In an emotional interview with BBC, Andy May, a former gambling addict who stole over a million pounds to fuel his habit, opened up about his harrowing experience and urged others to seek help before it’s too late.
May’s gambling addiction started innocently enough, as a casual punter betting small amounts on soccer games. However, over time, his bets grew larger and more frequent, eventually spiraling out of control. Despite knowing that he shouldn’t chase losses, May found himself gambling away the deposit for his first home.
After hitting rock bottom, May managed to stay away from gambling for seven years through sheer willpower. However, his addiction resurfaced when he was lured back in by a free bet offer during the World Cup in 2014. From then on, he quickly descended back into his old habits, spending exorbitant amounts of money and resorting to credit to fuel his addiction.
May’s downward spiral reached a breaking point when he began using his company’s credit card to gamble, ultimately leading to him stealing over £1.3 million from his employer. This fraudulent activity was discovered, and May was subsequently fired, sentenced to four years in prison, and ordered to repay the stolen funds.
Despite his tumultuous past, May found hope and support through the Epic Restart Foundation, which provided crucial assistance during his incarceration. Following his release, he was able to rebuild his life, secure a new job, and even recover some of the stolen money from the gambling companies he had used.
Reflecting on his journey, May admitted that his lowest point was not the time spent in prison, but the years he spent recklessly gambling with money he didn’t have. He has since dedicated himself to helping others by volunteering with GambleAware and speaking out about his experiences in the hopes of preventing others from falling into the same destructive cycle.
May’s poignant message is clear: problem gambling can happen to anyone, and seeking help is crucial. He encourages those struggling with gambling addiction to speak out and seek support before it’s too late.