Hi everyone, this is my gambling story, and I want to be completely honest. My gambling journey started about 10 years ago, and it has had a profoundly negative impact on my life. Over the course of a decade, I lost approximately $250,000 (possibly even more).
Let me begin by introducing myself so you can understand the toll gambling has taken on a person’s life. I am a confident, intelligent, and hardworking individual, well-respected in my small town. I was the only person who could speak English fluently, and I used this skill to help tourists who visited my town, even earning some money in the process. I started doing this when I was just 17 years old.
As I gained more confidence in my guiding abilities, I decided to move to a coastal area in my country to explore more tourist destinations and potentially earn more money. I was excited to embark on this new chapter in my life. I began working at a tourist hotel where the majority of the guests were tourists. I started as a food runner and enjoyed my new life. After about five years in the tourism sector, I made the decision to pursue a college education and become an engineer, which is when my gambling story truly began.
My college was in a different city, so I left my job as a captain waiter at the hotel to focus on my studies. Life was going exceptionally well, and I was achieving my dreams. When I arrived in the new city for college, I had to find a roommate to share an apartment since there were no vacancies in the government dormitories. I eventually found a roommate who became a close friend, and we even shared classes.
One day, my roommate invited me to watch a football match at a café while enjoying some drinks. I noticed that he was particularly excited during the game, even though it wasn’t his favorite team playing. In the final minutes of the match, he became nervous and anxious. I asked if everything was okay, and he assured me it was. Then, in the last minute, a goal was scored on the screen, and he erupted in joy. He was ecstatic, and I couldn’t understand why.
Later that evening, he came to my room and handed me some money, saying, “This is for you. You brought me luck, and I won $500 from this match!” He gave me around $50, and I was pleased. The next day, he texted me and sent me around four matches to bet on. Online gambling wasn’t very common at the time, so I went to a gambling café and placed bets on his recommendations. Once again, his betting slip won a substantial amount. He asked me to deposit $50 for that slip, and he won around $4,000.
I was shocked. My pocket money and government scholarship amounted to only $350, so he gave me $300. I told him, “I want to gamble too.” That’s when my life took a dark turn. I went to the same café and created my own betting slip. I included three matches and watched nervously. I didn’t inform my friend that I was gambling; it was a beginner’s luck. My first betting slip won, and I made around $5,500 from my $300 bet. I felt a rush of excitement and adrenaline like never before – it was the greatest happiness I had ever experienced.
From that point on, I’ll fast forward through the rest of the story to the real turning point. After my initial win, I started betting on every available match, losing most of the time. Within a week, the $5,500 was gone, and I started using my own limited funds. Since my available funds were small, my bets were also small, and the excitement wasn’t the same as with larger bets. That’s when I told my family a lie and asked my father for $500, claiming it was for school-related expenses. He provided me with the money.
I placed a single bet to double my money, thinking it was less risky than combining multiple bets. I staked the entire $500, along with my pocket money, scholarship, and an additional $500 borrowed from my friend, for a total bet of about $1,150. I was only waiting for three goals to secure my winnings. The match was tied 1-1 until the 18th minute, and I felt confident. However, the match ended 1-1, and I lost everything.
I became overwhelmed, couldn’t attend classes, and stayed at home for about a week. I cried incessantly and didn’t know what to do. I simply stared at the walls, smoked three packs of cigarettes a day, barely ate, and turned to drinking. My roommate sensed something was wrong with me and eventually took me outside. That’s when he shared his own story of addiction and debt, revealing that he was deeply in debt and had been kicked out of his home by his father. I questioned him about why he let me experience all of this, and he had no answers. He was filled with shame for what he had done to me.
Eventually, we started making small bets together to satisfy our cravings. Although I didn’t find much enjoyment in it, as the stakes were only $2 or $3, I felt compelled to keep gambling. I went to a bank, leveraging my good history from my previous job at the hotel, to obtain a credit card and a loan totaling approximately $18,000. While my friend was on vacation, I bought four cases of beer, three cartons of cigarettes, and created an account on an online gambling platform, as it was inconvenient to visit the café for gambling all the time.
I deposited the entire sum into my online gambling account and started betting on various football and basketball matches. All I was doing was gambling, drinking, smoking, and ordering food online. Within a week of being isolated at home, I had lost all of the money. Finally, I was left with one loan and one credit card to repay, which amounted to approximately $400 per month. My total income was only $350, and I didn’t know how to survive.
After two weeks of staying at home, I decided to drop out of college and return to work at the hotel. When you’re trapped in gambling addiction, it follows you wherever you go. The same pattern emerged at the hotel. I received my salary, owed money to people, and began asking my family for cash with a web of lies. Gambling makes you a compulsive liar, and strangely, you feel confident in deceiving anyone to obtain money for gambling. After four years of working and living this way, I made the ill-fated decision to move abroad, which marked the beginning of the end for me.
