We share the story of Jason, a pokie addict and problem gambler who knows too well how the lure of a quick win can result in the biggest loss of your life

“I put $5 in and won the Jackpot. That was it, I was Hooked”


the lure of pokies is too much for many problem gamblers

The Lure of Pokies and That Elusive Jackpot

In his prime Jason was nearly unbeatable in the kickboxing ring, winning 26 of his 28 professional fights.

But he was losing the bigger battle outside the ring as his $1000 a week gambling addiction took its toll ‘’financially and emotionally’’.

The 26-year-old reckons he has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past eight years.

The ‘’greater loss’’ though has been the friendships and relationships and family members hurt as he continued to ‘’lie constantly’’ about his gambling addiction.

‘’I was thinking about suicide when I was deep into gambling. I went through some dark holes,’’ Jason told the Mercury.

jason a problem gambler shares his story of pokie addiction

‘’I just thought there was no way out and I would never be able to get out of a gambling addiction… but the last six months have just opened my eyes to actually being able to live a normal life and not revolve my life around gambling and lying to people.’’

It is important to recognise the problem gambling warning signs – which we will quickly outline and go through below

Recognising the Warning Signs of Problem Gambling

recognise the warning signs of problem gambling and pokie addiction

Help is at Hand – For Every Australian

Jason said his sessions in Wollongong with Wesley Mission problem gambling counsellor Liz Dale had been ‘’life-changing’’.

‘’They have had a massive impact on my recovery, as have attending weekly Gambling Anonymous meetings,’’ he said.

The New Zealander, who has called Australia home for the last three-and-a-half years, still remembers the first time he started gambling.

‘’I was out to dinner with my girlfriend when I first started playing the pokies,’’ Jason said.

‘’I remember walking her out to her car and then going back into the restaurant to play the pokies. I put $5 in and won the $980 jackpot. That was it, I was hooked.

‘’After that it was pretty much every pay check went to the pokies. I was living off noodles and with my parents. I couldn’t afford rent so I couldn’t even move out of home.

‘’I’ve always been lucky in having pretty good jobs but the last eight years have been just the misery of being stuck in a life of gambling away hundreds of thousands of dollars.

‘’I went through depression and anxiety. I started lying a lot to my friends and family. I pretty much had to give up fighting because I wasn’t in the right head space.

‘’Gambling ruined my fighting career and relationships with people that I cared for.’’

It was only after Jason stopped ‘’lying’’ to himself about the extent of his gambling problem that he sought help.

‘’I’ve tried in the past but this is the only time that I’ve been truthful to myself and admitted that I have a problem and I need help,’’ he said.

Family and friends of problem gamblers can call Wesley Mission on 4231 8213 or the Gambling Helpline (1800 858 858) for help.


Gambling, Don’t Lose Your Head Over it!