Police Officer Loses £250,000 Due to Gambling Addiction

  • Alex Macey would regularly spend 60% of his paycheck on gambling
  • He believes problem gamblers are being exploited by the industry
  • When trying to quit gambling and self-exclude from sites, he still received marketing emails
  • Macy is calling for stricter regulations for the online gambling sector
police car and police officer in the background
Former gambling addict and police officer Alex Macey lost £250,000 as a result of problem gambling, and feels the industry exploits people like him. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Policeman learns lesson the hard way

A UK police officer says he lost £250,000 ($321,000) due to his gambling addiction. Alex Macey from Weymouth, Dorset feels that the current practices of industry operators exploit and ignore problem gamblers. He is in favor of improved regulations for the online gambling sector to better protect those with addiction issues.

Now a reformed gambler, Macey recently took part in a meeting with UK MPs to discuss the realities of gambling addiction in the region today.

The extent of Macey’s addiction

Macey’s first foray into gambling was as a kid when he played on fruit machines. As he got older, he moved onto online gambling sites and fixed-odds betting terminals in bookmaker shops. 

Macey would spend about 60% of his paycheck on gambling

While in the midst of his addiction, Macey would spend about 60% of his paycheck on gambling. This meant he didn’t have enough disposable income left to take his daughter on vacation, for example. 

He said: “It was kind of a perfect storm for me earning a good wage, having a lot more disposable income and having these highly addictive mediums available to me.”

Hitting rock bottom

Speaking about the time he hit rock bottom, Macey described being with his young daughter at the movies and playing roulette on his mobile device during the film.

he regularly lost his entire paycheck on the day he got paid

At the height of his addiction, he would bet as much as £900 ($1,155) on a single spin of roulette. He also regularly lost his entire paycheck on the day he got paid. 

Macey also spoke about the various emotions that those with gambling problems deal with, such as guilt, stupidity, and shame. He noted that a lot of people got into worse situations than his, with some having lost more money and even their houses as a result of gambling addiction. 

What happens next?

While Macey holds himself accountable for his gambling-related issues, he also puts some of the blame at the feet of the industry. 

According to Macey, “[Gambling addicts are] being ignored and they [the industry] don’t seem to be doing anything about it.”

On recognizing he had a serious problem, Macey tried to take the necessary steps to detach himself from gambling hotspots. While attempting to self-exclude from gambling sites he frequently played at, Macey still received marketing emails for the next two years.

Last week, a group of UK MPs released an interim report which makes significant recommendations on increasing regulations in the online gambling space. A full report is set to be released in the coming months. 

The recently formed trade body called the Betting and Gaming Council is not in favor of further regulations. It believes stricter rules would lead to more people turning to black-market gambling. 

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