A hairdresser who lost a staggering £70,000 in just one afternoon is urging women to seek help with gambling addiction after her own slot machine nightmare ruined her life.
Christine Tolaini, 39, a hairdresser from Wembley, , enjoyed gambling for as far back as she remembers – as a small child, she loved playing on the 2p and 10p machines at arcades.
At the age of 21, she went to for the first time, and realised she was more excited by gambling than her friends.
By the time she was 22, Christine even had a timeshare hotel room in Las Vegas, and visited once a year so she could feed her gambling habit.
Christine playing the slot machines in Las Vegas, which is known for being the world’s gambling capital.During her 20’s, D77 the hairdresser from Wembley had her very own hotel room timeshare in the US city, so she could indulge her love of slot machines
The 39-year-old hairdresser has since turned her life around, but during the darkest days of her addiction, lost £70,000 in just one afternoon playing online slot machines
Despite the thrill of casinos, the real addiction didn’t start until a decade later when the hairdresser started online betting.
In 2016, Christine started to gamble away all her earnings and racked up hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of credit card debt.
Realising she had a serious problem, by the age of 34 she had started recovery for her addiction, but relapsed twice as she was lured back in the world of gambling by free online bet offers.
Like many addictions, the hairdresser described her habit as ’something fun she did on weekends‘ – until it spiralled out of control.
The hairdresser is ‚happier than ever‘ now she has kicked her gambling habit after several relapses – but claims that sites can ‚lure people in‘
After 18 years of misery, Christine finally sought help, and is now urging other women to do the same, after falling back into bad habits when accounts she hadn’t closed deposited hundreds of pounds into her online gambling accounts
Christine said: ‚I can’t even describe the feeling of it, I was hopeless, I didn’t know how I was going to get out of it.
‚At first it was just a fun thing I did at weekends.
‚It seemed different when I had to withdraw physical cash, it was easier to control.‘
Six years ago, Christine won £150 from a 10p free bet and was soon playing online slots and online bingo every night, placing increasingly bigger bets until she reached breaking point.
Christine kept some of her accounts open during recovery as a ’safety net‘ in case she felt the urge to gamble, but they ultimately led to her relapse and she has now closed her accounts for good
She lost one years‘ worth of salary in an evening, amounting to £45k.
The second time she relapsed was in 2020, when she lost £70k in one afternoon, playing an online slot machine.
As a new survey revealed that female gambling is becoming more common due to the cost-of-living crisis, she said: ‚I felt completely lost.
‚I didn’t know what to do but I knew I needed help.
Seeing the GP didn’t help Christine, as she claims they ‚didn’t know what to do with her‘ when she broke down and told them she had a gambling problem – and credits GA (Gamblers Anonymous) for supporting her recovery
‚I went to the doctors, and they didn’t know what to do with me.Eventually I found a gamblers anonymous group.
‚Now I am happy to see more women are coming forward and speaking out, I don’t feel so alone with it anymore.‘
<div class="art-ins mol-factbox femail floatRHS" data-version="2" id="mol-51cbd350-584a-11ed-8bfe-a5db6ef88186" website addict who lost £70K in ONE DAY urges others to get help