Urgent need of advice- £2200 gambled away

(38 Posts)
LalyRawr Sat 24-Aug-13 11:56:14

A friend has gambling issues with online bingo.

Years ago a program was installed on her laptop which blocked those sites completely. Last night she spent 3 hours online researching how to remove the program.

She figured it out and blew away her entire wages (£2200) in a few hours.

She has paid no bills. No rent (which she was already in arrears by £1300), no council tax (which she didnt pay last month either), no gas and electric (on key) and no money for food shop. Due to the bank holiday, her direct debits have already gone out and her account is minus £1500. She does not have an agreed overdraft.

I know the actual issue is her gambling, which she has to sort out, but for now, how the fuck do we even begin to sort this?

I say we, because she is on her way over to mine now. Her credit history is that bad that even payday lenders will not touch her (though clearly I would not suggest this anyway).

Any advice on who she should be contacting, who can help her etc would be very very gratefully received.

Thank you.

givemeaboost Sat 24-Aug-13 11:59:03

aggh, what a mess, not sure what to suggest other than foodbanks-but most will only give enough food for 3 days

GemmaPomPom Sat 24-Aug-13 12:00:36

Do not enable her by funding any aspect of her lifestyle.

I once heard an addiction specialist talking about gambling. He said that gambling was the worst addiction in terms of damage, as an alcoholic or drug addict would never sell their wife, for instance, but a gambler is more likely to. In fact, he was telling us a story about a gambler who had sold everything then finally sold his wife.

Sorry to digress. Good luck to you and her. Maybe you could persuade her to join Gamblers Anonymous?

You sound like a lovely friend, wanting to help. I fear I would be less compassionate under the circumstances.

I'm not sure where you'd get financial help. Maybe this might be the wake-up call she needs to get help with her gambling. Are there children involved? I think all you can do is give her as much food/meals as you can.

LalyRawr Sat 24-Aug-13 12:02:12

Tell me about it givemeaboost!

I had same idea about foodbanks, but as you say, they do not give enough for a month!

I'm thinking most important things:

Rent
Council Tax
Food
Gas/Electric
Travel to and from work.

Everything else can be ignored just for a bit?

LalyRawr Sat 24-Aug-13 12:05:57

Sorry, didn't see new replies.

I am in no position to be giving her any money, we have savings, but due to the nature of my OH's work, we need that for over winter when it's quiet. But, as you say Gemma I don't think I would even if I could. I made that mistake when we were younger.

I would love to think this would be a wake up call Agent , though she have been in this position before, though admittedly with not so much money before.

She has a 6YO DD.

I am pissed off, but frankly, being pissed off isn't really going to help anyone right now! So trying to just be practical, then kick her arse later when she isn't in tears.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 24-Aug-13 12:07:45

Does she have anything she could sell until she finds a bar or delivery job that will get her enough money to live for the next month? In the meantime can she get some help from a foidbank or St Vincent de Paul?

RandallPinkFloyd Sat 24-Aug-13 12:16:04

Wow, I don't know what to say. What a nightmare.

The thing is though that's not accidentally stumbling on to something and getting carried away, or not being able to resist temptation when it's in front of you, that's seriously compulsive behaviour. Spending 3 hours working it out? That's a massive worry.

Has something happened do you know?

Money-wise I'm honestly not sure you should help her. I know I wouldn't be saying that if I was in your position because it's impossible to be objective when you're emotionally involved, but maybe she needs to face the consequences. Get herself to the CAB for debt advice and live on beans on toast for the month.

Of course you're going to be a shoulder to cry on but this could be the rock bottom she needs. I know that sounds heartless but I think she needs to do it for herself, take responsibility for her actions. Take control of her life.

RandallPinkFloyd Sat 24-Aug-13 12:18:51

X-post. I didn't know she had a child. That makes things a million times harder. You're in a catch 22 aren't you. You don't want to help your friend but how do you not help a 6yo?

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 24-Aug-13 12:23:33

Are there any Car Boot sales close by this weekend? If so, get her to clear out her wardrobes/book shelves tonight and get selling.

GemmaPomPom Sat 24-Aug-13 13:09:09

She has a 6YO DD.

Fucking hell. Call Social Services.

givemeaboost Sat 24-Aug-13 14:22:58

Is there anyone who the 6yo can go and stay with until next payday? she going to have to live on beans for the month as someone else said, but the daughter should not have to. she sounds like she needs a lot of help-as above poster said, this was not impulse, this was 3hrs of getting rid of the programme before she could even start to gamble-that I would say is a very bad sign.

