Human face of a $5 billion problem

March 6, 2017

Rachael Styles had her dream job and home, but she was hiding a terrible secret.

For years, she’d been ploughing every last cent into what had become an all-consuming obsession.

Gambling addiction was a “family disease” in Ms Styles’ clan. Her father was an infamous high-roller who was once so successful at betting on the horses that bookmakers shut him off.

But his luck finally went bad and tragically, after finding himself deep in financial strife, he took his own life in late 2014.

“That was really, really hard,” Ms Styles said. “The one reason I’m glad he’s not around now is that he doesn’t actually know what I’ve done after he passed away.”

Her dad did not know that she also had a gambling addiction — and it was spiralling out of control.

Ms Styles says her gambling addiction “took away everything”.Source:Supplied

“I dabbled in the horses, but the thing that got me totally hooked is pokies,” Ms Styles told

She remembered the days when the machines took only coins and it all just seemed like a bit of harmless fun.

“Then over time now they start taking notes, now they take $50 notes,” she said.

“You just don’t know what happens. At some point it creates a path way through your neurons and it hits that pleasure centre and you feel like, especially when you’re stressed or upset, you end up going back.

“Before you know it, you’re going back all the time.”

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