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“I got quite a big bonus from work before the lockdown which was going to help pay some of my debts off, but I have gambled that away plus more trying to win it back,” she tells HuffPost UK.
“I’ve lost track of how much I’ve spent on gambling during lockdown but I think it may be £8,000 to £9,000.”
Samantha admits she is wracked with guilt at her gambling – and has kept it hidden from her family. “My husband has no idea and he is so careful with money and would be appalled.
“I tend to gamble during the night when everyone else is asleep and as I don’t have to be at work, being awake half the night isn’t so much of a problem now as it would be if I was back at work.”
Samantha isn’t alone in being lured into online gambling during the lockdown enforced by the coronavirus pandemic.
With the absence of sports betting such as football and horse racing for a prolonged period, many regular gamblers turned to the more addictive online gambling products such as online slots, poker and casino.
Shocking figures from regulator the Gambling Commission reveal that betting on online slot machines has increased by 25% during lockdown.
This works out to around £228m lost in a month on online slot machines during lockdown compared to £183m lost in the same month last year – a staggering increase of £45m.
The data from the Gambling Commission collected from gambling firms themselves also shows that the number of gambling sessions lasting more than an hour has increased by 23% year-on-year.
Campaigners say the temptation for online gambling has been far greater during the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, with people spending greater amounts of time at home and on their computers who perhaps...