In light of the latest developments coming out from the NRL regarding Ben Barba, rumours are now running rife that on top his well now well documented relationship breakdown with the mother of his children, he could also be suffering from a gambling problem.

At least this guy's out of bed

This hits home for me because I despise sports gambling, it sickens me.

I personally have spent the darkest of hours with a sports gambling addict. Without delving into too much personal detail out of respect to this person, I can however say that for a number of years I battled with my live in boyfriend’s gambling addiction.

Sports multis, first try scorers, overs, 13+ start – all this talk was so foreign to me five years ago. I didn’t even know you could bet on sport.

It wasn’t until one night in bed after a few weeks of living together with my partner that I started to have any indication there could be trouble in paradise. As we lay in bed, he sat up next to me, eyes fixed on the laptop.

“What are you doing on that so late?” I mumbled.

“Oh just watching a tennis bet,” he replied. 3am rolled around and he was still up, eyes glued to that screen watching live tennis scores like a heroin addict waiting for his next delivery.

A bit later he was paid his first match fee for his football club where he had just recently been signed, a handy sum of $7000. It was gone three days later, all thanks to the vortex that I like to call the TAB.

It was about then that the warning signs had well and truly sunk in – I was in love and living with a gambling addict.

And so it went on. The once ambitious man I fell in love with would soon disappear before my eyes. In turn, he’d become a depressed, grumpy downer come Sunday arvo (that is if his multi got him that far).

The thing about gambling, or any addiction, is that to seek help first and foremost they must admit a problem. This is no easy feat.

It all really came to reality when we went to our first Gambling Anonymous meeting, me in tow as support.

Sitting at the back of the room I observed the 20 or so grown men in front of me – suits, fathers, pensioners and husbands, all from different walks of life, yet all victims of ”chasing the next big win”.

I watched as my best friend and love of my life looked down at the floor careful to avoid eye contact with anyone due to his embarrassment.

Here is when he began break in to sweats, his eyes watering at the realisation of how deep his problem had now gotten.

Some years prior as a 16-year old kid he was led into the TAB by fellow teammates, unbeknownst to him at the time that one bet would cost him his football career, friendships and his first love.

NRL workhorse Nathan Hindmarsh admitted his own battle with gambling. In an extract from his autobiography Old School, the sentence that stood out for me is one I have heard time and time again from numerous athletes:

“I was bored rather than lonely, bored with too much free time and nothing to fill it with. I didn’t have anything to go home to, I had no domestic responsibilities or people to take care of.”

Which begs me to ask the question, do young athletes get educated on gambling? We were all made aware last season of Eels halfback Chris Sandow and his gambling problem.

A few seasons earlier back in 2007 former Sharks and Bulldogs player Michael Sullivan admitted to losing big money on the punt.

But the sad stories go away as quickly as they surface. We are bombarded with odds through every sport we watch – do you know how hard that is for a gambler trying to get clean?

Curiously I did once put $20 on then Warriors backrower Sonny Fai as a last try-scorer. He scored in the 78th minute. $780 later I thought, “I can see how people can get carried away”.

I never bet again and have nothing against social betting. It’s just the whole betting while ruining your life that I can’t stand. And I hate the ads with those slick salesmen enticing us endlessly to bet.

I just want to wish anyone luck who is trying to beat it, and I have immense respect for anyone who has. Keep fighting.

Do you have a problem and want to get help? Start by visiting

Twitter: @HayloHaylz

Comments on this post close at 8pm AEDST

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    • Sarah Bath says:

      05:13am | 27/02/13

      lets face it,  sport exists ONLY to distract the proles from the real issues in society.  Do we need sport?  Perhaps if it were removed then more people would be concentrating on teh real issues that matter, LGBTI equality, addressing catastrophic climate change,  ensuring greedy business profits are shared equally, realligning the media to ensure white noise from the neocon racists, homophobes and climate deniers are silenced thereby ensuring the sensible policies are given airtime.  I challenge any of you troglodytes to disagree with the fact that sports distracts from the real issue.

    • PW says:

      07:00am | 27/02/13

      “sport exists ONLY to distract the proles from the real issues in society.”

      While there is some truth in this, the fact that there is a market being filled and it will always be thus means the argument above is completely vapid and of course an obvious troll).

      You’ve got to entertain the masses. Hence increasingly mindless movies, TV shows, etc.

    • Al says:

      07:03am | 27/02/13

      I don’t disagree with the fact sport distracts from major issues.
      However I do disagree with you on many of the things you list as being ‘real issues that matter’.
      - addressing catastrophic climate change depends on what you mean by that, do you mean actually getting plans in place to adapt to a changed climate or do you mean plans that actually don’t achieve any significant eresult and are doomed to failure as action?
      - ensuring greedy business profits are shared equally. No. I can’t agree on this. As you may be aware such actions have always resulted in the breakdown of the system under which they were introduced and would not get the outcome you would like. It would result in massive increases in unemployment, moving businesses offshore and result in worse living conditions for all.
      - realigning the media to ensure white noise from the neocon racists, homophobes and climate deniers are silenced. Nope, this is censorship and the only way to combat those you disagree with is by reasoned and logical argument, censorship of this kind simply breeds an attitude in those who disagree of persecution and rebellion.
      - LGBTI equality, not sure exactly what you are referring too, but if it is the marriage thing my question is why will they not accept something that has the same legal standing but called something different?

    • Mahhrat says:

      07:11am | 27/02/13

      Sarah:  Your misandry is showing.

    • Nathan says:

      07:12am | 27/02/13

      @Sarah Beth
      So sport is gone and suddenly climate change is sorted and we are going after greedy businesses? I really do not think so.

