SCARLETT Moffatt’s mum nicked £50,000 from the I’m A Celebrity winner to fund a gambling habit.
Gogglebox star Betty, 50, blew a fortune in online casinos during lockdown and needed rehab.
She squandered a fortune then panicked as she plunged deeper and deeper into debt.
Betty, who has worked for millionaire Scarlett since her 2016 I’m A Celebrity win, took cash from her daughter’s accounts expecting to pay it back with a change of luck.
But the big win never materialised, leading to a heartbreaking confession that left Scarlett “betrayed and confused”.
But caring Scarlett, 30, realised her mum needed counselling and vowed to help Betty, who checked into rehab.
Scarlett’s dad Mark, 54, also rallied to his wife’s side. Scarlett is still aiding her mum’s treatment for her gambling problem.
A source told The Sun on Sunday last night: “It has been a traumatic few months.
“Betty started out having the odd flutter here or there as a bit of fun to break up lockdown boredom.
“But before she knew it, and as these things so often do, matters spiralled out of control.
“She was losing thousands every week, and became desperate and panicky. In sheer desperation, she took money from Scarlett’s account.
“But she obviously always thought she would win it back, and be able to repay her.
“Of course, she never did win the money and the next thing she knew, Scarlett realised her account was missing tens of thousands, and was horrified.
"Initially she didn’t understand and obviously felt betrayed and confused.
“But once Betty broke down and explained what had happened Scarlett couldn’t have been more supportive.
“The whole family has had to give Betty the emotional and physical support she needs.
“Scarlett has done lots of research into the perils of online gambling and hopes that by this story coming out she and Betty can help others in a similar position.
“Betty is still getting therapy, but has all the love and support of her family to beat this.
“She’s determined to come out the other side and for some good to emerge from this heartbreaking situation.”
Companies House records last October showed Scarlett had become a millionaire after landing lucrative podcast and fashion deals.
She has previously described Betty as her best friend and “mamager”, a nod to her career advice.
Betty owns shares in her daughter’s company — Northern Unicorn Productions.
Latest accounts for the firm, registered to her parents’ address, show it held £211,000.
It paid dividends of £240,000 last year, £240,000 in 2019 and £448,000 in 2018 to directors, of which Scarlett is the only one.
Scarlett and Betty shot to fame seven years ago commenting on the week’s TV shows on Channel 4’s Gogglebox.
Betty in her fluffy slippers and brown ponytail was a regular on the family sofa in County Durham.
By Clemmie Moodie
SCARLETT and Betty’s easy rapport made them Gogglebox superstars.
Their bond was evident — and no TV fakery.
I sat next to them at a wine-fuelled LGBT awards in London a couple of years ago.
Scarlett was as outgoing as you’d imagine, Betty was surprisingly shy — but evidently proud of her daughter.
Since 2017, the former shop worker has, in effect, been her daughter’s PA.
But in lockdown, what started as a bit of fun — some online betting — turned into a hellish addiction.
Like most gamblers, she prayed just one more win would fix all her problems.
Scarlett and Betty have been through the mill — but their bond will ensure they get through this together.
Quick-witted Scarlett, then a 23-year-old student disability adviser, soon became a favourite.
She left to star on I’m A Celebrity in 2016, beating comic Joel Dommett to be crowned Queen of the Jungle. That victory saw her profile skyrocket.
ITV2 bosses signed her to co-host I’m A Celebrity spin-off show Extra Camp.
Scarlett then joined her friends Ant and Dec on ITV1 hit Saturday Night Takeaway in 2017.
Despite her soaraway success, she has stayed close to her parents and younger sister Ava-Grace who featured on some Gogglebox episodes.
Scarlett, who is in a long-term relationship, moved out of the modest family home to a new pad in nearby Bishop Auckland.
Last year the family appeared in Channel 4 show The British Tribe Next Door, which featured them living in a remote Namibian village.
On Betty’s 50th in August, Scarlett surprised her with an inflatable pub in her garden.
Betty sported a glamorous makeover and blonde hairdo for the drinks and disco event.
They restricted the guestlist to just family amid Covid restrictions.
Scarlett wrote on Instagram: “Happy birthday to my mam, my best friend, my mamager.
“I love you all the world and feel very lucky to have you by my side each day.
It’s a suicide risk
By Will Prochaska, of Gambling With Lives
NEARLY 20 per cent of people already experience gambling harm — either directly or through the addiction of another.
Industrialised online gambling products are aggressively promoted by gambling operators with very little regulation.
Products such as online casino games carry addiction rates as high as 50 per cent and are responsible for a disproportionate amount of harm, resulting far too often in suicide.
This is all the more concerning as lockdown has resulted in more people who gamble moving online where the riskiest products are pushed.
Gambling disorder is a clinically diagnosable psychiatric condition, which requires an understanding that it’s not the fault of the person suffering, to deliver a public health approach to the risks.
If someone is suffering from gambling disorder we encourage them to seek help from either the NHS National Problem Gambling Clinic or the NHS Northern Gambling Service.
- Gambling with Lives is a charity founded by parents bereaved by gambling-related suicide.
NEED HELP? CONTACT THE NHS PROBLEM GAMBLING CLINIC EMAIL: [email protected] PHONE: 020 7381 7722
“I know your weekend is going to be full of wit, laughs, drag queens and Prosecco.”
There has since been a noticeable absence of pictures of Betty on Scarlett’s social media accounts as the Gogglebox matriarch battled her demons.
A source said gambling problems took their toll on Betty who appeared “gaunt” towards the end of last year.
Scarlett herself has faced body insecurity issues and online trolls.
In an interview with The Sun’s Fabulous magazine before she turned 30 last year, she confessed to calling the Samaritans several times after winning I’m a Celebrity.
She said: “I felt like I wanted to disappear but wasn’t quite sure where. It was never that, ‘I don’t want to be on this Earth’ it was more that I wanted to escape.”
Scarlett bravely admitted that therapy “massively helped” her, as well as regular exercise.
And she revealed Ant and Dec helped “bring her back to life” telling her to “be you” and not listen to “expert” advice.
Online gambling has surged during lockdowns over the coronavirus pandemic.
Experts believe there are 340,000 gambling addicts in the UK, with a further two million at risk.
Nearly half of people playing casino games online are addicted or at risk, according to research by the charity Gambling with Lives.
International studies have linked gambling to four to 11 per cent of suicides, equivalent to between 250 and 660 UK deaths per year.
There is no suggestion of any police involvement relating to Betty’s use of Scarlett’s cash.
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