Derbyshire former gambling addict launches bid to hide scratch cards from view in shops
A former gambling addict from North East Derbyshire has launched a campaign encouraging shops and supermarkets to move scratch cards from tills to behind a screen.
Stacey Goodwin, from Holmewood, is urging off-licences and supermarkets to stop display cheap scratch cards where customers go to pay to prevent people with addictions from being triggered to gamble.
The 28-year-old who works as a sales manager, previously lost thousands of pounds through gambling and plans to self-publish her first book called ‘The Girl Gambler’ about her journey in overcoming her addiction to help others, particularly women who she fears are struggling in silence.
Stacey’s addiction started when she got a job in a betting shop at 18-years-old which then spiralled into an addiction which controlled her life.
While she was primarily hooked on slot machines and online gambling sites before she overcame her addiction two years ago. The 28-year-old admitted she used to buy five or 10 scratch cards in one go when she was struggling.
"I know the other day I went to the shop and I was waiting in the queue for some milk and they are just huge and they are staring at people", she said.
"It's a trigger for a gambling addict, it could be that they end up buying one and end up relapsing that way - one can generally lead to 10 and online gambling.
"It could even be that they manage to say no and don't buy one but it starts the trigger process in their brain and they could end up going home and gambling hundreds of pounds because they've had this trigger pushed in their face.”
The 28-year-old is calling for the same laws that ensure cigarettes are covered by a screen in shops to apply to scratch cards too, and also believes alcohol should be displayed out of sight from behind the check outs.
Stacey added: "I've got so many women who are messaging me for support because they don't know the tools that are there so the more we can make people realise that pushing this in somebody's face when they are fighting everyday to come over it is wrong.
"This is about awareness and it is not about taking something enjoyable from anybody.
“It is about keeping those who are fighting everyday, and I know how hard that fight is, it is just about keeping them safe – take them out or put them in a place where it can be mainly avoided.”
She has submitted a petition to the Government about the cause, which is awaiting approval, and plans to meet with Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins to discuss ideas to help addicts seek help.
The 28-year-old urges people who feel compelled to gamble to download website-blocking software such as Gamban and join the the Self-Enrolment National Self-Exclusion (SENSE) scheme which allows people to exclude themselves from casinos in the UK.
For information about gambling addictions, call the free, 24/7 Be Gamble Aware helpline on 0808 8020 133.