EVERY STORY COUNTS
The debate around gambling harm has been changed by the stories of people directly affected.
We know that all communities are impacted by gambling, but the true impact is often hidden. Real stories from real people who’ve experienced gambling harm are a powerful vehicle for influencing social change.
We are asking you to share your story alongside with other people who have experienced gambling harm.
We would then also be able to include them in submissions to all levels of government, so that those in positions of power can never again say that gambling is not an issue in their communities.
If you would like to share your story, please click on the link below.
We only publish first names, and you can remain anonymous if you prefer.
Nothing will be shared or published without your consent.
If you gamble or have gambled yourself, felt the impact of gambling on someone close to you, or seen the impact of gambling in your local community, we want to hear from you.
The following people have shared their stories in the hope that others will understand that gambling harm can impact any person or family and reforms are needed to prevent further harm.
Split-second decisions can have shockwaves for a lifetime, particularly when poker machines are involved. I was in my late teens when the pokies were introduced into pubs and clubs in South Australia. Not long after they were legalised here, I finally agreed to go to a pokies venue after my boyfriend had been nagging me to join him. He’d been going with his father.
I’m free -free from the shame, and self-loathing, and guilt that comes with gambling. It’s been a hard won freedom but I draw meaning and purpose from it, and will use my story to campaign for what’s true, right and fair.
In 2016 at the age of 64 ½, I was sentenced to 18 months in prison for taking money from my place of employment to play the Pokies. I had never even had a parking fine before that. Nothing I am about to say is an excuse for breaking the law but will explain how I turned to the pokies in the first instance.
The Journey of a Gamblers Wife
I found my voice and I share my story to help others. I’m grateful for the domestic violence services that supported me throughout the darkness. I’m proud to work with my gambling reform theatre group, Three Sides of the Coin, ReSPIN and The Alliance for Gambling Reform. And I’m honoured to be the mother of three beautiful girls. They are my rock and light.
I never thought it would be me...
I remember a relatively happy early childhood. Holidays, my mum always being proud of me and an education that made me love words and learning. High school was harder, with my parents’ divorce and the advent of anxiety and depression which were a constant feature of my teenage years. Nevertheless, I persisted against my black dog and was successful in obtaining entry to Law at Adelaide University.
I had to stop gambling before I lost a lot more than money
I’m now three years without a bet and my life has changed so much. I have a wonderful partner, saved up enough money to afford a permanent visa in Australia and have rebuilt my relationships with my family who didn’t trust me. I live a much happier life without gambling and am extremely passionate about helping others like myself who might be struggling with a gambling addiction.
John* and my story
For a person of 54 years of age, who has worked since leaving school at 17, to have not one cent in savings or any assets and almost no personal effects was very disheartening .
Reading personal stories of gambling harm may be difficult or distressing. There may be aspects of someone’s story that triggers parts of your own. Telling your own story or reflecting on how gambling has impacted your life or those around you is not easy.
Reach out for support if you need it.
Gamblers Help 1800 858 858
Beyond Blue - for anyone feeling anxious or depressed 1300 22 4636