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'I lost everything' - Cardiff woman warns of gambling dangers

A woman from Cardiff has spoken out about the dangers of gambling, after she was imprisoned for a crime she committed to fuel her addiction.

Sarah Grant says she started gambling long before she was legally allowed to.

Sarah Grant says she started gambling from a young age after growing up in a pub environment surrounded by fruit machines. It began to develop into a much more serious problem when she started betting online.

She successfully managed to hide her addiction from friends and family for over 15 years, until she was jailed for theft last year.

Now, as she begins therapy to help tackle her addiction, she says she hopes telling her story will help others with similar problems.

My gambling addiction has led to me losing everything. I'm now homeless and in debt. Getting arrested was quite an extreme way for people to find out I had a serious gambling problem. It's now out in the open and I'm determined to do what I can to stop somebody else ending up in the situation I now find myself in.

– Sarah Grant

Sarah is a supporter of Flutter-free February, a campaign where those who gamble in Wales are being encouraged to stop this month to raise awareness of the emotional and financial problems it can cause.

Access to gambling is easier than ever. Until last year I'd never been to a betting shop, but there are so many now that they almost invite you in...it's not substance abuse so there's nothing physical you can really spot either so as an addiction it is relatively invisible.

– Sarah Grant

The Remote Gambling Association, which represents many companies in the industry, says that it promotes responsible gambling and is committed to protecting people, especially the young and vulnerable.

Current protections are sufficient to help most customers manage their gambling without getting into difficulties, but we are in regular discussions...to identify any new initiatives which could usefully be introduced.

– The Remote Gambling Association

George Zielinski reports: