Case study 'I was spending over €300 a day on Lotto tickets'
SHANE wasn't the average gambling addict.
He bet on the National Lottery's Lotto jackpot and never showed any interest in horse-racing, poker or casinos.
"I often said that I didn't have a gambling problem – I just couldn't win the bloody Lotto, no matter how much I spent."
Shane, a Waterford-based shopkeeper, ended up spending over €300 a day on Lotto tickets.
"The machine would go live from 7am and that's when I'd start buying tickets. Believe it or not, I once won €200,000 but my gambling spiralled out of control from then on," he said.
Shane attended addiction recovery centre Aiseiri for treatment and now attends weekly meetings of Gamblers Anonymous.
"Playing the Lotto is gambling and that needs to be said.
"The important thing for people to realise is that there is help out there."
Shane added that he feels it is important for people to speak out about gambling so others can get help.
He paid particular tribute to a number of sports stars who spoke about their gambling problems.
Offaly GAA star Niall McNamee quit gambling after he realised that betting was crippling his life.
"It had got to a stage that I was no longer able to leave a bookies unless all of my money was gone, or the nice lady behind the counter was turning off the TV because they were closing," Niall said.
"There were times when I would have turned the smallest amount of money into a huge sum in the space of a couple of hours. That was the problem for me, no matter how much I had lost, I still had the belief that I could win it all back."
Armagh GAA legend Oisin McConville admitted his gambling spiralled out of control after the county's famous 2002 All-Ireland triumph.
At one point, he had run up debts of over €120,000.
But, after seeking help, he turned his life around.
Former Manchester United and Northern Ireland star, Keith Gillespie, revealed last year that his gambling habit got so bad he once bet €130,000 in a single day.
Over an 18-year career spent at top clubs including United and Newcastle United, Gillespie estimated that he lost over €9m.
"You're always chasing the next winner. I would have bets on every race going in the bookies," he said.
"It didn't matter what the stake was ... it was the buzz of winning."