Having spent years running a top level high street bookmakers in London, I all too frequently saw how people would spend beyond their means and start chasing losses, getting further and further into debt before it overwhelmed them.
The company I worked for cared nothing for the people behind the losses so long as their profit sheet continued to grow. But seeing these punters on a daily basis you get to know them personally and it hurts seeing them destroy their lives chasing that big pay out that will see them straight.
The most devastating example was a gentleman who was always incredibly polite and courteous towards all the staff (unlike a lot of punters to be honest). He was a large stakes gambler from the moment I met him but you could tell over time his stakes were getting larger and the betting pattern more desperate, to the point he'd have £1000 on a virtual race to try and win some of his days money back. He didn't come in for a couple of weeks and we became concerned as it was so out of character and following us asking about it turns out he'd gone bankrupt and lost a large chain of top end hotels all due to his gambling addiction.
Betting should always be fun and when it becomes more than that you need people around you to help spot the signs and step in if necessary.
The project we are working on is looking to bring people together and talk openly about their experiences and build a community of people who are passionate about the sport whilst offering advice on how to minimise their potential losses.