Worker spent all he had as machines sucked him in

NZ Herald 29 August 2013
Working backstage at SkyCity’s theatre, Graham used to look over the casino’s gambling floor in disgust. A few years later, people were looking down on him as he poured his pay cheques into the pokies.

“I didn’t gamble back then,” said Graham, a Maori man in his 50s. “Backstage looked right over the gambling area … It was a cesspit.”

A partner introduced him to gaming machines at pubs and clubs. The relationship ended, but Graham kept going back to the machines to fill the void in his life.

At first it wasn’t too bad, but things got worse when he moved into the city and had easy access to the 24-hour casino.

He’d spend 10 hours at a time at the poker machines, spending all he had.

“I never borrowed for my addiction, never stole or went into debt. I just went without the essential services of life like food. Many a time there was no food in the cupboard.”