SUN Racing reporter Jack Keene has opened up on his battle with gambling addiction to raise awareness as part of Safer Gambling Week.
Our man was interviewed on Sky Sports Racing and spoke candidly about the effects of his addiction and his ongoing recovery.
In July, he wrote a piece detailing his toxic relationship with betting, which spiralled out of control in his mid 20’s.
Keene, 30, described how he would chase his losses and would only stop gambling when there was nothing left to bet on – or he ran out of money.
He said: “When you are in gambling mode, it consumes you – nothing else matters.
“You don’t think about anyone or anything else.
“It’s the first thing you think about when you wake up and the last thing you think about before you go to bed.
“I would have a bet on the first race of the day and then continue to chase my losses in every race on the card at every meeting.
“Even the American racing, which I don’t know a great deal about, I would stay up and punt on that.
“You just have absolutely no control.”
Keene has managed to get his gambling under control and is still able to work in the horse racing industry.
He continued: “I’ve not had any issues for well over a year now and I can channel my energy into my love for the game.
“I’m fortunate that I love racing and I can separate the sport and the gambling, but I’m not in denial.
“I know there could be a slip-up around the corner, but I just have to be very aware of that and look out for the triggers.”
One of the aims for Keene to talk openly about his gambling addiction was to try and encourage others to seek help.
He revealed he has been contacted by several people, including some in the racing industry, and he gave advice for anyone who is thinking about quitting gambling.
He said: “One of the main reasons I wanted to do it was because I wanted to see if it could help anyone.
“I think I said it when I posted it at the time, but if it can help one person, that’s job done for me.
“I have had a few people, including some from the racing industry, reach out which has been fantastic.
“I’m more than happy to help anyone who has been going through the same thing I have been going through.
“(If you think you have a gambling problem) the first thing I would do is tell a loved one – a partner, family or close friend.
“The problem is you have to want to give it up. I went to have sessions with GamCare and I go to Gamblers Anonymous groups once a week and they are fantastic.
“I would recommend that and if you keep going to groups, you can get yourself on the straight and narrow.”