I recently watched “All Bets Are Off” 1, a documentary hosted by Baz Ashmawy about gambling addiction in Ireland. One of the people featured on the documentary was Tony O’Reilly, a former branch manager at An Post who stole a mind boggling €1.7 million from his employers and managed to win an even more mind boggling €10 million, only to lose it all. ‘Tony 10’ was the username of his online betting account.
Tony, along with author Declan Lynch, recently released a book, “Tony 10: The astonishing story of the postman who gambled €10,000,000… and lost it all”, documenting his story from falling into gambling addiction to eventually overcoming it and becoming an addiction counsellor himself - not before spending time in jail and losing just about everything in between.
The book opens by painting a picture of an ordinary man in an ordinary town. What begins with a €1 bet “to have an interest” in some of the 1998 World Cup matches escalates into a world where numbers have no meaning. €10000 on a tennis match, €20000 on a horse may as well be €1 or €2 bets.
The big take away from reading the book is that it is extremely easy to get sucked into gambling addiction. Betting shops are in every town in Ireland and online betting is available to anybody at any place and time.
The fact that Tony O’Reilly was able to walk into betting offices with enormous amounts of money in cash and could bet that money away day after day without any questions being asked makes you wonder how often this type of thing happens, and how betting organizations are getting away with it.
Tony 10 is an interesting read, and one which gives a great insight into the power of addiction and how easy it is to lose the run of yourself.
Highly recommended by the way. At the time of writing this, it can still be watched on the RTE Player. ↩