      Yes sport is not everything but i love it, its my entertainment. I think your ignoring the positives that come out of sport. How about the health benefits to the youth? How about how racial issues are being bought up through football in Europe? Homophobia in sport is not tolerated and players are forced to apologise for dumb comments. How about the simple things like Beckham visiting the childrens hospital and all the smiles he got, not to mention his very public display of charity recently?

      I don’t for one secong believe that sportsman change the world and should be treated by gods but its not all bad. Besides we only focused on the “real issues” we would be dead by 40 with stress.

      Loosen up entertainment is not a bad thing.

    • Alfie says:

      07:31am | 27/02/13

      @ Sarah Bath
      I disagree with everything you say, and everything you stand for.

      Is that clear?

    • KimL says:

      07:42am | 27/02/13

      Sarah is healthy for you it keeps you fit and active if you play and even you don’t play it keeps your mind healthy. I would far prefer my children to be outside playing sport than glued to their computer screens. On another post you said you were unemployed, perhaps if you played more sport it would get you motivated to go and get a job

    • DocBud says:

      07:48am | 27/02/13

      Business profits are shared equally, Sarah, based on the amount of shares owned by those who have invested in the business. You invest 10%, you get 10%, invest 50%, you get 50%. Invest nothing and that is exactly what you are entitled to.

      When you grow-up, leave school, hopefully go to university and then start living in the real world, no longer dependent on your parents, you will understand all this. Your youthful naivity and enthusiasm are a credit to you when young but when you grow-up you will look back on some of your silly ideas with a tinge of embarrassment.

    • Michael S says:

      08:00am | 27/02/13

      @Sarah, you probably don’t understand because you don’t work to earn a living. But on weekends comes the time you can do whatever turns you on. Go out and clear your mind.
      Me, I like football.

    • Neil says:

      08:00am | 27/02/13

      “racists, homophobes “

      You’ve just alienated 70% or more of the population with your ridiculous and insulting claims.

      I think you’ve got a good point. People need to be more aware of stuff. But it’s people like you who ruin any attempts to make news more worthy.

      I’d rather watch the footy than listen to you and I don’t even watch sport.

    • ramases says:

      08:03am | 27/02/13

      What real issues, those that you think are real or the real real issues. You have shown from your previous posts that you are either a child masquerading as an adult or and adult masquerading as a child and as such your opinions are of no consequence.
        Your airy fairy rants about the same things over and over puts you right in the firing line as a crank who wont let the real world intrude on your oh so happy place that you seem to go to daily. As i have said before, grow up, get a job and pay your way in society instead of being in your own words a sponger on society, either that or stop throwing your meds out the window and get them to tighten the straight jacket.

    • Beck says:

      08:11am | 27/02/13

      Uggghhhh, what a boring, depressing world that would be. Heaven forbid people should have some entertainment.

    • gobsmack says:

      08:15am | 27/02/13

      Abolish money and instead use bartering.

      Establish the worship of Mother Gaia as the state religion.  Ruthlessly suppress all other religions.

      Abort all male foetuses.  Future generations of wymn can be produced from sperm donated by a few gay males kept alive for that purpose.

      You know it makes sense.

    • iansand says:

      08:18am | 27/02/13

      Can Ms Bath give us a list of those things of which she approves?  It should be a very short list and will not take long to compile.

    • Kika says:

      08:59am | 27/02/13

      I don’t agree Sarah. Sport is essential to our society. Again, it’s a cartharsis for our souls. Watching or playing, we need it. Every society and culture around the world plays sport in one form or the other.

    • Hamish says:

      09:15am | 27/02/13

      Can people please stop commenting on Sarah’s posts. She’s clearly just taking the piss. No one can actually be so lazy, arrogant and wilfully out-of-touch.

    • Jamo says:

      09:26am | 27/02/13

      @Alfie, I’m not sure Sarah knows what she stands for mate, she has a lot of ideas. I don’t think she’s has put as much thought into some things as she thinks she has

    • nihonin says:

      09:34am | 27/02/13

      And you are all part of Sarah Bath’s sport, fellow posters.

    • martinX says:

      09:41am | 27/02/13

      Sarah, this isn’t sport. It is competitive entertainment.

    • Tubesteak says:

      10:25am | 27/02/13

      Your trolling is too obvious. You must be more subtle to be more effective.

      No stars ever.

      PS Greed is good. Greed is right. Greed works.

    • egg says:

      10:26am | 27/02/13

      @Mahhrat, I think I missed where misandry comes into it… I don’t see men specified? Unless you mean that only men like sport? Or only women care about the issues mentioned in the post?

    • Jamo says:

      10:44am | 27/02/13

      Yeah Gobsmack I can see what your saying, lot of positives could come out of that. There’d be no sexism anymore, the defense forces would run without a hitch, the governments would run without a hitch, the boards of public companies would run without a hitch, women’s sport would finally get a look in, households would run without a hitch, there would never be any fights in pubs or clubs, the list could be endless. I reckon you’re not the first person to have thought of that but clever none the less

    • Caedrel says:

      10:48am | 27/02/13

      I never knew COlin’s last name was “Bath”!

    • Jim Moriarty says:

      10:50am | 27/02/13

      @Sarah Bath

      I couldn’t care less about watching sports. I think it’s dull. And I don’t disagree that media coverage towards sports is incredibly unbalanced.

      But - if it were removed, I can guarantee you that racists and homophobes wouldn’t go away. In fact, they would probably get worse louder and braver because they wouldn’t have sports to distract and entertain them.

      TBH, you sound like a first year philosophy student.

    • Mahhrat says:

      10:52am | 27/02/13

      @egg:  “Troglodyte” is (at least in the circles I move in) a particularly masculine insult.

      I note Sarah didn’t use “Bitch” or worse feminine-based insults.

      This is a pattern of behaviour from this person.

      Therefore, etc.

    • ramases says:

      12:24pm | 27/02/13

      Hamish, you think, then you haven’t spent much time with the latest generation of Me me’s who want everything as long as they don’t have to lift a finger.

