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Blog: In the words of ABBA “The winner takes it all…"

Louise Swindell

By Louise Swindell
Tenovus Cancer Care Development Manager

Many of us dream of winning the lottery. Imagine buying a desert island, a fancy car or a big house with loads of bedrooms (if it comes with a cleaner of course!)

Did you pop a bet on the Grand National last weekend? I decided not to in the end, but heard the favourite won – for only the second time ever! I’m sure there was a lot of money won (and lost) this weekend. If you did put a bet on, how did you feel? Was it fun? Or did you feel bet regret after?

Lots of us see a competition and can’t resist having a go, it might be a chance to win tickets to a concert, a car, or cash, we see the advert and think – that could be me! The feeling, or thrill, of winning is powerful, but for some of us it’s addictive and knowing when to stop is important.

Many of us play a lottery, take part in a work sweepstake or enter a raffle and don’t feel as though we are ‘gamblers’ but there are some questions you can ask yourself to see if your hobby is having a negative impact on your finances, friends or family.

For example, have you ever borrowed money to gamble? Have you ever sold anything to have money to gamble? Do you gamble to solve financial problems? Have you ever gambled to win back money from a loss? As Kenny Rogers would say…

“You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run”

A friend of mine told me how gambling had affected her: a family member was gambling beyond their means and was frequently asking to borrow money for their rent. Although she wanted to help the person to pay their rent, she really wanted the person to get help so they could take control of their finances and not gamble their rent money. This had a negative impact on their relationship and on others too.

There’s no shame in realising you gamble too much, the good thing is there is help out there and the sooner you ask for help the sooner you can get your gambling under control.

If you think you, or someone you know, might need to talk to someone about their gambling then you can call us or the National Gambling Helpline Freephone: 0808 8020 133, 8am – midnight 7 days a week.

We’d also recommend having a look at

We know there are different reasons people gamble too, it isn’t just for money. Some people gamble to escape worry, trouble, boredom, loneliness, grief or loss.

So, if you’d like to chat before you decide to enter a raffle, play the lottery or have a try on the tombola – give us a call on 029 2076 8856 and we can talk about it, together.