Gambling addict from Sheffield who lost over Â£500,000 says more support is needed to save lives
A Sheffield man whose gambling habit landed him in prison says more support is needed to prevent fellow addicts taking their own lives.
David Bradford was jailed after stealing from his employers, having amassed debts of more than £500,000 feeding his addiction.
The 61-year-old, of Waterthorpe, has welcomed the Government's decision to slash the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT) from £100 to £2, but he says more must be done to help problem gamblers.
"The one thing that's missing is someone to catch people when they become addicted, and to support them and their family," said the former finance director, who now works as a courier.
"There are lots of NHS clinics for drug addicts and alcoholics but there's just one for gambling addicts, which is in London. You would have thought there would be a dozen or so covering different areas and helping people turn their lives around.
"If my family had disowned me, which would have been quite understandable, I dread to think where I would have ended up."
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Mr Bradford began gambling as a teenager on horse racing and the pools, and his problem gradually grew, really spiralling out of control when he began playing fixed-odds machines before moving to online betting.
But he fears it could encourage gamblers to move online, where there is less personal interaction and it is harder to spot problems developing.
To reduce this risk, he wants the Government to go further by requiring online bookmakers to monitor for patterns which could indicate a problem, introduce affordability checks and ban the use of credit cards.