“I would like to thank other people who have come forward as well as the administrators “Gambling Hangover” who are encouraging people to come forward.
I had my first taste of gambling as an underage 17 yr old at the casino. I lost about $150 playing chance games like roulette but was overwhelmed by the thrill and emotional high of the experience. I had the misfortune of some unlikely big wins in the following years. Some examples are winning $2000 and $4000, both times off a bankroll of $50. These wins convinced me that I had a ‘working system’ in place. Subsequently I lost at least 3 times that amount at the tables. Despite knowing I was losing money, the thrill was still there.
I was never into the Pokies as it was blindingly obvious that winning was impossible in the long term, and the only people that play them look very anxious and frustrated. I was, however, lured into Sports Betting at the TAB. Long story short, I had several big wins of $2000 or more but easily lost twice or three times the amount overall. As I am a big fan of many sporting codes, betting on the outcome made the games far more exciting. To date, I estimate my losses from gambling to be over $15000. Having only worked for 4 years of my life part time, this is a huge liability.
Further, I estimate that about $3000 of this was not my money at all, but stolen or borrowed from family. What upsets me most is that my upbringing didn’t at all necessitate the need to gamble as an ‘escape’. I come from a loving, caring family and live in an affluent area. Modesty aside, I am a very bright young man, having excelled across the field at school and now at University. Yet this did not protect me from gambling. I would convince myself that my ability to analyse sporting trends and statistics would overcome the odds, and that I wasn’t like other gamblers because I was placing bets in an investment like manner. Ultimately, the only glaring statistic in my betting history is that the losses have been getting bigger, and the wins getting fewer and far between as my desperation has increased.
My girlfriend, family and friends are all aware of my gambling habit and I can only sense the devastating effect it has had on their respect for me as an individual. I certainly know I have no respect for others who complain about their gambling wins and losses. Over the years I attempted to quit at least 10 times and succeeded until some chance event such as Melbourne Cup or the Australian Open Tennis would cause a relapse and cause my bank account to go spiraling out of control. As I write this, I am well aware that I can open the TAB browser and begin analysing the odds on the tennis, NBL, Super 14, English Premier League etc etc etc. There is a slim chance I could get lucky, but this is now irrelevant.
At this tender age I know that we have a finite amount of time to live, and ultimately gambling is a very disrespectful, ignorant way to treat your hard-earned salary. It destroys your understanding of the value of money, and hurts your relations with family and friends. Even if you win and win and win, the feeling of joy is only temporary and the emptiness is a reminder that you didn’t earn that money at all – you obtained it in the wrong way.
Many of you reading this may have started families of your own and may be living in your own houses. For you, the responsibilities are far greater and your lives are full of concerns that don’t need to be amplified by a gambling addiction. I am putting a lid on this problem early in my life, before it has a chance to impact on me when I have a family, career, and other obligations. I hope this is of help to everyone. Forget about gambling. Be honest. Go for a walk, have a coffee, go to the gym, play a game of tennis with your friends, and savour the beauty of the world out there