Playing bingo online for most players is a harmless bit of fun with a bit of spare cash. And there are always the temptations of the side games, which again for most people are usually a harmless diversion with the prospect of potentially hitting a big win.
However, for some people it is not harmless, and it goes without saying that this applies not just to bingo and fruit machines, but to all forms of gambling whether online or offline. You only have to stand at a supermarket checkout for five minutes to see people who obviously can’t afford it buying high stakes scratch cards, and there are a myriad of other opportunities to gamble out there.
Jacqueline Balaam, 41 is such a case of gambling getting out of hand and having a serious impact on those around you. She led a double life, playing online fruit machines at a bingo website while her partner and two children slept, a habit which eventually led to the theft of more than £285,000 from her employers.
She duplicated invoices and transferred money to her own account from her employers’ Pembroke College whilst working as a finance officer. She had also over a period of years stolen stole more than £3,000 Girton Social Club during her voluntary position as a ‘treasurer’.
The total gambled came to a staggering £6.4 million, a figure which shocked the lady herself. If you do the maths it becomes obvious that if she hadn’t stolen that amount then she obviously had been winning a lot and ploughing it back into new bets and not withdrawing the winnings. One thing that she obviously didn’t have (despite being a finance officer) was a money management system which is essential for regular gamblers to keep check of how much they are spending and can go some way to flagging up when disposable limits are reached.
Very few gamblers would go to the lengths Balaam did to fund her gambling addiction, but, it is still a lesson as to what a gambling addiction can lead to. Obviously we don’t know whether she would have stolen had she not been addicted, but even so, it does stand as a stark reminder to never gamble, or play (bingo is gambling) with more money than you can afford to lose. Playing bingo online should only ever be seen as a bit of fun with a bit of disposable income, never as a ‘source of income’, and certainly never as a full time ‘hobby’. Original article.
By: Gareth Whieldon