A CORK woman has opened up about the shock of being told her electricity would be switched off due to her partner’s gambling habits.
Emma, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, warned that people going down this road are taking their partners and families with them.
It comes as Caitríona Twomey from Cork Penny Dinners revealed that service users are coming to eat at the facility after losing their money in casinos.
Meanwhile, Emma revealed that she has received threats from debt collectors and is left in fear of what is around the corner.
“This is the tip of iceberg,” Emma told The Echo. “I’m yet to find out the other debts he has left behind.”
She spoke of how he had spent months concealing the addiction.
“There were so many different excuses. At one point he told me that he was being emergency taxed and needed to borrow money. Another time he said his wages hadn’t been paid on time. Over time he built a wall of lies that became impossible to break down.”
Emma even spoke to the owner of the casino that he frequented.
“I spoke to him and he even offered to bar him from the premises. However, I knew that if they told him to leave he would just move on to another casino,” she said.
She admits to often blaming herself. “He had told me that the bills had been paid but that wasn’t the case,” she said.
“Like all problem gamblers, I think his worst fear was being found out. When I got the phone call to say that our electricity was going to be turned off it was a huge shock. I had never been in this situation before.
“There were times I felt it was all my fault and if we had a joint bank account I would have seen what was going on earlier. As far as I was concerned his money was his own and it wasn’t any of my business.”
Emma recalled being concerned about his phone habits. “He was on the phone late into the night,” she said.
“When I asked him what he was doing he just said he was playing games. What I didn’t realise then was they were online slot machines and he was losing money every time.”
Meanwhile, Caitríona Twomey said she regularly meets people with gambling addictions.
“You won’t see any visible signs that they have any kind of addiction,” Ms Twomey said. “Some don’t even drink, smoke, or take drugs.
“They remain unseen, even though their lives have been turned upside down by gambling. The people who suffer are the partners and their families. When the money is gone, it’s gone, but there is still a family in need who has been left to pick up the pieces.”
For help with problem gambling visit https://gamblingcare.ie/ or contact a local Family Resource Centre website for more information.