Excesive Gambing Wales 2018 – Speaker – John McCracken

John joined GambleAware as Director of Commissioning (treatment services) in April 2018.

John was previously the Head of Drugs Policy at the Department of Health, where he was responsible for the treatment of dependence on drugs, and for working with other Government Departments to develop the range of services available to meet individuals’ needs for wider support. John’s earlier roles at the Department of Health included being Head of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, and working with Dame Carol Black on her review of the Health of the Working Age Population.
During two periods of secondment to the NHS, John was responsible for commissioning services for people with complex needs.
John has a BSc in Biochemistry with Medical Science from the University of St Andrews.

Excesive Gambing Wales 2018 – Speaker – Terry White

I am 54 years of age and am a recovering FOBT addict, I am a former betting shop manager for both Ladbrokes and Corals, a fairly good sports bettor and an average poker player… sadly over the last 2 years I have lost £250,000 on FOBTs, causing me to lose my home which I once owned outright, I now have debts of nearly £100,000 also.

I have been fortunate to be put in a newydd housing flat in Barry as I was very nearly homeless after my suicide attempt in 2016, again all caused by FOBTs.

It has become my desire and passion to both educate and help anybody with any form of gambling issue, ranging from FOBTs to online gambling and dealing with all of the many implications that arise from the addiction.

I have appeared on quite a few live tv and radio shows and done a couple of local and national paper stories all in an attempt to raise awareness of how vicious a circle the gambling environment has now become.

I am on twitter @terrymistertonto and will always have time for anyone, anywhere whom needs help and support.

Excesive Gambing Wales 2018 – Beat the Odds Problem Gambling Report

Beat the Odds Report:

Evidence for psychosocial interventions for problem gambling

Tim Leighton, June 2017


Excesive Gambing Wales 2018 – Speaker – Owen Baily

In his formative years Owen experienced challenges which led him to a path of total destruction. Dabbling in drugs and petty crime from the age of twelve Owen regularly attended Youth Court. His schooling suffered to and was expelled from four Secondary Schools leaving education with no qualifications.

At 17 Owen became homeless. Eventually he was housed only to be evicted and face homelessness again one year later. Now 18 a stay on remand at a Young Offenders then a 6 month stay at a Bail Hostel Followed.

By this time Owen was gambling heavily on Fruit Machines but it was not long till he discovered discovered Roulette. Owens dream of a big win came true one Sunday before Xmas when he went to a casino. Two months later he was in Holland, homeless, no money, no home and no job.

Not long after Owen was back in the UK. The next seven years were tough. Intermittently homeless with periodic stays at night shelters and hostels, he became a Big Issue Vendor whilst battling with alcohol dependence, amphetamine and pharmaceutical abuse not to mention the now newly arrived Fixed Odds Betting Terminals which for Owen proved, with out exaggerating, deadly for him.

Many low points were encountered but what stands out is the lifestyle he adapted in order to survive. Often penniless Owen resorted to routinely check phone boxes, car parking meters, areas outside clubs and bars looking for lost money, tobacco and alcohol.

At 27 Owen was accepted into Therapeutic Community where he stayed for 20 months. A life changing experience Owen came face to face with his past and who he had become and began to make changes to his character adapting an aspiration to become a better person.

At 31 Owen having come to terms with his past, behavioral and emotional challenges as well as his various excessive appetites felt a Moral Duty to draw on his personal experience and use it to help others. 

Change is possible…..

Excesive Gambing Wales 2018 – Speaker – Ruth Champion

Ruth Champion is a psychologist who has been working with male and female gamblers within the Gordon Moody Association for 15 years. During this time, she has developed and evaluated the only gambling specific residential service in the UK, in addition to creating new services that have addressed the gaps in current treatment provision with much success.


In a new chapter of her career Ruth is branching out independently within the gambling treatment provision; with the hope that her understanding of the mind of a gambler will enable her to continue to contribute to the help and understanding that is available across the UK.

Excesive Gambing Wales 2018 – Speaker – Steve Sharman

I completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology at UEL, graduating top of the class and winning the British Psychological Society award for the University.  