Onesleeptillwembley Sat 24-Aug-13 14:33:42

So not give her a penny. Give the poor child a good meal at yours. Leave her to fend for herself. And it's not overreacting, contact social services. The child is in a seriously vulnerable position which isn't likely to improve.

hermioneweasley Sat 24-Aug-13 14:38:21

I woukd feed her DD and leave it at that. If she can spend 3 hours working out how to remove blocking software, she can spend time working out what to do about this mess and what to tackle first.

maristella Sat 24-Aug-13 14:39:59

I have no good advice for the immediate future other than to wring her bloody neck <ready for flaming> but I'd say that about any parent who leaves their child destitute to finance an addiction.

In the future she could look into a jam jar account from credit unions, they're very good.

If she is committed to making her DDs world a better place she needs to seek help from GA, disconnect from Internet etc. If she can't do this, she needs to find someone, or seek support from SS to ensure that her DD has access to food, warmth, housing etc

colditz Sat 24-Aug-13 14:41:33

Firstly she needs to flog that laptop, and kill two birds with one stone. Secondly, could you offer to keep her daughter for her while she finds a second job? Don't feel bad if you don't feel you can do this btw.

You can't help her, she has to want to.
My mother has a gambling addiction and from what you've posted about your friend, she sounds identical.
My mum has been bailed out by various people (including me) more times than I can remember, yet she still gambles and refuses any help.
Help her dd, if you can. Feed her etc
But do not help your friend, you cannot cure her and she'll come running back to you when the shit hits the fan next time and the next time ad infinitum

Fairylea Sat 24-Aug-13 14:43:04

A gambling addiction of that magnitude is a real mental health issue.

I think you have to contact social services anonymously so they can put some sort of care plan in place for the young child.

LtEveDallas Sat 24-Aug-13 14:46:38

Could you take her DD in? I wouldn't give her any money, she has to reach rock bottom it seems, but I just couldn't leave a 6 year old to suffer.

If you can't, does she have any family that could?

Practically, could you take her phone/laptop/any Internet advice off her, sell it and recoup some money that way. Sell anything that isn't essential, including TV etc. it's more important that she keeps a roof over her head and food in her belly.

(I've just discovered that an old friend has lost everything including her family through online gambling - we are talking hundreds of thousands - and it's seriously shocked me. Thankfully her children are grown so its only herself that she is hurting now, but her family have been advised NOT to help her AT ALL - she needs it apparently)

LindaMcCartneySausage Sat 24-Aug-13 14:59:09

I second what other posters have said. You can't help her until she helps herself. she's an addict and clearly she prefers the buzz of gambling to thinking about how to make ends meet and feed her DD for the next month. That's what addicts do and helping her out practically or financially enables her.

Can you take in her DD for a while? Where is the girl's father? can he help his DD?

RandallPinkFloyd Sat 24-Aug-13 14:59:35

Is there any other family the daughter could stay with for a couple of weeks? I know that's not a long term solution but just a short term fix so she is safe and fed for now whilst something else is sorted out?

In all honestly having the child there changes everything. I really don't see what option there is other than SS. Your friend needs serious help but she has to do it for herself, there is no other way. She has to realise the size of her problem and she has to want to face it.

Her daughter is a different story though, she needs her basic needs to be met right now and if there isn't anyone within the family who can do that then the only option is to do something official.

I really feel for you, you must feel very torn.

LalyRawr Sat 24-Aug-13 15:08:50

Thanks for all your posts, sorry I haven't replied, but she was here, and how I did not kill her I'll never know.

Every suggestion she has an answer to.

"Call the bank." "Why, it's pointless?"
"Call CAB." "But I never get through."
"Sell the laptop" " But I need it!"

etc etc.

The daughter will be fine. She is currently staying at her nan's and they'll probably do a food shop for her.

Also found out it's worse than I thought. She borrowed £7000 from someone she works with, she has payday loans in other peoples names (her husband, her mum etc), she flat out refuses to tell her husband the truth, so God knows whats going to happen when that all comes out.

Basically feeling very fucking frustrated as I had this nearly every month 5/6 years ago, but she sorted herself out, got a degree, got a job she loves, hadn't gambled in about 4 years. Then falls of the wagon in a spectacular fashion.

Thank you for all the advice and I'm sorry it looks like it is all going to be ignored.

expatinscotland Sat 24-Aug-13 15:11:35

How can the husband not know? Tell him! Don't give her any money, either. Borrowed £7000 from a work colleague? Wow, where does she work?

LalyRawr Sat 24-Aug-13 15:14:57

She deals with all finances. He gives her money every week, but has no access to her accounts.

The £7000 was on a credit card. Colleague paid off wedding & some outstanding loans. Friend is paying back £250 every month straight to credit card.

Unfortunately you are either have to tell both her husband and mum what she has done or lie along with her.

As she has not reached rock bottom and she won't until everyone stops giving her money.

She doesn't want your help she wants your savings.

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