My Gambling Addiction Made Me A Criminal: The Sharon Hollamby Story


The moment Sharon Hollamby robbed a convenience store with her son’s fishing knife, she knew that something was terribly wrong with her. For the 58-year old, the entire affair began with a simple gambling approach. As it turned out, the pokies game became her waterloo soon after.

“Compulsive gambling is a serious addiction that can cause severe consequences.” Natalia S. David, PsyD.  explains. Like most gambling addicts, Sharon never thought that a casual fun time will encourage her to pursue a troubling life. What she initially did was to look around, socialize and randomly use one of the machines at a recreation club. As it turns out, her somewhat gullible move would lead her to self-destruct.

Messed up Life

Around that time, Sharon had every reason to go out and keep herself preoccupied. Her nephew just died due to a drug overdose, while leukemia was taking a toll on her father. She needed a breather – a few hours away from tragic scenarios. When she won $400, that winning moment ignited her life to spiral downwards.

The pokie machine had cuffed Sharon almost instantly. She got carried away. In order to sustain her habit, it was at this stretch that she grabbed the storekeeper at knifepoint. Understandably, she was after the money. Perhaps “Although any kind of gambling can become addictive, video slot and poker machines are the most seductive because they offer the greatest escape.” Psychologist Robert Hunter said.

Since she had no prior juvenile or criminal record, she managed to get away from stiffer punishments. However, she felt totally ashamed deep inside. Even at this point, her gambling addiction consumed her.

Sharon’s robbery trial did not discourage her from playing some more. In fact, she was only going through the motions as her day in court came. The only thing on her mind was that her father was dying. Nothing seemed to deter her.


Her time on pokies machine continued. Although she managed to get help, it took a couple of threatening situations that propelled her to face her addiction. First off, her two children stopped talking to her. Secondly, her loses had amounted to $200,000. In addition to support groups, the South Australian mother was also on medications while seeing a psychiatrist.

Sharon Hollambly had definitely come a long way. Although she had been sober lately, the tendency to go back to those pokies machines continued to haunt her. Her case had been a head-turner judging from the fact that the Dolphin Treasure gambling device became the focal point of concern.

Anti-Gambling Initiative


Charles Livingstone, a public health lecturer at Monash University, pointed out that the machine contains features that were simply deceptive and misleading. Gamers were made to believe that their losses or near misses still accounted for as wins. Charges against promotion outfit Crown Resorts and Aristocrat Technologies are on. Should the company lose, notable repercussions in the gambling industry would be set in place.

Still, Sharon does not believe that Australia’s betting problems would come to an end. Her view had been reinforced by the fact that anti-gambling campaigns remain wanting in their methods. The capping bets were another thing that tend to motivate addicts since the losses they incurred had limits.

Although it had been eyed that betting enthusiasts were motivated to win more money, researchers believed that the addiction cycle continues due to the sense of gratification again and again. For Sharon, gambling was an outlet to blur her problems in life. Although betting organizations had been contributing heavily to communities, what these institutions give away have been returning in spurts by citizens who are more than willing to gamble.


If you are like Sharon who has a gambling addiction or if your loved one is addicted to betting on games, then, turn to an online therapy provider for online assistance. You can also search for “therapist near me”, if you need someone to speak with face to face. As Dr. Howard Samuels, PsyD. says,  “Admitting you have a problem is the first step in treating your addiction.”

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