During this time I became interested in pathological gambling, and began working on a voluntary basis at the National Problem Gambling Clinic. This was followed by a master’s degree at UCL in Cognitive Neuroscience, where my dissertation investigated decision-making differences between gamblers and a control group. I won a scholarship to complete my PhD in Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge, under the supervision of Dr Luke Clark, investigating cognition and decision-making in pathological and regular gamblers. Upon completion of my doctorate, I worked for approximately 1 year at NatCen (National Centre for Social Research) before moving to the University of Lincoln to take up a post-doctoral research post, working closely with pathological gamblers from the Gordon Moody Association. I am a member of the National Problem Gambling Research Council, housed at the clinic in London, have acted as a reviewer for numerous journals, supervise final year undergraduate dissertation, and teach on the Psychology undergraduate degree.  

Excesive Gambing Wales 2018 – Speaker – Henrietta Bowdn-Jones

Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones is the Founder and Director of the National Problem Gambling Clinic in the UK, the only NHS service (CNWL NHS Trust) designated for the treatment of pathological gamblers now in its tenth year.

Excesive Gambing Wales 2018 – Speaker – Wynfor Ellis Owen

After a 40 years career as a writer, actor and director working in theatre and television, Wynford returned to college in 2006 to study for a Fd.Sc. degree in Addictions Counselling.

After graduating in the summer of 2008, he worked briefly as an addictions counsellor in Rhoserchan, the drug and alcohol treatment centre above Penrhyncoch, near Aberystwyth. On the 1st of October, 2008 he started work as Chief Executive Officer of the Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs, and a corner-stone of his 3 year strategy was the establishment of Stafell Fyw Caerdydd/Living Room Cardiff, a community based Recovery Centre supporting people with addiction problems in Cardiff and surrounding areas. He was awarded the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship for 2010 and visited some of the new recovery community centres in the U.S. which have achieved long-term recovery from severe alcohol and/or drug-related problems. A network of such centres is to be found in Vermont, Connecticut and Philadelphia, Washington D C and Virginia. Visiting these centres provided Wynford with very useful ideas on how to better build a strong “peer culture” into the Stafell Fyw Caerdydd/Living Room Cardiff project, which was officially opened on 8th September, 2011.

Having recently stood down as Centre Head & CEO, Wynford is focused on rolling-out the Beat the Odds programme throughout Wales, and setting up Living Room centres in West and North Wales. Currently, he is a Specialist Counselling Consultant to CAIS Ltd., Living Room Cardiff’s parent company, and is also responsible for delivering and overseeing Cynnal, the counselling service for clergy and ministers of religion and their families; and Enfys, the bespoke counselling service for qualified medical doctors. He’s also responsible for delivering retreats – of which there are three every year – and three modules on Addiction & Recovery Coaching, in conjunction with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

Wynford is married to Meira, has two daughters, Bethan and Rwth, and is a very proud grandfather to Begw, Efa, Bobi and Jac. He lives in Creigiau on the outskirts of Cardiff.

Wynford is in recovery and his sobriety date is 22nd July, 1992.

Excesive Gambing Wales 2018 – Download Area

The Excessive Gambling Wales 2018 download area will be available 24 hours post conference.

Dr. Frank Atherton, Chief Medical Officer for Wales


KEYNOTE: Addiction & Gambling – What is it? 
Phillip Townshend, Head Gambler’s Help Services
Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation

Excesive Gambing Wales 2018 – Speaker – Sarah Grant

My addiction started as a young child in the arcades at the seaside. Unbeknown to me this was the start of a horrible gripping illness that took me to some of the darkest places in my life. 

I have tried all kinds of gambling, scratch cards, FOBT’s and online to name a few. I managed to hide this destructive behaviour for over 15 years until I was convicted and sent to prison for a crime I committed to fund my addiction. 

My family and friends found out in the headlines of the local paper, ‘gambling addict steals £1900’. It was a low point in my life and I found myself homeless, jobless and hopeless when I was released. 

Since then I’ve fought everyday against this illness and I speak out in the hope that others don’t follow the same path. I attend the Living Room Cardiff and have help from the Gordon Moody Association.

During this journey I have noticed areas where there are gaps;

Dual diagnosis of mental health and gambling addiction seems to have no specific service. I have struggled with this as with each illness the way you work towards recovery can sometimes be total opposites.

The difference in help offered to males versus females in gambling help services.

I am keen to look to educate younger people starting at school age on the dangers of gambling.

I feel we also need more eduction between all cultures as there is still a strong stigma of shame and embarrassment within some communities.

Gambling appears to be fifty years behind other addictions even though it is just as destructive as being an alcoholic or any other addict. Why do we encourage and normalise gambling? Whether it be celebrity endorsed adverts or online gaming sucking in people both young and old.

We need a change, so if speaking my shame, my sadness and struggles helps just one person then I have achieved more than I had to start.