A British woman, Tracey Stevenson has revealed how she suffered from huge debts due to her addiction to gambling.
She said that while working in different jobs as an account manager, restaurant shop fitter and interior fit-out contractor, she stole from her employers so as to feed her gambling habit.
“I’ve always loved bingo. I went every week with my mum since I was 18. Then I started playing online, happily spending about £15 a week.” Tracy told Metro UK.
“It all went wrong when I discovered gambling sites. Winning £50 here and there was thrilling – and then I won £220,000 in 2011. I couldn’t believe it at first but soon felt that if I could do it once, I could do it again.”
“I ended up losing left, right and centre but carried on because gambling became my escape from real life. I was having marriage problems and my best friend had died suddenly. It felt like living two separate lives.”
“Everyone knew I was doing it but I’d lie, saying I’d spent £50 rather than £10,000. And because I never actually saw the cash – it all went into my account on the website – it felt unreal.”
I was addicted, and when I ran out of money I started to steal from my employer. I was working as an account manager at a restaurant shop fitter and interior fit-out contractor, so it was easy.
The first time I stole was after I’d spent all my money on the slots and needed to go food shopping. I wrote myself a cheque for £100 and put a fake invoice through the accounting system.
From there it got worse. The biggest amount I took in one day was £50,000. I felt so guilty but couldn’t stop.
A year later, in October 2012, I won huge on the slots: £1.6million. I soon gambled it all away, though, because every time I lost, I honestly thought I could win the money back. When I didn’t, I kept on stealing.
Every day I’d go to work waiting to be found out, like a lamb going to slaughter. I felt so anxious all the time and the guilt was eating me up, but I got away with it for five years, taking £1.7million in total.
In the end, I couldn’t take any more stress and shame, and by Christmas 2015 I knew I had two options: own up or kill myself. Not being able to bear the looks of shame and disappointment on the faces of my husband and our three children, I wrote them a letter explaining what I had done. I put it on the side in the bedroom and left the house to end my life.
Then, as I was walking out the door, my son and granddaughter unexpectedly turned up. I told him I was fine, and after he left I decided I couldn’t do that to them, because I didn’t want my family to feel any guilt or blame. Instead, I confessed to my husband.
Understandably, he was shocked and angry, but also very supportive. He took the note I’d written to my bosses to show what a terrible place I’d been in.
Two days later the police arrested me at home. I confessed to everything. I felt overwhelming guilt and shame for everything I’d done to my family, my employers and my colleagues – but the relief at coming clean was phenomenal.