For 10 years Tracy Smith’s* sister Julie was visiting up to four or five poker machine venues a week in a country Victorian town. At these pubs and clubs, Julie would withdraw $100 from the ATM to play the pokies, sometimes taking out $800 a night. The family didn’t know she had a gambling addiction until Julie took her own life four weeks ago. She was 51.
“She was gambling everything as soon as her pay would come in,” said Tracy, who requested her’s and Julie’s name be kept private to protect her family. “We were appalled. My sister’s pattern was to keep taking out $100-150 and they just can’t stop. They can’t stop until the money’s gone.”