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I worked in a bank for six years, really good with money. Saved heaps. Actually saved 30,000 by the time I was 22 and went off and did my big OE. Came back from overseas and I got back into the banking field and did a few other jobs as well but always in work. In fact I had up to two or three jobs at a time sometimes.

Then I started frequenting the casino and I used to find it fun on a Sunday afternoon and I'd just take my fifty dollars or so. I started playing roulette and things like that rather than the machines.

But then the machine started to take over and I'd go and play one and bit of a thrill and that. And then you'd win some and be like, "oh this was exciting." And gradually I think over time, took me about five years till I was really quite hooked. And all I would play was the pokies and it was the lights and buzzers. And you know you'd have the occasional good win of a thousand dollars or fourteen hundred dollars. Or something and that would be like, "Wow my luck's in!" You know and away you go.

I was fully addicted without even really knowing and without having to go for help because the next one was going to bring me out of it all. And then I started saying to myself, "Oh, I wonder if you've got a problem with this." So I went along to problem gambling for help. I got one-on-one counselling but I come back and think six months now I haven't gambled. I'll be able to go back in control it and pop my twenty dollars in. “I know the harms now and I know not to put any more in because I know where the thoughts are going to take me.”

But unfortunately, I could not do that twenty dollars. The last time I played it nearly took my home which was my baby, you know. I've worked all my life. I was 45 or 44 years of age, maybe at that stage and this was what I'd earnt. And to lose that was to lose my life. 

It is so secretive. Some people can think like they're normally functioning in front of people. But it's behind the scenes they may not and I just encourage anyone to really get help.

If you see someone with a problem you know don't enable them. Don't give them money go and take them some food maybe. Give them a petrol voucher. But don't enable them. 

I've now had three years without playing pokies. I've now got all my finances back from having credit cards and finance all over the place, into the bank and I now can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Robyn's story

Robyn explains how her happy life was turned upside down.