You’re 17, you’ve just finished school, and your boyfriend asks you down to the pub to the pokies. You’ve never gambled before – so you go. You press some buttons, have some fun and end up winning some money.
It’s all harmless, right?
Fast forward a few years. You’re sitting in your kitchen. There are bills everywhere. Usually, you can pay a few of them. But this time, you don’t even have enough money to buy a carton of milk, let alone hand over $250 for electricity.
This was the sad reality of Shonica Guy. A young woman from South Australia who had become a small cog in the large machine that is gambling.
By the time she realised she had a problem, Shonica had spent half of her life putting money into a game that more often than not, didn’t give it back.
“I gambled for fourteen years, and ten of these years I didn’t even think I had a problem. For about four years, I thought, “I’ve got to do something about this.” Then I started thinking, “Where’s half my life gone?” she told the Fighting For Fair podcast.
However Shonica is not the only one who has been, or will be in this situation.
In 2010, 600,000 people admitted to gamble at the pokies once a week according to the Australian Productivity Commission. And last year alone Australians lost $11 billion dollars on the slot machines that take up spaces in pubs and clubs according to Australian Gambling statistics.