All In


Gambling addiction is one of the main reasons for failed marriages. You can’t put the fate of your family on luck. Sadly, the statistics for gambling addiction have significantly increased, especially now that there’s online gambling. A person can access online gambling sites quickly, making the potential of addiction high, as well as the chance of putting your life on the edge. Gambling addiction is most common in men which creates a significant conflict because they are the provider in the family.

Almost all of us dream of having a family of our own, a lovely house, cars, a stable job, and perhaps luxury. People are malcontent that they keep coming for more, thinking it will be better, but when do we know when things will still get better? What makes things better? How do we know if what we have is already the best we could have?

“Gambling addiction is often referred to as the “hidden illness” because there are no physical signs or symptoms that accompany it as is the case with many alcohol or drug abusers.” Jeremy Frank PhD CADC, a Philadelphia Psychologist & Addiction Counselor explains. When a person has a gambling addiction, he has the desire to want more, but it is already a mental health disorder that needs attention. Addiction is the urge to do or have something that we don’t necessarily need. The feeling can be overwhelming that a person with an addiction couldn’t resist. They need all the help and support from their families and professionals specializing in cases like this. If they don’t get helped and continue to be drowning in this kind of addiction, they could gamble every important thing in life that they once dreamed of having.

Important things you’re gambling away when you have gambling addiction:


Marriage and Family

One of the essential elements of marriage is security. This world we live in demands financial stability for us to live comfortably, which is what a man would want for his family. If a man has a gambling addiction, this element of marriage is compromised. “Happy wife, happy life.” A woman would want to be secured, especially when there are children involved. She would want to send them to a good school and prepare tasty meals on the table. Constant worrying about the family’s stability could be a reason for unhappiness, and this is a sure way towards a failed marriage. As psychiatrist Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones says in an article, “Families suffer terribly from gambling. They lose homes, the kids become depressed. This is not the worst case by any means.”


People who employ you trust your mental and emotional capacity to function well, and if you show a sign of psychological and emotional instability based on the choices you make, there is a possibility of losing your job. Addiction affects our focus in life. It makes us less interested in things that should be important, like meeting our deadlines and preparing a presentation to the board. These things require full attention and effort which addiction affects dramatically.


When a person is drowned in gambling addiction, there are instances where he would gamble away his house, car, properties and other valuables that can be bet. Some of these might be an investment intended for his children, but in the hope of winning, he’s willing to gamble them away.


A person who went all in and has lost everything including his family, job and properties would most likely have severe depression, and with having people walk away from his life could mean no help and support to overcome this tragedy. There are cases where the head of the family gambled away everything they had and ended up losing everything. With no hope left, he decided to end his life. If only he got all the help he needed, could life have been spared?



Life is full of choices, the good as well as the bad ones. It is our choice not to live our lives in chances. Never go all in, never bet your dreams and your life away. Note that “Not everyone who gambles has a problem with it. It is important to determine whether or not the other person has an addiction.” Natalia S. David, PsyD. said.

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.”

Gambling Addiction, Family Court and Child Custody


Facing family court can be frightening and stressful, especially with a betting or gaming obsession is hanging over your head. What you can do to lessen the stress is to prepare for everything that you are about to experience in these court cases.

What is the impact of gambling to your family?


Once the gambling addiction issue is discussed in the court, it can only mean one thing – one party has already made an allegation. The family court judge will then have to decide how the addiction issue influences the marital relationship and the family unit as a whole.

“Families suffer terribly from gambling. They lose homes, the kids become depressed. This is not the worst case by any means.” –Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones

The effects of marital waste

Marital waste is the indulgence and spending of money and assets for personal use which offer any benefit to the marriage. It may or may not cause economic consequences in the end. Substantial debts are usually the cause of this waste, incurred through the following:

  • ATM drawings
  • Credit card use
  • Loans on salary
  • Retirement fund cashed out prematurely

Child custody cases involving a compulsive gambler parent

Child custody cases can be messy, but it is necessary to keep in mind and heart the future of the child or children involved. There are cases when a gambling addict parent leaves the children and forget about them while they gamble. It is highly likely that the non-gambling parent will be blaming the gambling one for not having enough time with their children since he or she is always out to feed the addiction.

“The effects of problem gambling on family members are immense. Spouses and families are innocent victims immersed in the emotional turmoil that problem gambling presents.” –Damon Dye, EdD, LMHC, NCGC II, BACC

Parents who gamble excessively need to be assessed

Courts prefer to have the parents and their spouses undergo gambling assessment and tests in order to evaluate the extent of the problem. The reason for this is very simple – the addiction must be addressed immediately. Assessments are conducted by licensed problem gambling therapists and the results are sent to the judge in charge of the child custody case. It can be any of the following:

  • No problem with gambling addiction was observed
  • There are signs of gambling issues, but not that grave
  • Gambling problem is found to be severe and treatment is required

Assessment resulting in “not severe” gambling problem can lead to the judge ordering attendance to classes featuring effects of gambling problems on family and marriage.

