In the run in to Christmasthe local branch of Gamblers Anonymous is reminding people of the dangers posed by the “silent killer” that is gambling
The Derry branch of the GA is reminding those affected by gambling addiction that support networks are in place locally seven days a week.
As money woes can often be compounded in the festive period, those affected by gambling problems, according to the GA, can either “blot out the fact it’s Christmas or face severe problems due to their addictions.”
A spokesperson for the Derry branch of the GA said: “Many gamblers will ignore Christmas and concentrate on St. Stephen’s Day with its array of sports fixtures and betting opportunities however for some it may seem like their world is caving in.”
The spokesman stated; “Due to my own personal experience, I have known at least a dozen people who have taken their lives as a direct result of gambling problems in the last year or so.
“Our message is that there are plenty of people there to talk to, we are here 24/7. If something is bothering you you need to talk about it. That was a big lesson I learned years ago. Gamblers can turn small problems into unsolvable ones.
“We’ve heard of men stealing toys for their children or getting other people to steal toys for their children so they could keep money for gambling. Gambling is an all year round, 24 hour a day job for those addicted. Betting is everywhere, you can’t watch any sort without the latest odds being flashed at you. You can gamble on your TV remote control, laptop, mobile phone. For every person you see in a bookmakers imagine how many are gambling without ever having to leave the house.
“It is a serious, serious problem. I always say if everyone who needed to come to GA meetings did so, the Brandywell wouldn’t be big enough to hold them all.”
Despite not having gambled for over twenty years the spokesperson said: “That number or length of time means nothing, I could be as close to gambling again today as I was twenty years ago.
“It isn’t the amount of time without gambling, it is about how you approach life, that is what GA is about.”
The Derry branch of Gamblers Anonymous can be contacted on 028 71 351329.