Sports Betting: Go Hard ...and lose your home

Posted on Sep 05, 2017

This is the true story of Dan who started with a few bets on a Saturday nights after the footy and what happened when it turned into more than that.

Q: Tell us your story Dan.

A: I’m a pretty typical guy. When I was younger I was good at sport and got paid to play footy on the weekends. After the game the team went out for quite a few drinks and put more than a few bets on – usually the horses and football. Sometimes the next day I woke up $500 poorer but didn’t worry about it. I thought “everyone bets on sport”. I got married to someone with a young son and we went on to have a daughter together.

Q: So everything was going OK?

A: Well I told myself it was at the time – until I got caught.

Q: What do you mean “got caught”?

A: My wife and I got refused for a home loan and she wanted to know why and the bank told her. I had been lying about how much I was betting and losing. Also lying about how I was feeling; telling her there wasn’t a problem. I knew that I was very irritable with her and the kids, that I wasn’t doing well at work and that I was gambling more than I ever had in my life. I couldn’t sleep sometimes, but finding a race happening somewhere in the world and putting a bet on seemed to make me feel better.

Q: That sounds like you were having a tough time of it.

A: I was. I felt terrible and looking back was pretty depressed. After finding out the truth, my wife told me to leave. I lost my job, my car and ended up on my mum’s couch. I lost everything.

Q: So what made you get up off the couch?

A: I had to change for my kids. It is really embarrassing to overhear your kids talking to their friends and saying “Well, we don’t have one of those because my daddy lost all our money”. My wife and I used to say that the only thing that could break us up was an affair. In the end, she said that lying about what I was doing and how I was feeling for years felt just the same as an affair and now I agree with her.

Q: So you asked for help?

A: To be honest, I think it would have been easier if I had been able to talk to someone who had been a compulsive gambler, admitted it and had got their life back on track. I just couldn’t see how I was going to do it. But I started going to Gamblers Anonymous and took it from there. Now I don’t gamble, I talk more honestly with my mates and my new partner when I feel things are not right. I now work with Sons of the West and Peer Connection, which is run by Gambler’s Help – talking to people on the phones who think they may have an issue with gambling.

Q: What are the top 3 things you would say to someone who might be worried about their gambling?

A: Learning to get issues out in the open is not easy, but it’s worth it.

  • Recognise when things are not right for you - you might be feeling down, depressed or stressed
  • Talk to someone about it – a mate or your partner
  • Be brave enough to stop gambling and ask for help

To talk to someone call the Incolink Counsellors on 0419 568 605 or Gambler’s Help on 1800 858 858

Other contacts: Sons of the West - Western Bulldogs Community Foundation health initiative sonsofthewest.org.au

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