McGuigan admits gambling addiction

McGuigan writes to Electoral Office over  Paisley allegations

North Antrim MLA Philip McGuigan.

Staff Reporter

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Staff Reporter

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ballymoney.news@thechronicle.uk.com

Sinn Féin's Philip McGuigan has admitted to a BBC programme that his gambling addiction has cost him more than £100,000.

Speaking to BBC NI's The View, McGuigan confessed that he is a 'recovering compulsive gambler' and he hopes Northern Ireland's gambling laws can be changed to avoid others from becoming addicts.

In 2016, a Northern Ireland Gambling Prevalence Survey identified 2.3% of people as being problem gamblers in the UK; more than four times the figure for England, which stands at 0.5%.

"In a period in my life, I lost huge sums of money, but more than that, it changed me as a person and had a huge impact on my family life," he said.

"There were times, lots of times, when we had no money to buy food to eat, where my children had to go without necessities, where the mortgage wasn't paid and I wasn't able to fuel the car.

"I ruined many a Christmas and birthday because of my gambling.

"For someone like me, who is a compulsive gambler, the sad reality is the only time I stopped playing is when I lost money.

"I was able to gamble on a laptop, iPad, on my phone - I always had access. There were periods where I went 48 hours and did nothing but gamble non-stop. You would keep going until you run out of money."

Philip McGuigan's interview will be broadcast in full on BBC Northern Ireland's The View programme at 22:35 GMT this evening.

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