His battle with a gambling addiction started in 2000 when fresh-faced college student Brian Hatch won his first game of blackjack. His addiction led him to neglect his education as he would drive more than two hours to his nearest casino instead of attending his classes.
Brian Hatch, host of All In: The Addicted Gambler’s Podcast, talked in Martin Lycka’s latest Safe Bet Show Podcast about the harsh truths of gambling addiction and just how far gamblers will go to get their fix.
Around three months into his gambling activity, Hatch recognized his addiction but was afraid to speak up. Despite the call for help he continued to gamble and was eventually kicked out of college for his poor attendance.
Seven years into his addiction, Hatch attended his first Gamblers Anonymous meeting before attending a second in 2009. Although Hatch praised the organization by stressing that his visits were “worth it”, the initial meeting had left him feeling unwelcome, anxious and uncomfortable.
“The first meeting I went to, there were three other people. All of them were about 20 to 25 years older than me. I was uncomfortable as a 24-year-old kid. It wasn’t welcoming and I had a lot of anxiety. So I went to the first meeting but did not return to the second one. It took me another year and a half to go to my second meeting. And when I went to that meeting, that’s the one that made a difference for me.”
This notion of anxiety when speaking out has certainly encouraged Hatch in recent years, as his podcast was born out of an idea to let problem gamblers see other sufferers speak out about their feelings in the hope of encouraging them to do the same.
All In: The Addicted Gambler’s Podcast has been running since January 2015, allowing Hatch to discuss topics of gambling addiction with clinicians, academics, public health workers, RG managers and the lived experience community.
His podcast was also born out of the fact that he could not afford therapy, and he compared a podcast to therapy. Through his own personal experience and podcast journey, Hatch has recognized certain parameters that he believes could make a difference to sufferers of gambling addiction, noting that affordability checks are a “good idea.”
“I think affordability checks are a good idea because I don’t think people can control themselves when it comes to this [gambling].
“I think having some sort of affordability check at the door or when you go to get more money at the casino is a good idea. I can’t believe it would be that complicated, considering most casinos do a credit check anyways.”
He continues with the necessity to put the correct helpline number while advertising gambling. “If you want to advertise that much, be mindful of the people who need help and put that helpline so it’s legible. Make the helpline big enough so people can see it.”
Towards the end of the latest podcast, Brian Hatch highlighted that a gambling addiction cost him 14 years of his life, so he urges those in the industry to do better in helping people who struggle with gambling addiction.
He emphasizes that gambling addiction is a serious issue and that people who struggle with it can end up in a very dark place. However, he pointed out that he loves gambling, but believes that the industry needs to take responsibility for the harm that can come from addiction and work to make their establishments safer for those who need help.
Hatch suggests that more operators should engage in lived experience to better understand the impact of gambling addiction on individuals and what can be done to prevent it.
Don’t forget to subscribe to our Telegram-channel!