Stories of gambling addictions leading to financial ruin are not particularly rare. Usually however the form of gambling at the centre of the addiction is something stronger than bingo.
Bingo has always been considered one of the less hardcore forms of gambling, when compared to the likes of card games, horse racing or even fixed odds betting terminals.
A recent case has reminded us however that bingo can in fact be highly addictive and in rare cases, just as disruptive as the other, typically more ‘hardcore’ gabling types.
Take Jacqueline Balaam as an example, this is the story of a Finance Officer for Pembroke College who stole nearly £300,000!
The object of Jacqueline’s gambling addiction was online bingo and her favourite site was said to have been Jackpotjoy, where she reportedly spent £6 million on online bingo!
The addiction couldn’t have been any more disruptive for Jacqueline and her family, which includes to young daughters. As a result of her gambling driven theft she has been handed a 30 months prison sentence.
Over the years that she played from time to time she would win large amounts such as £15,000, but rather than taking the money and spending it on something like a holiday, she would simply gamble her winnings, and as with all forms of gambling, eventually be left with nothing.
Jacqueline’s work privileges in the finance department put here in the ideal position to be able to manipulate the books in order to facilitate her theft at the same time as covering her tracks.
It is reported that in order to obtain the money in her personal account she would change the details of suppliers in the accounting system to her own personal banking details and then switch them back so that suppliers would also be paid.
It wasn’t until January 2014 that this scandal was uncovered during an internal audit at the college. At that point the auditors discovered that she had taken £285,986.
After this point the police were brought in and the rest is history, Jacqueline now has 30 months to look forward to in jail.
So is it possible to break out of an addiction before it consumes your life? It would seem that the answer to this question is ‘yes’.
In 2014 a lady called Marilyn Jones successfully abandoned her addiction to online bingo.
Marilyn wasn’t just a small time addict either; she claims to have played bingo every day during a 10-year stretch, having started in 2004.
Thanks to excellent counselling provided by Beacon, Marilyn has been able to quit the game and regain control of her life.
It seems that it is often the case that a gambling addiction is started when an individual has some good initial wins. This was true for Marilyn and in order to try and gain even more money a person who is becoming a gambling addict will then ‘reinvest’ the winnings in order to make more money. This strategy can work in the short term, but except for very rare mega jackpot winning cases, this strategy will lead to the player spending so much on the game that the winnings don’t even dent the shortfall.
If you have a gambling problem, or feel that you’re spending too much on bingo, write to your bingo operator and insist that they impose limits on the amount that you’re allowed to spend, responsible bingosites such as Rocket Bingo will be happy to do this. Of course, it may be the best idea to give up the game altogether, in which case you should seriously think about making contact with a help provider such as Beacon or Gambling anonymous.