    • Rebecca says:

      01:47pm | 27/02/13

      I’m fully aware that Sarah Bath is a troll, but anyway - I wonder how much higher the suicide rate would be if we were denied any form of enjoyment and had to focus on political and social problems all the time.

    • Bear says:

      02:03pm | 27/02/13

      I’m with you politically but you’re not winning any friends attacking sport.  Some of us proles love sport but are also keeping an eye on the evil powers. Although you may be trolling you’ve missed the mark here, stick to the politics.

    • Harry says:

      02:24pm | 27/02/13

      “I just want to wish anyone luck…” LOL

    • Testfest says:

      02:46pm | 27/02/13

      I’m very proud of Colin for finally switching to a female pseudonym.
      Grrl power!

    • Mikeymike says:

      02:52pm | 27/02/13

      ” I challenge any of you troglodytes to disagree with the fact that sports distracts from the real issue.”

      Challenge accepted.

      Let’s start by not tackling the massive generalisation that you’ve made by stating what are “real issues.”  What is a real issue to you is not the same to me or anyone else.  Perhaps you could take on the challenge of explaining why these should be real issues to everyone? 

      If you act under the assumption that individually and collectively that we can only think and act on one thing at a time, then yes you would be right.  Clearly humans can act and think in many directions.  See governments for an example.

      Could it be that your argument is against distractions?  I would therefore submit that most music, films, books, food, fashion, hobbies, television - lets call it most human activity - is a distraction as well.  Therefore you would be in favour of banning every pastime and activity that you would classify as “unimportant.”  Good luck with that.

      I think you should also be aware that by calling me a Troglodyte, yes it can refer to “cave dweller” but it also is a reference (and not a very nice one) to East African peoples.  Best that you avoid racist language in future.

    • Sickemrex says:

      04:54pm | 27/02/13

      @ Michael S, gold internet star for you, sir.

    • Mahhrat says:

      05:22am | 27/02/13

      Great article, but I have to ask:  If you’d supported him as far as GA, then why did you break up?

      Also, did he ever effectively deal with his habit?

    • Gregg says:

      08:00am | 27/02/13

      Just a little bit nosey eh!

    • gobsmack says:

      06:10am | 27/02/13

      Just as is the case with cigarettes, the biggest addicts are the State governments who reap billions from gambling.

    • Tim says:

      06:37am | 27/02/13

      Addiction to anything is a bad thing.

      I’m assuming that was the point of this article?

    • ramases says:

      08:16am | 27/02/13

      Im not sure what the point of the article was. Maybe it was a piece on the problems of gambling or maybe it was a piece on “look at me, I suffered too, poor me”.
        All in all it was pretty insipid article in the scheme of things and probably thrown in to coincide with the turmoil of some clown NRL player who couldn’t handle himself either.
        The actual tone of the article suggest to me that the author would like to see Internet Gambling banned but would scream blue bloody murder if they tried to ban Facebook or Twitter as well as they are just as addictive as gambling. Either we have a free internet or we have a draconian North Korean style of internet, well that’s what the whole article suggested to me anyway.
        There have been problem gamblers for years, even before the inception of Internet Gambling so its nothing new, nothing to see here folks, please move on.

    • Bill says:

      08:31am | 27/02/13

      Yes, we want you to either say you love Tony Abbott or hate Julia Gillard.  It’s all we know and care about at The Punch.

    • ramases says:

      09:13am | 27/02/13

      Bloody right Bill, well said, but can i sit on the fence and throw rocks in both directions please. pretty please.

    • Jasmine says:

      11:43am | 27/02/13

      I would be very happy if betting ads were banned during sports broadcasts or telecasts. Apart from the legion of paid ads, it’s humiliating to hear the commentators having to lower themselves to spruik odds during the games.

    • Jamo says:

      11:46am | 27/02/13

      @ramases, I don’t have data to back this up so I’m not stating it as fact, but I wouldn’t be supprised if Facebook is having a bigger impact on families than gambling. Not sure how they could quantify that it probably would depend on who you ask. Let’s just ban them both and see what happens. Then we can ban alcohol, outlaw cigarettes, we can ban the catholic religion because impinges on priests rights to marry, we can rhe Muslim religion because it impinges on, well just about everyone’s rights specifically women, we could ban basketball because it impinges on short people rights to be involved and horse racing because it impinges on tall peoples rights to race horses, or because it impinges on thouroughbreds rights to not even exist at all, but we’ve already banned sport all together. What else could we ban. We could ban Chinese food because it gives some people gout, that rules out prawns and anchovies, we could ban the television because it might offend the armish. When are people going to stop other people how to live their lives. And Sarah, you should really have a think about some of your ideas and what you say, you do make yourself sound silly and under educated

    • ramases says:

      12:39pm | 27/02/13

      Jamo, here’s a better idea and more entertaining. lets place all the sports people in a huge arena or even an island and the one that walks out alive will be the sportsman for that decade and that’s the sport we will watch.
        Of course it would be rather boring because he or she would be the only competitor but it would stop on line betting, stop breaches of drug rules and save not only the sponsors billions but also the consumer who wouldn’t have to pay inflated prices because he would only need one sponsor therefore allowing those companies that inflate their prices to cover their largess to sports people in sponsorship deals.
        What a win win all-round.
        As for Facebook and Twitter you only have to look at people today to see the problems that are occurring. People with their noses stuck in their mobile phones gibbering about inane topics just to stay in touch when all they really have to do is talk to someone face to face. I received an email and it showed various situation, one where 4 women are having coffee in a coffee shop but not one is talking to their friends but typing away on their phones, similar for people on the beach where the day is great but the majority are still holding their phones close in case someone has a bit of useless information that needs to be passed on as though the future of the world depended on knowing that someone has chipped a nail. Its really sad to see this generation become so fused to technology that the real world is being excluded for the electronic world.

