Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Written by: John

Hi, I'm John, and I think my story might assist those of you out there who are concerned about the mental state we can get into that fuels our need to gamble away significant amounts of money. I have been a gambler since I was about 30, mostly smallish amounts but often more than I could afford, resulting in pressures at home, bills not being paid on time.

Bank, Finance Companies and 'pay day' lenders all seemed keen to lend me money, therefore as I got access to more and more money, my gambling increased significantly. I racked up over $150K in debt over the next 3-4 years, which I could no longer fund on my modest wage ... I entered into bankruptcy and our house was reclaimed, and sold at auction for a sum much less than it was worth just to cover their costs.

My wife and I and our two young kids at the time were advised by the real estate agent not to be present at the auction ... my Dad went along and rang me afterwards to let me know the family home my wife and I paid $103K for 10 years earlier, had been sold at a ridiculous price that would only cover the banks loss and non of the other unsecured creditors. I'm sure you punters who have been victims to the lure of gambling can appreciate how horrible life was for my family at this time as we searched for rental accommodation, and tried to make ends meet with two young kids in primary school.

My gambling stopped as I was disgusted with myself for being so stupid and inflicting such pain on the ones I love most. Then in my early 40's I got an online betting account with one of the more prominent bookmakers so I could join a couple of workmates who all put in and had a weekly punt. Yep, before long I was betting more than I could afford, up to $1,000 per night sitting at the home computer betting on horse race all around the world.

Late last year I was made redundant from my employer of 20+ years. The redundancy wasn't well handled by my employer, which led to me being diagnosed with a number of mental health issues due to the events that took place. I received my redundancy payment within a week of leaving ... some $160,000 plus. I gambled the whole lot away in a period of around 8 weeks, sometimes sitting up till 4am drinking beer and taking anti-depressants. One night alone was over $36K and I had no idea till I logged onto my on line betting account the following day.

Every morning I was waking up (that's if I actually slept at night) to an ongoing nightmare. My wife didn't know I'd lost all my hard earned payment, which was the only thing to show for 20 years of service to my employer. I was dealing with severe depression, anxiety, had lost all confidence, felt out of place not working,

I lost all pleasure in socialising with anyone, was very distant and distracted to my family ... constant thoughts of how I could go about taking my own life filled my head, and even had me googling for options. My story goes on, with some amazing twists and bends, and I would very much like to sit down with those of you with similar experiences ... you can't expect others to possibly understand ... I was one of them before getting lured into the cold and lonely world of problem gambling.

We all truly need to do so much more to implement reforms through governments and regulators to give the punter some protection and ensure a clear duty of care is established to put the betting agencies 'on notice' John.

Gambler's Help 

There are many ways to seek professional and anonymous help for your own, or your loved one's problems with gambling.

If you need immediate help, please call Gambler's Help on 1800 858 858 or Gambler's Help Youthline on 1800 262 376 (from within Australia only). This service operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is free and confidential.