Insight: Mar 18

2014-03-17_1657Tomorrow night, Insight speaks to young gamblers who have won thousands, and those who have lost almost everything.

Host Jenny Brockie asks why they do it, and whether they can control it.

“I don’t see why I’d want to walk away from it, because it’s something I enjoy doing” – Michael, 19.

Actuarial student Michael calls himself a ‘professional’ poker player. He sometimes spends 12 hours a day playing online poker and says he’s already made $30,000. He plans to pocket his first million before turning 25.

Paul started gambling at a young age and eventually became addicted. After gambling nearly a million dollars of family money online in a few weeks, he joined Gambler’s Anonymous and now helps others kick the habit early.

Studies by Gambling Research Australia suggest that up to five per cent of young people will develop gambling problems before they are 25.

Guests include:

Michael Addamo, 19 years
Michael is an actuarial student, but wants to be a professional poker player. He’s already on his way. He spends hours every day playing online poker and recently qualified for the Aussie Millions poker tournament. Michael has grand ambitions: he’s had his losses, but says he made $30,000 in eight months and plans to pocket his first million before turning 25.

Sami Islam, 25 years
Sami says he was addicted to online gambling. An international student from Bangladesh, he sometimes played all day and night in his room. Sami says he hasn’t spent a lot of money on his habit, but his fascination with poker has lost him a great deal of time – sometimes as much as 15 hours a day.

Paul Fung
Paul began gambling early. He started out playing Chinese card games but his habit escalated with sports betting, casino games and pokies. It took a disaster to turn things around. After gambling almost a million dollars of his brother’s mortgage, Paul joined Gamblers Anonymous. Now he helps others, sharing his experiences with young gamblers in the Chinese community.

Dr Sally Gainsbury
Sally is a clinical psychologist and she worries young gamblers mostly remain hidden and don’t seek help. It can be years before the harm becomes apparent. She says a 2011 study suggests almost 80 per cent of people aged 10 – 24 have gambled, and a higher proportion of those develop a problem compared to the adult population.

Tuesday at 8.30pm on SBS ONE.

Gambler’s Anonymous NSW
Problem Gambling Vic

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