Recovering Weymouth gambling addict lost £250,000

Recovering Weymouth gambling addict lost £250,000

Published by Maria Greenwood at 7:27am 16th October 2019. (Updated at 10:58am 16th October 2019)

Alex Macey from Weymouth says his heavy and destructive 'payday' gambling habit started when he was just 11 years old.

Now a Police Officer, Alex managed to get out of his habit around two and a half years ago, after losing an estimated £250,000 on over 75 accounts.

He investigated his own gambling history as an officer and addict.

Alex is calling for gambling companies to make it easier to cut off contact, or 'self-exclude' - a process in which a person can request to be excluded from their service. By law, gambling operators in the UK must provide this option.

roulette wheel

Alex said: 

"I saw that there was a pattern of gambling companies letting me open numerous accounts after I'd self-excluded; sending me marketing material that I didn't ask for.

"A lot of people with a gambling addiction blame themselves and have a lot of guilt they carry around and they don't often speak up about it.

"It made me fully understand it wasn't just my problem, and the effects it had on me and everyone around me were terrible but understanding what went on has eased that guilt."

He's now trying to get people to speak out about addiction. 

alex macey FT
Alex featured in an article in the FT.

'What are the signs of gambling addiction?'

Charity says there are a number of signs that might indicate if someone you know has a gambling problem, including:

    • Unexplained debt or borrowing
    • Money or assets disappearing
    • numerous loans
    • unpaid bills or disconnection notices
    • lack of food in the house
    • Moodiness, unexplained anger
    • depression
    • decreased contact with friends
    • disappearing for amounts of time they can't account for
    • having no time for everyday activities
    • overusing sick days and days off
    • taking an unusual amount of time for tasks (for example, taking two hours to get milk from the corner store.)
gambling slot machines

Alex says:

"As with all addictions, particularly with gambling, it's a secretive thing. People will hide it as best they can.

"If someone's got a wage and it's just not reflecting in the reality of the financial situation in the relationship."

"And recognising perhaps that there's an underlying depression there as well."

'Changing policy'

Alex is calling for two-way accountability between gambling companies and their customers. He says he wasn't stopped from opening several accounts after self-excluding. 

"People don't want to press buttons and give their money away but they can't help doing it sadly, it's this mental disorder.

"So I want change just to protect those people that can't have a normal relationship with gambling."

He's been giving evidence to the Lords to encourage change in the industry.

If you think you, or someone you know may be affected by problem gambling, advice is available from the NHS website.

You can find Alex on twitter here.