    • Jamo says:

      02:02pm | 27/02/13

      Ramases, you are all over it mate, definite win win for alot of people, I reckon Sarah would think would have to agree lmao. Think of how many people would then be free of a job and be able to join her worthy causes. Now I just had a delicious donut and a coffee and then stepped in a dog turd on the way out. Bloody hell sorry I was meant to post that on Facebook just in case any of my 2000 thousand friends I’ve never met wanted to know. Aaaaw bugger it I meant twooter or twatter what ever you call it smile

    • Derek says:

      02:29pm | 27/02/13

      @Tim “Yep, Addiction to anything is a bad thing.”

      Not really.  Addiction to gambiling is a bad thing.  That is the point of the article.  Or did you not read it?  Thought so.

    • Tim says:

      02:54pm | 27/02/13

      yep I read it, did you?
      The article seemed to be a rambling join of strange anecdotes to come to the conclusion that gambling was somehow evil. She provided no real evidence other than that some people suffer from addictions.
      It failed to really make a point other than those who are addicted to things often suffer bad effects from their addiction, which is so obvious as to not need further discussion.

    • Mikeymike says:

      02:57pm | 27/02/13

      “Addiction to anything is a bad thing.”

      Not really.  I like to look at Alice Cooper who replaced his life destroying addiction to drugs and alcohol with (drumroll please…) Golf.

      His philosophy is that you cannot get rid of an addiction, you can only transfer your addiction to something else (paraphrasing here).

      So no, I would argue that addiction on its own is not a bad thing.

    • Tim says:

      03:39pm | 27/02/13

      I’m pretty sure that addiction to golf can be a very bad thing.

      It detrimentally affects lives and family relations at enormous rates amongst those who are addicted to hitting that little white ball.

    • pete says:

      07:08am | 27/02/13

      Sports administrators in this country have the collective IQ of a used condom by embracing betting the way they have.

    • Mr Sam says:

      08:21am | 27/02/13

      Very funny statement smile

    • fml says:

      07:36am | 27/02/13

      3/1 odds he didn’t have a problem and he was a casual gambler, 11/10 odds you are over exaggerating his addiction because you hate sports gambling..

      Who wants in???

    • Tim says:

      08:11am | 27/02/13

      Put eh gorilla on it for me.

    • Joel says:

      09:03am | 27/02/13

      He lost 7G in a weekend according to the article, you tell me?

    • Dolly says:

      10:00am | 27/02/13

      Relax Joel. He wasnt serious. It was just a very funny post smile
      What is it with people not recognizing irony today?

    • Schmavo says:

      10:51am | 27/02/13

      I’ve told you a billion times…not to over exaggerate

    • LJ Dots says:

      12:17pm | 27/02/13

      @Schmavo. Now that is just a ridiculous statement.

      If we assume that you are of average age (36 years), then you would need to utter that phrase 76,103 times per day. Every day. Since birth. It’s just not possible.

      It must annoy the hell out of your partner though.

    • fml says:

      02:30pm | 27/02/13

      Joel, $7k for someone who is on a footballers wage isnt as significant as some one on a 9 to 5 wage. $7k doesnt really mean anything without any context. It makes me think she left out how much her boyfriend earns to add more weight to her argument.

    • martinX says:

      07:57am | 27/02/13

      When I saw the pokies for the first time it was at one of those services clubs on the NSW-Qld border when pokies were still illegal in Queensland. I was dumbstruck by the site of all the glassy-eyed people glued to the one-armed bandits. I was sickened - a visceral reaction that surprised me - that someone would set up a venue to suck the life out of people and would gladly pull the last dollar from their pockets, and yet it was promoted as a “family entertainment venue”.

      I’ll still put in for the big lotto draws at work from time to time, because if the lucky numbers come up I don’t want to be the only sap left here, but gambling institutions just give me the shivers still to this day.

    • Gregg says:

      09:55am | 27/02/13

      Maybe it was the Twin towns club in Tweed Heads on their side of the border that runs down the main street from Point Danger.
      Certainly an eye opener some forty years ago when I had first ventured north from Victoria as a young surfer.

      But rather than feeling sick, what was especially good for me was the ultra cheap meals and even from their snacks counter which was open twenty four hours.
      It was probably all the Victorian retirees that had moved to southern Queensland and then found their glassy eyed paradise was back across the border heading south.
      Yep they could go out for a cheap meal, cheap beer, cheap entertainment and all paid by the not so cheap pokies.

      It’s all about personal management.

    • Mikeymike says:

      03:01pm | 27/02/13

      Being from WA, I was surprised when I visited QLD recently.  So many pokies, so many sad faces.  It made me very happy that our state government resisted the temptation and only made it available at the casino.

      But I too was pleasantly surprised by the price of drinks and meals at the clubs.  Made me think: stay away from the pokies and you’ll have a perfectly fine time.

    • Roxanne says:

      08:01am | 27/02/13

      Interesting to note that when you went to the GA meeting they were all men. I went to one with my friend as support and they were about half men,half women. Or would that mess up the tear jerker a little? OK, sports bad, men bet so men bad. Bad bad men!  So there!!

    • Jamo says:

      08:05am | 27/02/13

      @sarah, you sound like a dictator, you could be our next PM

    • Gordon says:

      09:00am | 27/02/13

      “she” is a troll. Well-camoflaged, but a troll nonetheless. It’s taking a while for the troops to wake up to it, but they will.

    • James1 says:

      09:27am | 27/02/13

      Poe’s Law extends to extremist political views, as well as religious fundamentalists, it seems.  I honestly can’t tell if she is a troll.

