Gambling Addiction and Criminal Behaviour

Gambling, like alcohol, is a legal vice; for most people, it does not cause a problem. Many individuals can gamble on occasion, without any adverse side effects. However, for some, gambling can become a destructive addiction that destroys their life.

It has been estimated that there are over 350,000 people struggling with a gambling addiction in the UK, and that number is growing every day. Many believe this is partly due to the fact that gambling has become much more accessible thanks to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets; devices that can access the internet from almost anywhere in the world.

Gambling is often referred to as a secret addiction because it is possible to gamble no matter where one is from a mobile device without anyone else knowing what is being done. Friends and family members of gambling addicts often do not know their loved one has a problem until the affected person has lost thousands of pounds and starts becoming desperate for cash.

Gambling and Crime

Many gambling addicts spend every available penny on their habit; when that money runs out, they may begin to spend money earmarked for bills on feeding their addiction. This inevitably leads to mounting debts as the person get deeper and deeper into addiction. Some will begin borrowing money from family members and friends in a desperate bid to win back some of the cash they have lost. As this individual become increasingly desperate, he or she may resort to criminal activities. A growing number of people in the UK are behind bars because of crimes committed to fund a crippling gambling addiction.

Martin Horn is one such individual. He has been sentenced to thirty-nine months in prison for defrauding victims of £85,000 to feed a gambling addiction.

He managed to persuade a number of friends and customers to invest in his business, but he gambled the money away instead. He also stole from one disabled woman’s bank account when she was sick by offering to buy her shopping.

Horn devised a Ponzi-style system and targeted a number of elderly customers of his carpet-fitting business. He invited them to invest by promising large returns. To keep the system running and appearing legitimate, he would sometimes use money invested by some customers to pay off others.


When some of the victims complained to police, Horn was arrested, but while on bail, he continued to commit offences. He was re-arrested and then released on bail once more, but that did not stop him from targeting more vulnerable victims. The judge in the case sentenced Horn to thirty-nine months and spoke of how the victims not only suffered financial loss but were also affected psychologically.

Horn’s defence lawyer blamed his client’s gambling addiction for his actions and said, “Gambling is an acute illness because it takes over the person and drives them in a way that takes them, as it has in this case, into very wrongful areas of behaviour.”

He also said that Horn had been seeking help for his illness and that he would be using his time in prison wisely.

Help for Addiction

Many people suffering addiction do not seek help for the problem either because they are too scared or because they do not actually think a problem exists. However, if a gambling addiction is left untreated, it can spiral out of control and cause complete devastation in a person’s life.

Thankfully, help is available. Addiction Helper is here to put addicts in touch with a suitable treatment provider from where they can access treatments that will help them kick the addiction they suffer from. If you or a loved one needs help for addiction, contact Addiction Helper today.


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