I earn thousands of pounds every day by gambling
But I lose hours of my life to it
How do you make extra cash? Do you have a part time job in a bar? Or do you tutor kids on weekends?
Charlton Bird cashes in by betting on sports fixtures. He spends hours every day scouring gambling sites for good accumulator bets, risking thousands of pounds each time for the chance to win thousands more.
So far the Manchester Met third year has pocketed a staggering £18,000 in just over a year of gambling.
Charlton, 20, earns big money but there’s not much James Bond casino glamour in it.
He stays up late working the odds on his laptop and his phone, analysing stats on managers, players and matches to find the best bet.
When we finally speak, he’s three hours late after oversleeping: he was up until 6am watching and gambling on UFC.
Charlton, from Birmingham but currently in Berlin studying abroad, explains how he became a pro at accumulator betting.
He said: “I was just sick of eating Sainsbury’s basic in first year.
“After rent it was all I could afford. So I started with £1000 of my student loan and here I am today.
“I’m betting thousands. It’s all based on stats so I do accumulators.
“I need to know stuff about every single player: injuries, statistics, manager changes, everything.”
Charlton explained he spends the money saving for his future and paying for internship schemes.
“I spent some of it last summer to take part in J1 [a work experience scheme] living in New York.
“After university there’s a seven or eight thousand pound program called Mountbatten.
“I want to travel as well. I’m going with my sister to San Francisco for the July 4th celebrations. I’m setting aside the money for my future.
“I want to set up my own pub or bar, like Cotton Tails or the Font in Manchester.”
He adds his preferred way of gambling, accumulator betting, comes with accepting occasional losses.
A standard loss for Charlton can run into the thousands. But his biggest win so far has been £6000.
The Business Management student said: “My friends think it’s crazy. Some days obviously I’m not going to win a bet, somedays I’ve lost three or four thousand. And the next week I’ll win it back.
“You just try not to think about it. The first time it happened it was bad. It feels like your life goes out of you.
“Now there’s no feeling, I take the hits. To build it up you’re not going to win every bet it’s impossible.
“This strategy I have means the odds in one in every ten bets I’ll lose.”
But there is a darker side to the gambling as Charlton loses huge chunks of his day to accumulators.
“I know at one point in my life I’m going to stop.
“You’ll get exhausted by it, and keep going and make mistakes. I feel like one time I’ll make a mistake so big I won’t be able to recover the loss.
“At some stage I’ll have to quit. But at the moment it’s going well.”
His favourite advert for gambling is the one below from Ladbrokes, which he says shows they way bookies “want to make you feel unstoppable”.
“If I wasn’t winning thousands I would say it’s not worth it but I do get tired.
“After May, the American and English football seasons end so I can quit then and start again in September.
“It is addictive. Even if I don’t bet I’ll still spend at least four or four hours a day just looking on the website, on my phone. Just to see if there is a bet to put on.”
Would he call himself a gambling addict?
“Yeah, yeah. Yeah I would actually.”
Charlton is a football fan since before he was born, as his mum named him after all-time top scorer of Manchester United, Sir Bobby Charlton.
He said: “I’ve always been into football. My name’s Charlton after Sir Bobby Charlton.
“My mum got me into football from an early age, taking me to matches and all that.
“I support Manchester United, obviously.”