    • LJ Dots says:

      12:51pm | 27/02/13

      @James1. At first I thought it was genuine, but after having a look around other blogs and twitter where the same comments and phrases are just copied and pasted without any development,  I thought otherwise.

      I’d probably say it’s a student and some kind of psychology experiment where the internet reader is the subject. I really hope I’m right on this.

    • Gordon says:

      01:57pm | 27/02/13

      Troll, bot, bored pysch student, onanist par excellence, who knows?  Could be anything.  I reckon it might be Andrew Bolt having a larff.

    • James1 says:

      04:38pm | 27/02/13

      LJ Dots, if they are spamming other forums and Twitter with this rubbish, then you are right that it is likely a troll IMO.

      If you aren’t right… Well, the mind boggles that a real person could actually hold such opinions as those expressed by Sarah Bath.

    • Horton says:

      08:06am | 27/02/13

      Sport Gambling is addictive, just like alcohol or party drugs. The big difference is that I can put a bet on anywhere, even while at work, thanks to my iPhone, and society doesn’t look down on me, my mates certainly don’t. I have friends who suffer from gambling addiction, and a partner who counsels gambling addicts so I see both sides of the problem constantly. During the NFL season I have a flutter, and sometimes during the NRL season as well. I found the best way to go was at the start of the season I would put $20 in my betting account and put on maybe one or two bets. If I won I would roll over the money into more bets and continue until I lost the money. All in all I usually get 3 months entertainment out of $20. It is a thrilling past time, and it is highly addictive hence my stringent, stingey budget. I get just as much satisfaction turning $10 into $14 as I would with high stakes bets. The argument here isn’t against Sports Betting, but against irresponsible, reckless behaviour causing self harm, which can manifest itself as gambling addictions, alcoholism or drug addiction.

      So please, don’t beat up Sports Betting, but instead beat up people who need to man up and get help, or at least take responsibility for their behaviour. For every Sports Betting ad on during footy season, their should be ads on similar to drink driving where a reformed addict talks of their problems, and how bad everything was, and how they got help.

    • Gregg says:

      08:08am | 27/02/13

      It’s not just gambling Hayley that some professional sports people might be helped with for they do really live in another world if on the same planet and need to be schooled that their feet are still on earth most of the time and will need to appreciate that there is a lot they can do with all their spare time to prepare them for a time after sport playing times.

      Typically, gambling, drinking to some extent ( and to a greater extent where it does not affect their performances ), recreational drugs and even womanising some are all likely some areas that could be enormous pitfalls, not to mention fast cars driven too fast.
      And yes, it does seem there is too little mentoring to take professional sports people towards other activities.

      But then it is also not just professional sports people that can have huge problems of one sort or another either.

    • Jamo says:

      08:12am | 27/02/13

      Gambling for alot of people can be bad. I ask this question, if a like for gambling doesn’t lead to financial ruin or hardship, is spending 6 hours a day doing it any worse than spending 6 hours a day on Facebook ? One of my employees is in a relationship with somebody who makes over a hundred Facebook posts most days. Needless to say the relationship is doomed as this person is tired of running second to bookface. Even in the bedroom.

    • SM says:

      08:22am | 27/02/13

      RIP, Sonny Fai

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      09:05am | 27/02/13

      Never really understood gambling.  I don’t even have an interest in buying a lotto ticket.  Yes, I might win, but maths that can be completed by a vaguely intelligent primary school kid tells you that overall, the vast majority of people are going to lose. 

      It’s like being a lemming and jumping off a cliff.  Eventually there will be enough bodies at the bottom for some of the lemmings to survive the fall.  I don’t really want to be on the bottom of the pile or landing on their corpses, however.

      That, and it seems terribly boring.

    • SM says:

      09:20am | 27/02/13

      You’re definitely not cutout for gambling, Tim

    • Mark990 says:

      09:28am | 27/02/13

      Well Tim, just as you and your mates enjoy sipping lattes and bitching about the ‘mainstream community’; many of us enjoy watching sport and having a bit of a wager on our team winning.

      As for the lemmings story? very creative, but I don’t really see how this is in any way symbolic of gambling….

    • James1 says:

      09:29am | 27/02/13

      I find that many people have no grasp of probability, or at least consistently fail to apply their knowledge of it in their daily lives.

      Gambling and creationism are two excellent examples of the failure to apply knowledge of probability.

    • martinX says:

      10:00am | 27/02/13

      But for $10 I can win a REALLY COOL HOUSE that I probably couldn’t afford the rates on.

      Take a look at the videos on YouTube of Jonah Lehrer presenting “how we decide” to get an insight into gambling addiction. (I know Jonah is in the naughty corner at the moment, but he does have quals in neuroscience and ‘how we decide’ is a good summary of some interesting research.)

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      10:26am | 27/02/13

      “very creative, but I don’t really see how this is in any way symbolic of gambling…. “

      Well, those winnings you might eventually earn?  They’re from at least some guys like the one in the article.  Ok, maybe that’s not arty enough and I need to earn my latte credentials.  Your winnings are the corpses of the crushed hopes and broken families of others.  You throw your hopes over a cliff, hoping that you’ll be the one to survive.  Sometimes you’ll land and win the jackpot that the others created.  Mostly, you’ll be the lemming on the bottom of the pile, buoying a small number of others up with your cash and hopes.

      Anyway, do as you wish, I don’t really care.  Your money, your life and your form of entertainment.  Gamble away smile  I was just commenting about why I have no interest in gambling and you’re free to say why you like it.  Who knows, I might learn something.

    • john says:

      10:37am | 27/02/13

      @Tim the Toolman “Never really understood gambling”

      I’ve tried to understand it.

