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Lilly's story

My own story begins similarly to others. A random exposure to placing a multi-bet by friends on the footy 6 years ago which resulted in a $2000 windfall off a $20 outlay!

Before this I was never a punter or engaged in regular betting at all (quite simply I didn’t know how) but in hindsight and being very honest with myself I had all the hallmarkings waiting for disaster and well it struck and devastatingly so. I always lived by the motto you only live once, all in or not at all, caution or slowly but surely was not part of my motto.

I was with a partner at the time it all began who was a non-gambler but loved giving me small amounts of cash to 'have a go' on the horses, trots or dogs. I was lucky and often landed a win enough that covered lunch and drinks and a hundred or so to go ... he worked away and I was at home alone for lengthy periods at a time working shift work in a professional role.

I discovered the online gambling apps and was lured by the deposit load-up offers and opened accounts with all the prime bookmakers. From here I began studying hard: horses, tracks, jockeys etc. I developed a prime interest, an obsessive dedication, even tricking myself I was a silent professional punter. I falsely believed I was entitled to bet as I was a member of the club and it was my 'job' to dedicate myself to full-time punting. I mostly disguised my outlays and had developed programmed responses to my loved ones and friends who at this stage joked with me and called me the punter and often asked for tips etc. from me. I enjoyed the feeling and felt I was a special person with knowledge. I did have success at times and realise now it was only sheer luck as the house will always win!

I probably have lost over $300,000 in 6 years and I rarely cashed out my big wins I simply bet bigger faster bets and such invariably lost and set the spiral in motion I could start with small deposits and play win bets and build a large kitty that took a day or so to accumulate then within an hour I was back to to depositing again to start the whole cycle over it was an intense emotionally draining period as I switched out to life and focused only on incessant betting for hours non-stop! I would ring in sick frequently and plan my days around the races exhausting all financial options to put into my account to start the day. I never did steal money however but I guess I stole from myself. I had been given the credit cards and was lured by the instant cash out options (never did cash out) and the notion in my head was always there – a quick double up of my deposit then withdraw. The only problem was I usually needed my whole pay to even get a win and then I was playing for catch ups and I frequently put myself in desperation mode determined to get back my money and often just replacing to survive another fortnight. I was simply out of control desperately addicted and in a state of illusion.

I had lost touch with reality and at one point decided to come clean with my partner and tell him I had gambled over $3000 of our money a few days before Christmas that I couldn’t win back ... he left me within hours. The wins were great but the realisation of the lows and the feelings associated from it were mentally disastrous; it was a severe down knowing I’d blown another fortnightly pay in hours then living on nothing but lies again until the next one to start it all again.

To finalise my story, I did hit a very rock bottom and self-excluded myself from bookmakers and add gambling prevention apps to my phone etc. I went cold turkey a month ago and have relapsed once badly. I will continue to stay focused to regain my life and begin saving real money as the recovery for me is intensely physiological as well as financial. I am pretty much doing this alone and really wish I can come out the side. Please wish me luck and I give you my strength if you are in a similar situation.