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Former £71,000-a-year financial worker David Bradford, 63, was jailed for two years in 2014 after stealing £50,000 from his firm to try to win back £500,000 he had lost playing online slot games.
His actions tore his family apart with Bradford’s wife Denise, 67, and his three sons completely unaware of his habit.
Adam, who has since co-founded anti-addiction organisation Safer Online Gambling Group with his father, said: ‘My dad had spun a web of lies all around us all and the only way to get to the truth was to put pen to paper.
‘Some people still struggle to see gambling addiction for what it is – an addiction – and these letters really shine a light on just how crippling the condition can be.
‘To see a 21-year-old lad and his father, a grown man, from a seemingly perfect life, being torn apart by gambling…it’s impossible not to recognise the scale of the problem.’
At the time of his offences, Bradford, also of Sheffield was described as a ‘pillar of the community’ and was also a school governor.
His double life was exposed when he admitted stealing £50,000 from his employer at Mold Crown Court in April 2014 and was jailed for two years.
Revealing how the addiction can ‘rip families apart’, Adam, who has spent the last five years campaigning tirelessly for stricter legislation surrounding online gambling, believes there has been a ‘seismic shift’ in attitudes to compulsive gambling since his father was jailed.
He also applauded the recent news that betting giants Bet365, Paddy Power’s owner Flutter, Ladbrokes’ owner GVC, Sky Betting & Gaming and William Hill, were committing more funds to treatment .
Adam added: ‘Back then it felt very much like the entire world was against us, my dad was completely to blame for what he did and that was that.
‘But now we’re starting to see changes in public opinion. People are seeing gambling addiction in the same way they see other addictions – like alcohol abuse.
‘You don’t just say “stop drinking” to an alcoholic, there’s a whole process that needs to be carried out to treat the sickness and that’s why the NHS is rolling out services to target gambling addiction nationwide.
‘Now even the gambling companies are coming forward and acknowledging that there’s a dark side to it too and that support needs to be fully funded – that’s brilliant.’
Bradford started gambling at 19 but it took nearly four decades for the extent of his problem to come to light.
The first the family knew of it was at 4.30pm on April 11, 2014, when David’s solicitor called and told them he’d been jailed for two years for fraud.
‘I was 21 and found myself the man of the house, looking after my entire family with a mountain of debt hanging over us.
‘But as I read through, I realised that this wasn’t just my dad being reckless like so many people had said. He had a serious problem and needed help.’
Released eight months into his sentence, Bradford, now a recovering addict, has stood alongside his son, campaigning for tighter gambling legislation and, last month, officially launching SOGG with him.
As part of a five-strong team, they have already secured a breakthrough partnership with GVC Holdings, owners of Ladbrokes, as part of their Changing for the Better Campaign, tackling gambling related issues head-on.
They have also secured funding to create a breakthrough digital therapy service to provide gambling treatment to anyone who thinks they might be at risk.
Adam said: ‘The idea behind the digital treatment, which we hope to have up and running by 2020, is to offer easy, accessible therapy to anyone who thinks that they might have a gambling problem.’
The treatment will first be accessible through Ladbrokes’ website and will then be rolled out across the industry.
He added: ‘Through simple assessment the programme will be able to flag any warning symptoms and point the user in the right direction – very much like you can self-assess whether you are drinking too much through the NHS.
‘The fact that the GVC Holdings has come forward and supported an initiative like this is a testament to how much attitudes have changed.