Now we all know that for the large majority of us, playing online bingo is a fun activity that we enjoy in moderation – and the most we might lose is our patience at being pipped to the post for a jackpot!
Sometimes though, a hobby can turn into an addiction, and today we have a cautionary (and rather sad) story to bring you.
Kelly Nield, a 32 year old mum-of-one from Billinge on Merseyside, would play online bingo continuously for up to 8 hours a day – maxing out her five credit cards and rapidly losing her savings.
At her lowest point she experienced suicidal thoughts and started self-harming.
Kelly said: “You get to the point where you can’t see a way out.
“I just wanted to find a way to make myself stop, and when my thoughts turned dark I knew I had to get help.
“I would gamble from the second my family left in the morning until they came home at night.”
And when they did get home, she would sneak off to the bathroom and bedroom to play bingo games.
“My partner and I were saving £500 a month and I would just access the accounts and spend what I could.”
Kelly finally admitted her problem to 37 year old fiancé Ian Nairn, and found the strength to visit her doctor.
She is now questioning whether gambling and online bingo should be advertised before the watershed.
Dirk Hanson, of gambling support charity GamCare, said: “We applaud people who come forward and admit they have a problem.
“It is a reality that people can get hooked on these websites.
“They should be fully aware of the risks before getting too involved.”
What do you think? Leave your comments below!
If you think you might have a problem with gambling, there are organisations out there to help you.
GamCare – 0808 8020 133 (www.gamcare.org.uk)
Gamblers Anonymous UK – 020 7384 3040 (www.gamblersanonymous.org.uk)
National Problem Gambling Clinic – 020 7534 6699 (www.cnwl.nhs.uk/gambling)