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Win. Lose. Repeat.
My life as a gambler, from coin pushers to financial spread betting
By Chris Stringman
"My partner cooked a meal whilst I sat on the toilet and logged on - where the system closed me out for an almost instant £17,000 loss. I felt physically sick..."
For many, the image of a gambling addict is someone hunched over a fruit machine for hours on end, or spending their lives in their local bookmakers watching another sure-fire winner fall at the last fence. But thanks to the rise of smartphones, becoming addicted to gambling in your own home has become that much easier. Technology has helped to fuel the rise of spread-betting (SB)- effectively a form of gambling on the performance of the financial markets -and other forms of online gambling... and it's become a male and middle-class problem.
In this brutally honest new memoir, Chris Stringman reveals how his addiction to gambling cost him his life savings, his car and very nearly his home - £130,000 in total - but thankfully not his marriage. His book addresses the many forms of gambling from onlinepokerto the high-streetbookmakers,casinosto amusementarcades,bingoto the lottery, and "gamblers' crack cocaine, known in the trade asFixed Odd Betting Terminals(FOBTs)".
Chris investigates themale mid-life crisis mindset,whywe gamble,howwe gamble, themarketingof myriadmyths, how to spot a gambler and how to stop a gambler.
The author is candid about the thrill of the chase: the emotional, addictive highs when you can make thousands of pounds in a matter of minutes. But he's also open about the much more regular lows, when the markets go against you and you realise that you owe the bookmakers substantial sums of money. In one shocking instance Chris recalls how he lost a year's salary in just two days and how he once received a call in the school staff room at work chasing him for £13,000.
Win. Lose. Repeatlooks at the impact gambling addiction can have on those around you. From the pupils who were set tasks in the classroom enabling Chris to check his phone to find out how the markets were doing, to the lengths he went to hide his growing addiction from his partner. And with UK regulation coming into force in May this year - the same month as the book launches - that requires the industry to offer a better level of protection to consumers, this is a timely exploration of just how the gambling industry works and the psychological tactics employed to part someone from their cash. In an industry worth some £3billion a year - and that's just online gambling - it's no surprise that there has been a recent explosion in gambling companies seeking a piece of this lucrative market.
Win. Lose. Repeatis at once a warning and a call to arms. Chris has bravely shared his story, one that he's not felt able to reveal to friends and family before, to steer others away from the trap that he fell into, to lay bare the tactics of gambling companies, and ignite a debate about the growing problems of gambling and online addiction. He writes:"I have kicked the gambling habit, I have a new life in my 40s. I gambled out of a sense that I had missed out on certain th8ings, missed out on certain women. I gambled to get that life now that I thought I deserved. I gambled out of boredom with my stagnating career and life. Gambling attracts both the confident and the desperate. It is easy to be both at various points in your life."
Chris Stringman is a primary school teacher, born in Bristol, England, and currently lives in Berlin with his wife and child. He has appeared in publications, including the Financial Times, warning others about the dangers of spread betting. Win. Lose. Repeat is his first book.
Title:Win. Lose. Repeat.
Genre:Gambling, Addiction, Mental Health
Publisher:Free Association Books
Availability:Paperback, International distribution
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