Ex-cricketer's addiction warning after huge gambling debts

Ex-cricketer Patrick Foster became addicted to gambling. Credit: ITV News Anglia

A former Northamptonshire cricketer is warning others about the impact of addiction after racking up hundreds of thousands of pounds of gambling debts.

Just a few months ago Patrick Foster was thinking about ending his life, but now he's speaking out about his recovery to raise awareness of compulsive gambling.

Click below for Sarah Byrd's report

Patrick Foster played for Northamptonshire before heading off to University.

And that's where he started gambling.

Patrick said: "It was fun, it was a hobby, it was very much amongst my peers and mates, it was something that we did on a Saturday, a football accumulator, a bet on the horses, whatever it might be and that was definitely the beginning of the end, as it were."

When Patrick's cricket dream ended, gambling filled the gap.

"When I was playing professional sport, you get that intensity, it's very competitive, you get that instant response, instant reaction from how you're doing, whether you're succeeding, failing and gambling kind of filled that void," said Patrick.

"And those bets, they went very quickly from being a £1 accumulator on a Saturday, to being £100 on a horse to, in the latter days, being £1000 and beyond that.

"When I think back now, you think, my word, what was I doing? But, it genuinely didn't feel like that £1 that it started with, was any different to the £1000 that it finished with."

Over the last decade Patrick's racked up hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of debt.

It'll take him more than ten years to pay it all off.

But compulsive gambling also cost him his job, his relationships, and in March it nearly cost him his life.

Patrick said: "My rock bottom was standing at the end of a train platform about to end my life and - until that point - you don't think you can get out of it, but at the same time, that's when sense prevailed and I realised, actually, I need help."

Patrick's now going through a treatment programme

And he's planning to tell his story in schools and cricket clubs across the country.