Warning for gamblers

PUBLISHED: 13:26 21 July 2006 | UPDATED: 22:00 28 May 2010

Tony Copley

Tony Copley

PENSIONER Tony Copley has declared himself bankrupt after running up huge debts to pay for his addiction to on-line gambling. The ex-Army chef says his story should be a warning to others tempted by the big prize money. He lost £20,000 in three months af

PENSIONER Tony Copley has declared himself bankrupt after running up huge debts to pay for his addiction to on-line gambling.

The ex-Army chef says his story should be a warning to others tempted by the big prize money.

He lost £20,000 in three months after becoming hooked on casino games, but owes a further £67,000 on credit cards and loans.

He said: "Don't do it, for the simple reason with these gambling houses at the end of the day they win and you lose. I was playing stupid. I was like an alcoholic hooked on drink.

"When I ran out of money I was offered more credit cards. No-one ever checked my ability to pay."

Seventy-year-old Mr Copley of St Mary's House, Whittlesey, decided to speak about his addiction after the Government decision to allow TV advertising of on-line gambling sites from next year. At least four million people in the UK gamble on-line each month and leading charities are warning that TV advertising will tempt even more to have a go.

His only experience of gambling had been the occasional bet on a horse in the Grand National and buying a lottery ticket. However, soon after discovering the gambling sites on his computer, he was hooked.

Mr Copley said: "When I was £3,000 up I would think I could go on to win £5,000. Of course I never did win and the debts just mounted up. I owe money to 15 creditors. They hook you in with freebies and by saying they will match your money. You win but by then you are hooked."

After realising how much money he had lost, Mr Copley decided to stop.

He said: "I didn't want to lose my home. The debts have caused me a lot of worry and pressure. My story should be a warning to others.

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