I am a 24-year-old female, from Western Australia. I came to live in Adelaide with my fiancé in 1999. In Western Australia, there are no gambling venues apart from the Burswood Casino. The Casino in Perth does not contain the same poker machines that Adelaide has, so I never was really interested in gambling when I was in Perth.
I discovered the pokies a while after I arrived in Adelaide. My fiancé took me out one night to a pub and allowed me to have a 'flutter' with a couple of dollars. I honestly didn't like it. I lost the money so quickly and I didn't really understand how the games worked.
I started my new degree in the middle of the year. My fiancé worked every day and I became lonely and had too much time to spare. I didn't want to work while I did my degree and my fiancé provided for us well financially. My fiancé used to give me $500 a fortnight for rent and shopping, so I always had some money left over and I soon started to gamble. When I first began I would only gamble $20 a fortnight and I would always tell my fiancé that I had gone for a gamble. This went on for almost a year.
I didn't feel it was a problem, because I enjoyed the social event and I didn't feel bad when I lost the money.
In December 2001, my fiancé was having a boys' night out and I was invited. I didn't want to go, so my fiancé gave me $50 and dropped me off at the Casino. To my delight I won $50,000! This has been the best and worst thing that has ever happened to us. We were able to invest some of our money for our future and we're also going on our dream holiday. Unfortunately, it meant that I gambled more than ever. I started taking money from our joint account and changing the details of our electronic money accounting system.
My view changed from just enjoying the social event and spending some money to wanting to win more money, which meant it also changed the way I gambled. I started gambling multiple lines with multiple credits and the more I gambled the worse I felt, because I was losing money that wasn't mine and I was lying about it to my fiancé. I became very agitated and irritable after days when I had lost hundreds of dollars. My fiancé knew there was something wrong from my behaviour and from looking at our money system, but still he trusted me and never said a word.
One night after not being able to sleep from sheer guilt and fear, I woke my fiancé up early in the morning and told him everything. My fiancé was stunned and shocked by this revelation. He was so disappointed and that made me really want to give up gambling. I stopped gambling for over four months and I was very proud of myself and my fiancé had begun to trust me again. Then in June after my birthday I received a lot of money from family. I couldn't fight the urge and I started to gamble again, this time worse than ever. I managed to lose over a grand in less than a month and I couldn't account for where it had vanished. My fiancé found out and confronted me. He told me if I didn't stop he was leaving. It was the first time where I felt our relationship was really threatened. I was so distraught and finally made the choice to seek professional help.
I began counselling in mid July 2002 and I am proud to say, with the help of my counsellor, I have not gambled for over eight months now. I still feel the urge to gamble and I think about it every now and then and I can't say that I won't ever gamble again, but I do know with the protective measures I use, that I can be assured that I won't go down the path I was heading again. My fiancé is very proud of me and trusts me fully, because he knows I won't risk our relationship again.
The protective measures that I use that help me include:
I gave my keycard to my fiancé to keep whenever I didn't need to do shopping; this meant I couldn't take out money to spend.
I took up a new hobby, which meant I had less time during the week to dwell on gambling. It also replaced the social contact I had enjoyed with gambling.
We now use Netbank, which means that my fiancé has access to my account and can view all transactions at any time. This means I can't take money out without my fiancé knowing about it. This is for my benefit, so that if I do slip up, then I know I'll have to tell my fiancé.
* Real story kindly obtained from the Salvation Army booklet Anthology of Gambling Tales