For three years, 23 year old Derby student, Akintola Watts suffered from a gambling addiction which caused him to contemplate suicide as he racked up £15,000 worth of debt.
The NHS have reported an increase in gambling addicts over the past year. There are now as many as 600,000 people that are problem gamblers and that suffer from a gambling addiction in Great Britain.
Akintola recalled his first recognition of gambling came when he was just 6 years old, when he used to visit his grandfather who was a compulsive gambler. Akintola revealed that he would be allowed to accompany him to the local bookies and watch bets being placed on various sporting events.
In 2014, at 20 years old, Akintola placed his first bet after becoming lured in by an offer he deemed to good to turn down, which was a free £10 bet if you signed up, and bet in play via Betfred. Akintola won £110 from his first bet sparking his gambling addiction.
I’ve spent £40,000 on gambling in just under a year
Akintola watts, gambling addcict
After believing he was a natural, an emotional Akintola said: “I won £8,000 once on football accumulator, but instead of going home, I got happy and felt lucky, I carried on and squandered the lot on a betting terminal. I’d say I’ve spent £40,000 in just under a year.”
“That night, I left the bookies crying my eyes out because of all the money I’d lost, I ended up at some local train tracks, and I spent hours watching trains go by, I contemplated jumping in front of one, just to end it all.”
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Akintola believes that the rise in technology, the development of smartphones and fixed odds betting terminals make gambling a lot easier, which evidently has resulted in the increase of gamblers in Britain.
His mother, Judith Watts said: He used to steal money from me a lot to fund his addiction, but as a family we understand that his addiction is a mental health problem, we can’t and will never turn our back on him, and we’re doing all we can with the help of Derby Aquarius Gambling Support team to help him overcome this addiction”.
Audio: Akintola has had a change in mentality in regards to gambling.