Swindon man who built up £25k of debt says gambling adverts are 'grooming the next generation'

  • Chris Spindler told ITV News West Country that gambling "destroyed every part of his life"

A recovering gambling addict from Wiltshire, who built up £25,000 of debt in five years, has said that gambling adverts "are grooming the next generation."

Chris Spindler, from Swindon, said he started gambling as soon as he turned 18, and within a few days had accounts with "pretty much every gambling website you could think of," as he wanted to capitalise on the free spins and offers.

He said his gambling "started off very responsible," but it didn't take long for it to spiral out of control.

"Before long, I was gambling on all different types of sports and casino games," he explained.

"It just destroyed every part of my life."

Chris Spindler said gambling is now easily available within a few clicks.

According to Bristol-based charity Ara Recovery For All, gambling-related harm is on the rise, particularly among young people.

New figures from the charity reveal it supported 25,000 people in the West Country in 2023 - almost twice as many as in the previous 12 months.

Guy Hawker, Ara Recovery For All's gambling service manager, said gambling is becoming more and more accessible because "these days everybody has a casino in their pocket."

Chris believes that this, combined with the prevalence of gambling adverts, has led to more and more people struggling with a gambling addiction.

"The way it is advertised in my eyes is sickening," he said.

"A lot of gambling firms now do sponsor football clubs so it's sort of rammed down people's throats, even if you're not looking for it."

He added he is particularly worried about the impact gambling adverts are having on children and young people, and has started sharing videos on TikTok.

"It's very glamourised, but 99% of the time, it's not great. It's not all these bright lights and winning money," he said.

"In my eyes, they're sort of grooming the next generation of gamblers."

Premier League football clubs have agreed to withdraw gambling sponsorship from the front of matchday shirts.

A Premier League spokesperson said: "The Premier League is working with other sports on the development of a new code for responsible gambling sponsorship.

"To assist clubs with their transition away from shirt-front gambling sponsorship, the collective agreement with begin at the end of the 2025-26 season."