      ‘Drum-roll’ mr James Packer is opening up the richest shiniest most glamour puss for the richest of richest to gamble high above Berangaroo with trillion dollar views of sydney harbour and beyond, the blue mountains,  you can gamble millions whilst you watch Clive’s billion dollar Titanic revival to dock right out front the chandilier designed buildings and sparkling new gantry laden with chandeliers to meander across, to the gambling deck for only for the priviledge richest of rich, not millionaires-but billionaires everyone else 2nd, 3rd class, use the well known phrase from monopoly “collect $200 go past go….then go straight to star city!!”-hows that marketing guys, beat that!

      Many years ago, I remeber going to horse to trotts once a year, social event because neighbours had a horse.

      When I was a kid in the 70’s gambling was an enigma because from SA pensioners would go on bus trips to cross the boarder in mildura to gamble in NSW where it was legal. I believe it was illegal most parts of Australia outside the frame of TAB apart from the social 2up on ANZAC day.

      My father once a month would go to a greek cafe to play social cards- I’m sure there was gambling there on paper, where money was exchanged later smile

      In the 80’s Adelaide opened its casino & it became a social event to go on weekends. it was fun, I was a very young teenager, you budgeted $10-20 bucks and went with friends as a night out. The gold coast -Jupiters casino was something for the rich and famous(don’t laugh). - Im sure its a seniors home now where the pills give them enough energy to press that botton one more time.

      Then VIC opened up is blow torch swan river aligned, mystique crown casino, that looks more like a trashy pub carpet dive these days- {sorry james, would love to fix it for you though}- but when it opened it was glitz and glamour, tourists flocked like moths to a light, now we know what the blow torches were for if you got too close!!

      Then the pokies revolution arrive in Australia to spring up in every corner of the country to save the ailiging hotel business due to draconic drink driving laws introduced people could not spend money at pubs to buy a beer and drive home slightly drunk like they used to- so to fill the void machines sprang up like mushrooms. No doubt they suck enough power that I’m certain if you caluculated their power use you would need to dedicate a coal mine just to power gambling…ouch my power bill is up again!!

      Now its open slather to bet, gamble, or call it whatever you like, however you like. 

      In a true and free society we have proven you can gamble on whatever you desire!  But at what cost?  one thing I do understand is that we can’t handle a true and free society and excerscise self discipline and control and live of someting resembling a virtue life like ancient greeks did in their fledging democratic societies millenia ago and LIVE IN MODERATION. I don’t really agree with people like no pokies Nick Xenophon because it doesn’t work, its like prohibition in the USA, it failed. You simply can’t ram or force things down people’s throat. All you can do is to change attitudes to make people understand that you can have as more fun playing bingo for a $1 with a bunch of people and less fun spending $1,000 on your own.

      Generally it seems we prefer excess and the destruction that comes with it. For me gambling any form, pokies, casino’s etc bore me to tears. So I can’t even be asked to attend these places. However when I went for a holiday to Tassy in January and had a delicious dinner at Newfolk Hotel in Tassy and decided to have a flutter on keno whilst waiting for dinner because I hadn’t played it since the late nineties - it was fun.

      My advice is do whatever makes you happy. In moderation. I’m off to buy ONE lotto ticket !!!

    • Modern Primitive says:

      10:38am | 27/02/13

      That’s ok, I don’t understand the appeal of cricket, but each to their own.

    • Tim says:

      11:06am | 27/02/13

      I often find people talking about people not understanding probability when talking about gambling have no idea about gambling either.

      There’s many, many forms of gambling and I’d think you’ll find that a large proportion of regular gamblers have a much, much better handle on probability than your average joe.

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      11:23am | 27/02/13

      “I’d think you’ll find that a large proportion of regular gamblers have a much, much better handle on probability than your average joe. “

      And purveyors of gambling have a much better handle on it than gamblers, hence their ability to stay in business.

    • James1 says:

      11:30am | 27/02/13

      “There’s many, many forms of gambling and I’d think you’ll find that a large proportion of regular gamblers have a much, much better handle on probability than your average joe.”

      No doubt you are right, Tim.  I was thinking of the big ticket gambling - particularly pokie machines and lotto.  In terms of probability, the odds are heavily stacked against you in both cases, and if people understood those odds they would funnel their efforts into forms of gambling where you can actually work the odds.  As you say, it is a different case for much sports gambling, obviously.

    • Tim says:

      11:52am | 27/02/13

      Tim the Toolman,
      not really.

      There’s games of pure chance like Poker Machines and the like, that are pure money making and entertainment ventures. They can’t be beaten. The odds don’t matter as long as they’re always in the house’s favour. I would say this type of gambling might be what James was referring to in his first comment.

      There are a number of other areas of gambling like TAB’s or betting exchanges that don’t provide anything other than a service from which they take a commission. They literally don’t care what the odds are because they make profit purely off turnover. The more people bet, the more they earn.

      And although there’s a lot of bookies and corporates in business, quite a few of them go broke because they get out thought by punters or hit hard on certain bets.

    • Rickster says:

      09:07am | 27/02/13

      With all the match fixing allegations has anybody raised the issue of umpires? Or is this taboo, I mean it’s easier to get to 1 person rather than a whole team, and in the AFL they have too much sway on the game out come. 50 metre penalties come to mind, there have been plenty of strange rulings in the past few years but the players and media are reluctant to say anything, and it always seems to involve Collingwood, something dodgey going on there.

    • Ramymon says:

      09:17am | 27/02/13

      I have a bad gambling problem but managed to control it by isolating myself from poker machine venues, the internet, cut off the phone and don’t read newspapers. So far so good!

      For the hell of it a visited one of my old haughts———-must have been 5 years since i last was there.
      It was truly frightening to see the same faces, the desperate look in their eyes as they all crowed around the racing sheet looking for the last winner in the get out stakes! Sad, pathetic and sick!

    • James1 says:

      10:14am | 27/02/13

      “I have a bad gambling problem but managed to control it by isolating myself from poker machine venues, the internet, cut off the phone and don’t read newspapers. So far so good!”

