Losing big

Professional Golfer John Daly has always been a maverick in a sport known for its conservative image. He is also a bit of a gambler. In a recent media interview Daly revealed he lost a staggering $55 million between 1991 and 2007.

For a long time Daly didn’t know how much he’s lost. He thought it was $20-$25 million. It was only after going through his tax records he realised the true extent of his losses. At the height of his gambling career, Daly was playing $5,000 per spin slot machines and seven hands of Black Jack simultaneously at $5,000 to $15,000 per hand. He also used to go on two day gambling benders where he only paused to go to the bathroom. So perhaps it’s not so hard to imagine how he blew $55 million.

Daly put his losses down to “stupidity”. However he was also quite philosophical about it: “I did it. I moved on from it. I had a lot of fun doing it.” He seemed like a man who has come to terms with gambling. Even though the amounts are extraordinary, Daly’s experiences are not that different to the average punter at the end of the day. Not knowing how much has been lost, going on benders, not being able to stop when ahead, do these sound familiar?

When quizzed on why he did what he did, Daly said “I go in to enjoy myself; I don’t go in to win. I want to win, but I don’t go in thinking that I’m going to win. Because that’s the worst thing you could do in a casino.” There you have it from someone who has gambled a lot and lost a lot. Gambling is a form of entertainment and nothing more. Expect to lose whatever money you put in and never see it again, just like when you spend money on other forms entertainment. Never go in expecting to win.

For those who think they may have a problem with gambling, help is available. A gambling counsellor can be found by calling Gambling Help on 1800 858 858. Free individual sessions are available to anybody who might be concerned their gambling has gotten out of hand.

The Gambling Help website has a range of free resources and self-help tools available to download or order, as well as new community support forums where you can share your experiences and hear from others who are in similar situations. Visit www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au/forum to join the conversation.

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