It takes a special family to stand by a relative who was sent to prison for something they knew nothing about.
But that is exactly what the Bradford family are doing following the release of compulsive gambling addict and fraudster David.
His family – wife Denise, aged 62, and sons Adam, aged 22, and twins Alex and Ryan, 19 – know their relationships will never be the same again.
But now, together, they are trying to raise awareness of gambling addiction as a mental health problem.
Tonight, the family will appear in a TV documentary about betrayal.
Adam said: “For us, it was really because we wanted to show other people that sometimes people the closest to you have things that they’re hiding.
“People will, for the first time, see the real emotion and the chaos it has caused.”
The family are also raising awareness through the #gambleresponsibly campaign, founded by entrepreneurial Adam.
He said: “Since dad’s release, he has stepped in to help run this gambling campaign. We have teamed up to make a difference.
“We are looking at the way the gambling industry markets itself, the overflow of gambling advertising, and how easy it is to set up accounts, especially when you already have debt.
“Dad had 21 different loans and credit cards and he was still allowed to set up new accounts.”
As part of #gambleresponsibly, Adam will send a letter to the leaders of all the main political parties appealing for an improvement in measures to tackle problem gambling.
He said: “Gambling is an addiction, just like heroin and alcohol, yet there is insufficient regulation in place to stop large multinationals from tearing families, like mine, apart.”
David added: “If I could only stop one person going through what I went through and what I have caused then all the effort will be worthwhile.”
- ‘My sister had my boyfriend’s baby and other betrayals’ is on Channel Five tonight at 10pm.
GAMBLING ADDICTION - THE FACTS
- Gambling addiction, also known as compulsive gambling, is a type of impulse-control disorder. Gambling addicts cannot control the impulse to gamble, even when they know it is hurting themselves or their loved ones.
- Compulsive gamblers cannot stop thinking about gambling and it is all they want to do. They will gamble when they’re up or down, rich or poor, happy or sad – even if they know the odds are against them.
- Gambling addiction is known as the ‘hidden illness’ because there are no obvious physical signs or symptoms like there are in drug or alcohol addiction. Compulsive gamblers will go to great lengths to hide their gambling.
- You may have a gambling problem if you feel the need to be secretive about your gambling, have trouble controlling it, gamble even when you can’t afford it, or if friends and family are worried.
- A loved one may have a gambling problem if they are becoming increasingly defensive about their gambling, suddenly become secretive about their money and finances, or are increasingly desperate for money to fund gambling.
- There may be as many as 450,000 problem gamblers in Great Britain. Seek help at www.gamcare.org.uk, or visit www.gamanon.org.uk if you are affected by a loved one’s gambling problem.
Read more on this story HERE.
Star opinion: David’s story is not unique