A former gambler today urged other addicts to seek help after calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to launch an independent inquiry into the problem.
David Bradford, aged 59, of Waterthorpe, was jailed for two years after stealing £53,000 from his employer to fund an online gambling habit.
He was released in 2014 after serving seven months and has since joined his 22-year-old son Adam in a campaign to raise awareness of gambling addiction.
In May, Mr Cameron responded to an open letter Adam wrote, pledging support.
The two were initially pleased by the ‘breakthrough’ but now Adam is disappointed by a lack of progress and said Mr Cameron’s letter was ‘not good enough.’
Their latest letter, delivered by the pair to 10 Downing Street yesterday, calls for an independent inquiry to better assess the accurate number of people struggling with the addiction. Adam claims recent research was funded by the gambling industry and that figures could be grossly underestimated.
David urged other addicts to seek help and said: “Don’t be afraid to admit it to your family. It is the people closest to you who help the most.”
The father-of-three said he still has “a long way to go” before he rebuilds trust with his family, but Adam added: “We support him.”
The two are also pushing for more stringent limits on the amount people can bet, tighter controls on advertising tactics, and a ‘robust’ rehabilitation system.
David, who racked up more than half a million pounds in debt and secretly remortgaged his home, said: “I was used to living beyond my means for years. I started gambling as an escape.
“Then soon after, I quite wrongly thought I could win big and clear off the financial burden. It was like being a hamster in a wheel. ”
He managed to kick the habit in prison and said he no longer had a ‘compulsion’ to gamble. His relationship with money has changed as well.
He said: “I don’t value it in the same way. In the past, it was a must-have. It’s got a purpose, but can stand in line.
My world that I did value came crashing down. I lost my liberty.
“My family, friends, job, career, everything I hold dear was smashed.”