From gambling to game design: How I turned my life around
Steve’s interest in gambling started very young: he watched his parents betting small amounts of money on horse racing and later bet money on slot machines himself.
By the time he was 18 his gambling was out of control, but he turned his life around when he recognised the impact it was having on his finances and mental health.
Here are some things to remember about gambling and staying safe online:
Consider why there are age limits in place
There are laws that make it illegal for anyone under 18 to take part in most gambling activities. Age limits are there to avoid young brains being influenced and bad habits becoming ingrained. If you do anything from a young age it can often become a habit, so when age-limits appear, understand that they’re there for a good reason.
Notifications don’t have to be responded to straight away
Once he was 18, Steve became involved in online gambling. He was drawn in by the ease and simplicity of it, and received notifications about bonuses and deals. It can be easy to get drawn in to clicking on every online notification, especially when there’s the possibility of missing that ‘one-off prize,’ but remember, notifications are designed to keep you playing, so it's important to find ways to take control of your time online such as switching your focus to other activities and hobbies.
Don’t struggle alone
Eventually, Steve couldn’t pay his rent, and started to feel anxious and stressed about the financial difficulties that gambling was causing. He later realised the underlying issue behind his gambling was loneliness. We all know how hard it is to talk sometimes, but as with any issues – including financial – it’s important to speak out when times are tough. Talk to someone you trust about any problems you are having, or speak to a professional if it is affecting your health and wellbeing.
Where to get support
It is always good to speak to someone you trust about the issues you might be facing, no matter how big or small. Although it can be hard talking about your issues, don’t feel ashamed or different, and don’t feel you have to hide away from them.
Speaking to your GP or health professional can put you in contact with the right people who can help, and the support can be life changing.