      Hold on.  How did you post this comment if you stay away from the internet?

    • Mikeymike says:

      03:08pm | 27/02/13

      @ James1

      I’m thinking helper monkey.

      That would be awesome.

    • Modern Primitive says:

      09:35am | 27/02/13

      I lay the odd bet on the motorbikes and maybe a pineapple or two on melbourne cup day, but it’s really not that big a deal for me, I could take it or leave it. Put a few 20s through pokies when I first started going to pubs but was never really interested as whenever I lost the money I though “that could have paid for 4 more beers or the taxi ride home, what was the point?”

      I think what we need in society is funding to treat all sorts of addiction, from gambling to alcohol to illegal drugs. Lord knows we pay enough tax on Alcohol and Cigarettes, surely some of that money could be diverted into some sort of campaign and treatment option?

    • Bazza the Oracle says:

      09:48am | 27/02/13

      Not everyone who bets is an addict. Its the Aussie way have a beer and a couple of bets. sure their are addicts but don’t tar everyone with the same brush. If you’re looking for the perfect bloke that doesn’t drink and have the odd bet you’ll end up on the shelf or with someone that you have either transformed into your perfect man or someone that could be a sociopath. Either way it will eventually end up in disaster and you’ll end up living with the local trady who….drinks,bets and smokes. It’s the Australian way.
      As for your friend ,piss him off immediately.

    • Rose says:

      10:51am | 27/02/13

      Oh I don’t know. I’ve been happily married to a local tradie who rarely drinks and never bets for over 23 years. It’s great being married to some one who is always conscious and who doesn’t blow all our cash.

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      11:09am | 27/02/13

      “someone that could be a sociopath. “

      Oi! I resemble that remark!  You’re probably safe though, as I drink.

    • Jamo says:

      10:21am | 27/02/13

      If gambling doesn’t lead or contribute to someones financial downfall, is gambling 6 hours a day and doing it in bed, any worse than spending 6 hours a day on Facebook, including doing Facebook in the bedroom?

      Anyone? Anyone ?

    • Terry2 says:

      10:22am | 27/02/13

      What this article does demonstrate is that Mr Wilkie’s pre-commitment strategy to help gambling (pokie) addicts was a dud from the start and is just tinkering around the edges of a social problem with much larger dimensions.
      Like alcoholism, gambling is very much a personal problem until it starts to impact on family and friends (with gambling usually manifesting itself as a problem in borrowing and stealing from others including employers).

    • Arnold Layne says:

      11:39am | 27/02/13

      Spot on Alfie.  Who needs crappy pokies when you have your own gorgeous slot machine?

    • Bear says:

      02:06pm | 27/02/13

      Yea mad. Must have been really hooked. A bloke punching way above his weight needs to know what he’s got.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      12:18pm | 27/02/13

      Ban betting on Sport. Ban Professional Sport (AFL, NRL , Swimming, Golf, Tennis -the bloody lot)
      Take Sport back to where it belongs: Your local Oval, with kids & adults playing for FUN. No Cash Rewards. Sponsors? Yes people will still buy their products if not more of them when they realise those sponsors are actually helping local, amateur clubs buy their uniforms, gear, accommodation & travel expenses when a team plays away from home.
      PS, We have friends who have their own Pokie/Slot machine. It has now been banished to the shed because no-one ever won anything!!!

    • ronny jonny says:

      12:30pm | 27/02/13

      The problem is that liberalisation of anything leads to it becoming a worse problem in society. The runs are on the board. Think, prostitution, poker machines, pub hours, drugs, alcohol, discipline in schools, gambling, sex and violence in movies, easing of restrictions on all of these things has not led to a better, healthier society. It’s always sold as being because an adult should be able to choose but it always ends up being so uncsroupulous businesses and individuals can make money.
      Gamblers have always amazed me but recasting them as sexy young men in suits having a great punt while hot girls crawl all over them is pretty bloody disgusting.

    • Al says:

      01:01pm | 27/02/13

      ronny jonny - thats some pretty broad statements there.
      Please enlighten me as to how the lessing of restricitions re: prostitution or sex and violence in movies has led to society being made worse?
      Not just the ‘impression’ you get via the media, but actualy figures.
      I for one have no issues with these things as I am able to take responsibility for my own actions and say no.
      The biggest problem is that too many would rather give up their freedoms to government for the illusion (yes, illusion) of making the world/country/society safer.
      Even if you actualy banned all sport betting, it would not remove the problem, it would just create a black market for people to go and have a punt. This has been shown before with things like prohibition of Alcohol.

    • Dan says:

      01:28pm | 27/02/13

      liberalisation of alcohol didn’t lead to bigger problems. Prohibition led to Mafia, Al Capone etc. If there is a demand, there will be a supply (legal or not). If there is no legal supply criminal gangs will make a killing (at times literally). It is best to regulate and tax it than expect everyone to be boring.

    • simonfromlakemba says:

      01:54pm | 27/02/13

      Prohibition didn’t make the Mafia, they were around in America since the mid 1800’s. Prohibition however did make them very wealthy. Prohibition also made some very important political families a fortune.

    • Modern Primitive says:

      02:04pm | 27/02/13

      “It’s always sold as being because an adult should be able to choose”

      Are you able to articulate why an adult shouldn’t be allowed to make various choices?

    • Al says:

      01:12pm | 27/02/13

      Here is the question I ask of people who are strongly anti-gambling, would you actualy remove the source of income for those who undertake gambling in a less high risk way (using psychology, behaviour reading etc) in games such as Poker where it is actualy less about the statistical probability a more about outplaying your opponents?
      I know of a least one person who does this as a full time job and makes more money than most employees. (I also know I couldn’t because I am hopeless at reading people and rely too much on what the cards actualy are).

