Jonny Goldstone, from London, started gambling in his teens using free bets and staking small amounts of money.

Jonny started with football betting which he described as a “whole experience”, researching before the games about player form, injuries, yellow cards, and anything else to give him an edge.

He would then spend the left over money or his change on fruit machines and virtual casino games like roulette and blackjack.

iT WAS ALL QUITE HARMLESS [TO BEGIN WITH] ALOT OF MY MATES WERE DOING IT.

Research undertaken for them by Ipsos last year suggested that the majority of 18-24 year olds felt guilty about gambling, with 39 percent suffering mental health issues.

According to the survey nearly half of those had risked more than they could afford to lose.

As Jonny moved away from home to Birmingham for university, he says his ‘harmless’ gambling became a problem.

He started to spend more on the machines and stake more on his football accumulators.

Unsplash stock image – Credit to Ays Be

At Uni, he was introduced to online poker which saw him spending more and becoming more invested, doing more homework on how to be a better player like watching professionals and learning the games ins and outs.

However he says inevitably found himself in a slippery slope of debt.

At this point Johnny realised he had an issue and went to his parent to confess what he had been doing and his current situation.

He fortunately got the help he needed through family and stepped back from gambling.

Gambleaware are a charity who fund research, education and treatment services aimed at reducing gambling related harms in Great Britain.

In order to help protect the public from harm caused by unaffordable financial loses they are supporting the introduction of financial risk checks to be carried out by the gambling industry

Unsplash stock image – Credit to Chris Liverani

Gamblers anonymous are a worldwide self help group.

Its member must remain anonymous but are motivated to raise awareness of their existence and to help sufferers.

If you are struggling with gambling call Gamblers Anonymous national helpline 0330 094 0322 or contact Gamcare for confidential support