I have played pokies,every week, for the last 25 years. On average I have lost around $200 plus dollars a week – which must mean I have lost around $250 000 over this time (probably more).
However, I am lucky. I have a family and am paying off my mortgage, no debts but notwithstanding this, week in week out I have $0 in my bank come pay day because any spare money goes into pokies, Most of the time I’m not a big better by pokie standards, 60 cent press bets – but it doesn’t matter, the pokies suck up the money quick enough. While I can pay my bills and not go into debt, I’ve rationalised and accepted pokies as an expensive entertainment outlet.
Then last week my sister confessed to me that she is in the grip of pokie addiction, she has sold her unit, is in debt up to $60 00 and is now getting financial and gambling counselling. While I knew my sister also played pokies, I didn’t know the extent. It has made me question my own gambling habits. While I can pay my bills and have not run up debt – I know I too am a pokies addict and it is good luck rather than good management that means I am not also in debt .
It helps that I am also having the worst losing run I can remember. I usually do not take my keycard with me when I bet (because I know from previous experience that is disastrous) but I get angry and frustrated when I do go out because “i cannot get a good run”. I am not trying to win but just stay out for 3-4 hours “having a break.” However, lately I can’t manage to stay out for even an hour. Even so, l’m not sure if I am ready to quit the pokies. They have been my constant companions for many years now.
Plus the evil gambling side of my brain whispers, “you’re due a really big win…….” – forget the fact the rational part of my brain shouts “every pokie press is individual and completely random! You are NOT due anything!!!”.
I look at me, I look at my sister, my partner’s sister (who also has had terrible debt from pokies),a good friend that was imprisoned for theft due to gambling and I know this situation is fundamentally very, very wrong. I also worry that my gambling could influence my children to gamble. They know I go to the club every Saturday for a few hours and they are also old enough to have worked out i play the pokies. My son in particular loves computer games and i worry that this passion could easily translate to pokies.
I came to this site thinking about my sister and questioning my own gambling. Reading the stories of people brave enough to contribute made me feel it would be wrong not to tell my own story. As I said, i’m not sure I am ready to kick the pokie demon but I am starting to think it might be an option for me, which I have never seriously contemplated before.
I also worry for my sister and the battle she has ahead. While saying this, tomorrow I was planning to spend my last spare money before pay day at the club!
Now reading the stories and thinking of the unhappiness pokies have created for my sister (and for me at times) and all the other people who are reading this, I’m starting to think ….. no. Maybe I can keep away from the lure of the lights and music, the enticement of links and free features. Maybe I can be strong enough to find some other way to relax for a few hours. Either way, I will come back to this site for help. I think finally, after so many gambling years, I want to change.

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