Settling asset distribution


Regarding asset distribution, the court judge will decide based on how the assessment on gambling will come out. Lawyers will always argue and try to prove that the gambling spouse intentionally and deliberately wasted their common funds. In this way, he or she will be liable for all the losses incurred.

As for the gambler, his or her lawyer will claim that the addiction is a mental health disorder which impaired the person and that he or she didn’t act in a normal state. The lawyer will then plead that the person needs all the help he or she can get and that means treatment and therapy.

The judge will base his or her decision after hearing the arguments and will settle asset distribution.


(Speaking about therapy, one of the ways to combat gambling addiction is through an online therapy provider. They have thousands of licensed counselors to assist those with gambling addiction issues. How much does therapy cost? This online counseling site charges minimally and is very discreet.)

Are the children in danger or not with the gambling addict parent?

It is also important to consider the possibility that the gambling parent will pose a risk to the children or even to himself or herself. The judge will then have to ascertain if it is safe to leave the kids with the addicted parent and his or her time with them may be monitored.

“Gambling addiction therapy is highly effective. However, for gambling therapy to be successful, a person needs to acknowledge their compulsive gambling as a problem.” –Cami Renzoni, a certified mental health aid provider.

Court judges have to understand the situation at hand

Judges play important roles, especially in understanding and recognizing the gambling addiction problem. More knowledge will be beneficial for issuing appropriate court orders since children are the concern here.

Stages of Gambling Addiction


What most gamblers do not realize or forget to realize is that they will never win in any form of gambling unless they quit. The mathematics of gambling shows that the odds are far greater than the chances of winning.

Your chances of winning are either through intensive research of the probabilities by factoring in the statistics of the past results, a lousy game by an opponent or by pure luck. “They gamble to reach the high. They gamble to escape emotional pain for hours, for days, until the money runs out. They quickly relish the winnings, investing nearly all of it back over the next days and weeks. They slowly destroy their lives. They get caught in the cycle.” Damon Dye, EdD, LMHC, NCGC II, BACC explains. 

It was just recently proven by science that people tend to be addicted to gambling the same way that they could also get addicted to drugs. The Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery identified four stages of gambling addiction:

  1. Winning Stage

Addiction usually starts with beginner’s luck. You pull the lever of the slot machine for the first time, got three matches of the same figure and won a few dollars. The next thing you know, you’re pulling the levers of the rest of the slot machines hoping to win the jackpot. “Addiction is progressive and, like a shark, stays hungry and keeps moving.” Darren Haber, PsyD, MFT said.

The hook of gambling is it will give you a glimpse of winning to keep you betting. With every win, your brain releases a chemical messenger called dopamine that gives off a wave of satisfaction and pleasure, leaving you wanting more of that feeling.

  • Losing Stage

By the time your beginner’s luck starts to fade, then comes a series of losses. The money you won from your first wins are now gone. Worse, you’re in for a huge amount of debt.

“A person who has a gambling addiction is a person who is unable to regulate their gambling. They spend more money and more time on gambling than they originally intended.”  Aaron Sternlicht, LMHC, CASAC said. At this stage, gamblers still believe they could win back their losses. Hence, they would do anything to get as much money as they could to support their gambling addiction. They think that if they bet higher, they would win back most of their losses.

Their anxiety to win back their money leads them to multiple loans from friends and family and lying about where they are taking the money.

  • Desperation Stage

At this stage, gamblers totally lose control of their addiction and their need to get their fix. Even though they are well-aware of the repercussions of their actions, they cannot stop themselves from going to the casino.

They would not think twice about putting their properties on the mortgage, betting their cars, and losing every single penny that they have. Some even commit criminal offenses such as theft, fraud, and even murder just to have the money to pay off their debts.

  • Hopeless Stage

This is the stage where most of the gamblers commit suicide. By the time they lost their properties, their friends and families, their careers, and everything that there is to lose, they become hopeless.

Their families who were once there for them are now gone and fed up with the multiple lies that they have been subjected to. Losing their support system now, when they need help more than ever, leads to greater anxiety and even into depression.

They turn to alcohol and drugs to ease the pain, worsening their state. Only until someone helps them get up and make them realize all their mistakes could they go to the recovery stage of gambling addiction.

If you know someone who is experiencing at least one of these stages, make sure to approach them and lend a hand with their problem. There are several options to help someone with gambling addiction.

You can refer them to a mental health professional or even direct them to online counseling services. Whatever it the most convenient, let them know that you’ll be there through every step of the recovery.