‘Playing dependancy nearly destroyed me’: Horse racing fan Adam Wooden tells his private story

Kew Gardens won the 2018 St Leger at Doncaster

“It was attending to the purpose the place it was destroying my life. I keep in mind crying in my room, feeling so alone, feeling helpless. I had some actually darkish ideas, however speaking about it was the most effective factor I ever did.”

For 22-year-old horse racing fan Adam Wooden, playing merely began off as a little bit of enjoyable. Successful at his first assembly in 2018 was, as he places it, “the most effective feeling ever”, however little did he know it will be the start of a significant issue.

From the occasional £5 wager to playing his total wages away each month and looking for bail-outs from payday lenders, Adam says the alarming improve in stakes occurred in just some days.

Right here Adam tells his private story, describing how his issues escalated, what he did to deal with the problem, and urges others who’re struggling to hunt assist.

Safer Gambling Week


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‘Wow, that is straightforward’

“My first ever assembly was at Doncaster on the 2018 St Leger when Kew Gardens received. It was an unreal day, the environment was unimaginable.

“I used to be ready to pick a few winners and I keep in mind the sensation I obtained when Kew Gardens handed the road in entrance. I believe I had £5 on it at like 3/1 and it was the most effective feeling ever as a result of I knew I would studied this race and I would tried to work out the shape. It had paid off and that was actually the beginning of it.

“I saved up the stakes – form of low stakes – not more than £5 actually. Issues most likely began to alter three or 4 months down the road when Cheltenham 2019 got here round. I really had a extremely good Cheltenham, on the Wednesday I had a very nice treble that landed, however wanting again it was most likely the worst factor that occurred to me.

“I keep in mind feeling this form of strain that I would been in a position to have a extremely good couple of days, and this was all from having the ability to acquire an understanding of the game and observe it. I keep in mind pondering ‘wow, that is straightforward’.”

Kew Gardens won the 2018 St Leger at Doncaster
Kew Gardens gave Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore back-to-back victories within the St Leger at Doncaster in 2018

‘It shortly spiralled uncontrolled’

“I would like to say there was a sure day the place I keep in mind deteriorating, the place I keep in mind going unsuitable, however I am unable to. I simply keep in mind it was very fast, it was very sudden. It wasn’t one thing that occurred over the course of a few weeks, it was a few days the place the stakes actually began to alarmingly worsen.

“It obtained to the purpose the place I obtained paid on the twenty eighth of each month and by the thirtieth I used to be bankrupt. I had no cash left. I had no cash for journey. I had no cash for meals. I then turned to payday lenders and when that occurred I noticed this as my means out and thought this was a means again. I assumed I used to be getting this cash and I used to be going to have the ability to instantly pay for journey, pay for meals, that I would not have needed to inform anybody about this.

Chris Wood of Hampshire prepares to bowl during a Hampshire CCC Net Session at Arundel Cricket Club on July 06, 2020 in Arundel, England. County Cricketers have returned to training in groups of 6 as the ECB announced the seasons resumption is to be on the 1st August.


Hampshire bowler Chris Wooden says he was fearful of unveiling his playing dependancy however hopes his story will encourage others to talk out

“I would get £200-£300 from a sure payday lender and it will be misplaced inside minutes. I knew what I used to be doing was not regular behaviour and this was actually spiralling uncontrolled actually shortly.

“There was a time earlier than the tip the place I most likely had about 12 or 13 excellent loans. It was attending to the purpose the place it was destroying my life and was ruining me each day. That horrible feeling of simply mendacity to folks, mendacity to my family members, mendacity to associates. I keep in mind crying in my room, feeling so alone, feeling helpless. I had some actually darkish ideas.”

The finishing line at Ascot racecourse .
Ascot Racecourse is supporting Safer Playing Week – it renamed its opening race on Friday after the marketing campaign

‘Speaking about it was the most effective factor I ever did’

“Simply after Cheltenham completed, I attempted to gee myself up and simply go down and discuss to my mum and pa. I simply went downstairs and instructed them every part. I used to be brutally sincere, I did not sugar-coat something. I used to be so scared as a result of I had obtained myself into a extremely dangerous state of affairs.

“Once I did open up all I can keep in mind is feeling so upset, there have been a whole lot of tears shed and that was good in a means as a result of that was simply an enormous weight off my shoulders. Speaking about it was the most effective factor I ever did. It was from that day ahead that I used to be in a position to have an actual sturdy mindset and simply get every part sorted out.”


Brigid Simmonds, chair of the Betting and Gaming Council, says the playing {industry} is stepping up its efforts to make playing safer

‘There’s a lot assist on the market’

“If you happen to’re in a spot like I used to be the place you are feeling alone, you are feeling helpless and you have nobody to show to, even if you happen to really feel like you’ve got somebody to show to and you’re feeling too embarrassed to speak to them, please do not. That is one thing that’s much more widespread than you’d suppose.

“This isn’t essentially regular behaviour, however that is additionally one thing that isn’t your fault and regardless of how dangerous your state of affairs is, you may flip it round. There’s a lot assist on the market.

“The skilled retailers that I discovered actually helpful – GAMSTOP was sensible and the group at GamCare are unimaginable. I spoke to a few folks on reside chat. I spoke to a few folks over the telephone.

“In case you are struggling please discuss to somebody. You would be shocked simply how widespread a difficulty that is and the way many individuals there are on the market to be of help.”

Q&A: What’s Safer Playing Week?

Safer Gambling Week
Safer Playing Week is an industry-led marketing campaign going down from November 19-25 to advertise safer playing

Safer Playing Week is an industry-led marketing campaign going down from November 19-25 to encourage extra conversations concerning the significance of protected betting.

The entire of the UK and Irish playing {industry}, together with bookmakers, amusement arcades, bingo golf equipment, casinos and on-line, has come collectively to help the week, which incorporates the promotion of workshops and coaching classes.

As a part of Safer Playing Week, Sky Sports activities Information’ chief reporter Bryan Swanson solutions some key questions because the playing {industry} promotes extra conversations in sport…

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