
You must log into the Gamble Aware website and follow their advice for assistance. If you become addicted, games are the most serious addictive, it should not be taken easily .. get help.
His behavior was not how people would react in this environmentally friendly environment. He was too emotional about the process of investing his money in something for any reward. Would you think you go into a bank and open a savings account because you like the color of the sign or invest in a company because you want the companys Human Resources Manager. Probably not.
His downfall led me to believe that not everyone is dealing with what can be a very intoxicating and addictive hobby. Very few people get out of it with more money in their pockets, its safe. While some do not mind this: Another customer in another store used to hate collecting profits, for him it was a way to keep his brain busy, not a means of money, others must win.