SOAP BOX: Easier than ever to fall into gambling addiction

BEING a mad horse racing fan, I enjoy having a punt most Saturdays.

But after a horrid Spring Carnival I've decided to take a break for a few weeks and build up a bookie-busting bank for the autumn.

However, one betting agency decided they weren't too happy with this and gave me a call.

"We'd like to offer you a great deal this weekend Mr Nolan," the agent said to me in a phone call last week.

"If you make a deposit with us this weekend, we'll double it."

Some news outlets have reported in recent months that agencies were calling punters and offering free tickets to sporting events, free bets and even betting credit in the hundreds of thousands.

While I'm sure my $5 bets aren't enough to entice them to offer me such lavish gifts, I was still concerned with their tactics to lure me back to the punt.

It made me stop and think how easy it must be for people to fall into the pits of gambling despair.

I believe every person has a choice whether they gamble or not.

And while I was quite happy to tell him to leave me alone because I was busy working, it made me think how hard it must be for someone struggling with an addiction to refuse.

Having worked in hospitality for a number of years before joining the Daily, I saw the impacts of poker machine addiction first-hand.

It was heartbreaking to see someone go to the ATM so many times, that their card eventually declines.

And while there is strict policies in place for venues to prevent them from encouraging poor gambling practice, this doesn't seem to be the case with online bookmakers.

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