A woman who won more than £120,000 at a casino said it was the ‘worst night of her life’ as it sparked a gambling addiction that would leave her homeless.
Lisa Walker, 45, from Rainham in east London, spent more than a decade with a dangerous gambling habit which cost her thousands of pounds and now works helping others in a similar situation.
Speaking to the BBC, Walker explained how winning a large amount of cash in a single night is what kicked off her addiction.
She said: "I won over £127,000 in one night. That was the worst night of my life because that's when my addiction really started to spiral out of control.
"The casino wanted me back and they offered me anything I wanted - free drinks, free meals to entice me."
Alongside regular trips to the casino, Walker was also going to a bingo hall and betting shop as her gambling habit grew.
It got to the point where Walker was gambling ‘most days’ and had completely lost her sense of value of money.
Eventually, she’d gambled and lost all of her winnings and her home after she took out a second mortgage.
The mum-of-two ended up living in a hostel with her 10 and 11-year-old kids.
And her addiction continued - with Walker even opting to marry her partner in Las Vegas when she spent her wedding night gambling instead of enjoying the celebrations.
It was after returning home from Las Vegas that she realised just how far her addiction had gone and she decided to go to Gambling Anonymous to get help.
She is now in recovery and goes to meetings every week. She also works with Betknowmore as a Peer Aid worker and is setting up her own group for women with gambling problems.
Walker has shared her story as charity Gamble Aware is set to launch a new campaign to raise awareness of women who have problems with harmful gambling.
The charity say an estimated one million women in the UK are at risk and warns that some women may not spot the signs or feel too much shame to reach out for help.
Gambling Minister Chris Philp said: "I welcome this campaign to increase awareness of problem gambling among women. It's vital that we continue to do all we can to protect those at risk from gambling-related harm.
"The gambling landscape has evolved immeasurably in the past 15 years and our comprehensive gambling act review will ensure our gambling laws offer the right balance of protections in the digital age."
You can find out more about the campaign here.
Featured Image Credit: Jam Press
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