    • Dan says:

      01:49pm | 27/02/13

      I had a pretty bad gambling problem about 18 months ago. I have only had a couple of small bets since and always when I am in a group, never on my own.
      Things that worked for me were
      1. I will never get something for nothing (at least in the long run) but I will always want it. That is the strength of gambling - they are trading on your greed, laziness and belief that your life should be better.
      2. Looking at other gamblers, especially at the pub watching the races, but also on the pokies. How many are having fun?
      3. Recognising the trick of the “close loss” - you know the one that gets the heart rate up for a second before you realise you didn’t actually win. Its that “hit” that you are looking for and you just got a bit more addicted.
      4. Started thinking about what horse racing meant for horses. I love horses, it was one of the reasons I loved racing, but racing is not a profession for a horse - it is a life or death run from the knackery while being belted by your jockey.
      5. I openly admit to my friends that I should not be in a gambling location, especially when I am drunk. Its a bit embarrassing at times, but not as embarrassing as waking up on Sunday with an empty bank account.
      6. At the end of the day gambling was about escaping for me. In the end I faced up to and fixed the situation instead of running from it and I can now save money again.

      I hope at least one other gambler out there gets something useful out of that post.

    • Rick says:

      04:13pm | 27/02/13

      Face it your a loser ,  Escapism and Alcohol dont mix , when it comes to gambling .
      Any smart punter always puts his bets on with a clear mind and purpose way before you start drinking.Then you can relax with a coldie all you want .
      Drinking whilst betting is the best way for anyone to lose all your coin.
      A loss is a loss , there is no such thing as a close loss , its a loss.
      And a racehorse is a racehorse , thats what they are born and bred to do . And if you start feeling sad for how the horses feel , well ............. mmm
      Im a old school daily/weekly depending on the form horse racing punter , and thats my hobby , I dont really care about sports betting as it seems more a youngsters thing thesedays , with dumb phone apps and stuff . But if people want to bet on it , well why not ?  Its their money and choice.

      I cant understand or see how idiots get out of control on gambling and lose everything and then want to be treated like its a illness . Its all your fault nobody elses.  Live with it and pay the price of your stupidity without demanding compensation .

    • Punters Pala says:

      02:18pm | 27/02/13

      Generally, I don’t disagree what you have said, Hayley. Still, one thing I can say that unless you live overseas, your boyfriend could not have had a bet on his laptop while following the tennis match. Live betting over internet is prohibited in Australia and unless he was calling to the bookies or Betfair, he was probably just following the game. He might have had a bet before the game, but certaintly not during the game.

    • Mikeymike says:

      03:19pm | 27/02/13

      Because as we know, Internet usage in Australia is restricted to sites within Australia.  There is absolutely no way of circumventing local laws by going to sites outside of Australia.

      Sheesh…  You sound like one of the guys trying to set up the Internet filter.

    • SM says:

      03:52pm | 27/02/13

      @Punters Pala

      You’re correct in terms of Australian sites, but she never did say he was betting live, just following the score

    • Mark says:

      03:39pm | 27/02/13

      So really, the OP has nothing against gambling but everything against abusive habits that form an addiction. Congrats, you’ve just described the personality trait that contributes to the vast majority of our social problems, from crime to healthcare to family violence, addiction is the common reason for these things occurring in large amounts.
      It has nothing to do with politics or funding, but everything to do with the way we are brainwashed, as western children, into think more is better. It is how we live our lives, even the non substance dependant. We want more and then we think we’re failures when we don’t have it.
      The pathological completion of any activity should be called a habit and should be discouraged by society.

    • ted says:

      03:52pm | 27/02/13

      I think Ben Barba is a great footy player but this is a nothing story….here is someone who is gifted and doesn’t have to work at his craft to make loads of money and he blows that cash and a few other important things in his life…..trying working for a living

      Sport in Oz is ridiculous - primadonna athletes with nothing to do but train and play….sponsored by booze and gambling products. As someone else said, 20 hours minimum work and/or study per week would change the situation dramatically.

      As a humourous coincidence, I see some of the “immortals” missed their invites to the season launch of the NRL. This is a good start as these people, who feel entitled to a “free lunch” as a result of deeds done 40+ years ago is one reason NRL (and sport in general) is in the parlous state it finds it self today.

    • The Civet says:

      05:07pm | 27/02/13

      HAYLEY: I do hope your partner’s gamblin’ problem was being overcome. I too had a partner who was a gambling addict. One night a couple of bruisers turned up and heaved baseball bats at him, which was pretty un-terrific. The lies and excuses were unbelievable-business people have to gamble, was one of them.
      Anyway he went thru nearly all the money we had then one night he dropped dead, It was the happiest time of my life. No more threatening phone calls, no more baseball bats, just beautiful peace.

    • stephen says:

      05:40pm | 27/02/13

      That photo up there appears like the author who caught her ex. looking up something else, (naughty) on the internet.
      Me ? ... I like seeing the You-tube Tennesseean who shoots up his lawnmower with a 9mm, then a 12 gauge, then a 308.
      And then there’s the one about a disgruntled Porsche owner who invites his gun-toting friends to shoot up his car.

      Point is, it’s the computer that’s done it : gambling is only serious because it is a convenient obsession, and if pokies weren’t around or the internet, then nervous people would have to walk more to the TAB, if only to re-define their energy.

      ps gambling heroes are only at poker meets or chess championships. Are you game, Hayley ?

    • turbodewd says:

      05:58pm | 27/02/13


      I think you are being too kind to Mr Barba with this line:

      “he could also be suffering from a gambling problem”

      Ben Barba is a father of 2 and earns his own income.  If he has indeed gambled and grogged away his previous marriage then he has shown poor judgement. He made poor choices.  The gambling problem was his choice.

      Does rugby league culture breed men who cannot think themselves out of a bad situation?


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