An article in the Gold Coast Bulletin Saturday 2nd June 2012, tells of the depths of Gambling Addiction.
- One in six people who play the pokies regularly has a severe gambling problem.
- Problem gamblers lose an average of $21,000 a year (a third of an average years salary)
- The social cost of problem gambling is $4.7 billion each year.
- About 500,000 Australians are at risk of becoming, or are, problem gamblers.
- An estimted 15 per cent of problem gamblers seek help.
- People aged 18-24 spend more on poker machines than any other age group. Many adult problem gamblers start to be addicted in their teens.
- Problem gamblers are six times more likely to be divorced than non-problem gamblers
- Children with parents who are problem gamblers are up to 10 times more likely to become problem gamblers themselves than children with non-gambling parents
In a Gamblers anonymous meeting people tell of the ordeals that have been through to get to where they are today.
"I had a complusive addiction from the time I started high school" he says, before talking about eviction notices, repossessed cars and a honeymoon fund that was almost gambled away two days before his wedding.
"I then started stealing from my employer," he confesses. "I would walk out the door and straight to the pub to gamble... they locked me away. I left my wife with a five year old and a baby that wasn't even 1. I spent my first weekend in a watchhouse with murderes, druggos and psychos trying to jump through brick walls. I was so scary".
A man called Patrick then explains how not every gambler with the courage to come once has the good fortune to keep coming back. "I've seen thousands come through the door and not everyone stays," he says. "I've been to funerals and psych wards. I've seen the carnage."
"I was once a broken man," Patrick says. "I was homeless, helpless and hopeless, but I came to my first meeting and throught 'waw, there are other people hiding the mail, pretending to loose money, stealing from the petty cash tin'. I broke down because it was such a relief that people understood me."