After this nightmare, he decided to make the best out of it by studying to become a therapist and help those in the same situation he was in. He has appeared on several TV shows and radio podcasts, and he has even co-written a book that tells his story. Also, he often goes to schools to raise awareness of the dangers of gambling.
He has said on several occasions that he is anti-gambling harm. He states that if you look at the statistics on gambling harm, around five or six out of 50 people are going to be affected negatively by gambling according to the UK gambling statistics. This could be anyone, from a friend to a colleague, a family member, or even yourself.
Tony O’Reilly the Gambler – The Start of a Bad Addiction
Tony O’Reilly was a respected postmaster who started stealing money from his employer when he developed a gambling addiction. For him, it all started with an innocent €1 bet when he was in his early 20s. After some time, it all worsened once he opened an online casino account. He would often bet thousands on sporting events.
“It all started with a €1 bet when I was in my early 20s, and then it all worsened once I opened an online betting account”. Tony O’Reilly, former postmaster.
Speaking on Radio 4 programme ‘Life Changing’, Tony explained how his gambling addiction led to the breakdown of his marriage, the lost friendships, and, eventually, left him suicidal. He lost €6000 for his wedding on bets. Luckily enough, he recovered the sum through an accumulator bet. By this point, he was deeply in debt, but he was still trying to fix the problem by gambling.
As a manager of a post branch, Tony had access to hundreds of thousands of euros, which he ended up stealing. It all started with a small amount every now and then. The amounts and the stealing frequency increased dramatically. Although he was earning a good salary, most of it went to repaying debts. Moreover, his wife had just gotten pregnant with their first child.
The Wexford postmaster stole a total sum of €1.75m from his post office to fund his addiction. The process was slow, it probably took 12 years until he hit rock bottom. Nowadays, easy access to technology makes the process of getting hooked much quicker. The Tony O’Reilly gambler problem worsened, leading to addiction and years spent in jail, but for the better.
Tony O’Reilly’s Gambling Problem Changed Him for Good
After having an insight into Tony O’Reilly’s biography, let’s now focus on the happy ending of this harsh and sad story. As we have mentioned before, Tony O’Reilly completely changed his life by becoming a psychotherapist specialising in gambling addictions. Needless to say, hardly could any other therapist know better than him what being a gambling addict is and what the consequences of binge betting are.
They usually say that prison turns you into a criminal, a drug user, or any other bad thing you could imagine. In fact, drugs can lead to gambling addiction and vice-versa. In the end, addictions are all related between them.
Nevertheless, O’Reilly took this time in prison to get to know himself better, reconsider all the things he had done and heal in any way he could. Then, he took the decision to take up psychology studies with the intention to straighten up and help those with similar addictions.
Having left his dark past behind, he is now one of the best therapists to advise on dealing with gambling problems and related situations. The fully accredited member of the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy travels to schools around the UK and Ireland to give talks to potentially gambling vulnerable teenagers. He tells his story and suggests different ways to prevent gambling issues through the charity Extern.
Tony O’Reilly’s Gambling Addiction Counselling
As an experienced addiction counsellor, he knows every bit of the psychology of gambling. Furthermore, he is an accredited member of the Addiction Counsellors of Ireland (ACI) and The Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP). He also holds a BSc in Counselling and Psychotherapy from Middlesex University, which was completed in conjunction with PCI College.
Tony believes that education is essential in today’s society. In fact, he is currently working with several organisations by carrying out talks, workshops and awareness programmes for businesses, sports clubs and schools. In the past, Tony O’Reilly’s gambling problem made him become an expert on the dangers of gambling and what steps to take to quit it.
His professional approach is relaxed, and he focuses on the development of the therapeutic relationship in a non-judgemental and empathic manner. His gambling therapy work includes elements of his own lived experience as a formerly addicted gambler, along with four therapeutic models:
Solution-Focused Brief Therapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Tony O’Reilly’s gambling addiction counselling can help anyone who suffers the consequences of abusing the game. Through Tony O’Reilly’s gambling personal and professional experience, he has established a safe and trustworthy environment that encourages his patients through their recovery. If he could make it, why shouldn’t others succeed as well?
Tony O’Reilly – The Gambling Advisor
Tony O’Reilly’s biography has shown us that his desire to excel and leave problems behind was stronger than anything. He co-wrote a book with journalist Declan Lynch, telling his story in detail. His book gained notoriety when it was published in 2018. He focused on serving as an example for others not to make the same mistakes he did.
He describes addiction as the loneliest place of all. Therefore, he advises anyone who struggles with it to open up and practice responsible gambling. Most importantly, asking for help is one of the most significant actions a gambling addict should do. We have compiled a series of tips that Tony O’Reilly’s gambling addiction counselling would give:
Avoid spending too many hours on your tech devices. Be aware of online gambling.
Rationalise gaming and avoid in-game purchases.
Prioritise family and friendships above all, they won’t be there forever.
If you think you’re having a problem, ask for help immediately. It’s never too late.
Lead a healthy lifestyle, do exercise, eat healthily, and avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
Find yourself a hobby unrelated to gambling.
We also want to remind you to take care of your spending when gambling. We advise choosing licensed operators to minimise potential harm, whether you are playing land-based or online. Online casino sites approved by the UK Gambling Commission offer numerous self-restriction tools to help you control your betting habits.
Also, remember that in the UK, it is forbidden to bet if you are underage. The gambling age in the UK to be able to play is 18 years old. Breaking this rule is harshly persecuted and could have serious legal consequences for the player and the gambling provider.
Tony O’Reilly Gambling FAQ
Tony O’Reilly’s biography can become an example to those afraid to cope with addiction. Being open about his problem has inspired many people to quit betting. See our FAQ section to learn more about Tony O’Reilly, the the negative consequences of binge betting, and what to do to get detached from gambling addiction.
1️⃣ How did Tony O’Reilly’s gambling problem begin?
Tony O’Reilly was a respected postmaster who started stealing money from his employer when he developed a gambling addiction. It all started with a €1 bet when he was in his early 20s. Then, it all worsened once he opened an online betting account. He would often bet thousands on sporting events.
2️⃣ How did Tony O’Reilly’s gambling habits change?
Stealing more than one million euros from his post office brought Tony O’Reilly to prison. He would then reconsider all the things he had done and heal in any way he could. Eventually, he took the decision to take up psychology studies with the intention to help those with similar addictions.
3️⃣ What studies does Tony O’Reilly have?
Tony O’Reilly turned into an accredited member of the Addiction Counsellors of Ireland (ACI) and The Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP). He holds a BSc in Counselling and Psychotherapy from Middlesex University, which was completed in conjunction with PCI College. He is currently working with several organisations by carrying out talks, workshops and awareness programmes.
4️⃣ What is Tony O’Reilly’s gambling addiction counselling advice?
According to Tony, warning teenagers and adults about the dangers of gambling is a must. Thus, he believes that harm prevention and education are essential. He advises anyone who struggles with gambling addiction to open up, ask for help, prioritise family and friendships, lead a healthy lifestyle and take up a hobby distinct from gaming and betting.
5️⃣ Where does Tony O’Reilly work?
Tony O’Reilly is a licenced counsellor and psychotherapist based in Dublin, Ireland. However, he works with several organisations similar to the charity like BeGambleAware by carrying out talks, workshops and awareness programmes across Ireland and the UK. His gambling therapy work includes elements of his own experience as a formerly addicted gambler.