I was earning a substantial salary of around $3,000 and had paid off all my debts back home within six months. It was the seventh month, and I was about to receive my first full salary. A colleague invited me to his birthday party, where I was introduced to an online casino while one of his friends was gambling on his phone. I watched in fascination as he won a substantial amount of money from roulette. He screamed with joy, and I was curious about what was happening. He had won nearly ten times his monthly salary by placing a bet on a number.
My dormant gambling instincts were suddenly awakened. The next day, I called him and asked to meet at my place. I was eager to access this website, as it would be my first experience with a casino. He helped me create an account, which took only five minutes. I quickly deposited all my money into the account, which amounted to nearly $3,000. I began playing roulette but was cautious due to my past gambling experiences, so I kept my bets small. However, I quickly lost about $2,000, and he decided to leave. I continued on my own.
Once he left, my first bet on roulette resulted in a win of approximately $11,000. I was astonished, having quadrupled my salary in just ten seconds. Encouraged, I increased my bets and won another $25,000 within the next bet. I felt like I was on top of the world. That’s when I believe I became addicted to gambling. Without pausing, I continued playing and lost all the money within 30 minutes. I went into a frenzy, desperate to find more money. I borrowed my friends’ salaries and deposited them into my account, only to lose everything. I couldn’t even win once. In total, I lost nearly $12,000.
Subsequently, I discovered that I could obtain iPhones through installment contracts with mobile operators. I acquired six of the latest iPhones through three different operators, each of which offered two devices. Another technology shop also allowed me to purchase three iPhones on installment plans. I ended up with nine of the latest iPhones, which I sold to a phone shop at a 70% discount from their original prices. This provided me with approximately $10,000 in cash. I then took a three-day sick leave from work, feeling certain that I would recover my losses and repay my debts.
I was convinced that I could turn things around and pay off all my debts, and I was prepared to do whatever it took. Unfortunately, I lost the entire $10,000 within three hours. It was unbelievable how quickly I had squandered those iPhones. I was devastated, unable to move, eat, drink, or engage with anyone. I had lost my sense of self, and I was consumed by anger and self-loathing.
I realized that I needed to take drastic action to address my mounting debts. I went to a bank, which turned out to be another grave mistake, and applied for a loan. To my surprise, they approved a loan that was 20 times my monthly salary, amounting to $60,000. This sum was a fortune for me, and it could have bought me a house and a brand-new car in my country. However, I was not thinking clearly. I deposited the entire $60,000 into my online gambling account without reserving a single cent for myself. This money too was lost in a single day.
I was left with a loan to repay that required monthly deductions of $1,200, leaving me with only $300 per month to live on. This was even less than what I could have earned in my home country. My life became a series of catastrophic scenarios, and I went insane with worry for a couple of days. My manager called me to his office, where I explained everything to him, from the beginning to the end. He was initially furious, but he later told me, “Don’t worry, we still value you and want you to work with us.” His compassion and support moved me, and I was motivated to make a fresh start.
After three months of living a gambling-free life, I received an email from an illegal betting website offering me a $200 bonus with no conditions attached. Initially, I resisted, but after four days, something changed within me. I convinced myself that it wasn’t my money and that I could gamble for free, forgetting it ever happened. I logged into my account, and the $200 bonus had grown to $8,000. I could withdraw this money to my bank account, and once I was certain, I deposited the $8,000 back into the website. Within an hour, I had turned it into $35,000.
This is where the trap becomes insidious. They want you to believe that they pay out quickly and reliably. They were right; the $35,000 was in my bank account within half an hour. I decided to go to electronic stores and the iPhone retailers to settle all my obligations. However, something stopped me on the way. An internal voice challenged me, saying, “Don’t do it! You could make it to $200,000 and return to your home country debt-free, with significant savings.” I listened to that voice and went back home.
I was in a deep illusion. Imagine someone handing you $35,000 with no strings attached. It’s tempting to take it and leave, but gambling will always consume it again. This is the nature of addiction – it distorts your logic. It’s an illusion.
So, I decided to gamble with that $35,000 instead of settling my debts. I believed I could turn it into $200,000. Unfortunately, that never happened. I lost it all. My company loan of $15,000 was gone, and I had to turn to another bank to obtain a loan. They approved a loan that was 30 times my salary, amounting to $90,000. I deposited the entire sum into the gambling website, and within a week, I had lost it all.
I had no other option but to flee the country immediately. I left without informing anyone because even my monthly salary wouldn’t cover the loan installments. I had essentially ruined my life for nothing. I was once an active, productive, and intelligent individual, but now I’m struggling to find the courage to end my life.
To those reading my story, gambling is a massive deception, an illusion. It’s a utopia you create in your mind. I returned to my home country, but not to my hometown. I started working as a housekeeper, earning a meager $500 per month. My life had lost its purpose, and I developed anxiety, insomnia, weakness, and a growing sense of hopelessness. I’m filled with despair and don’t know when my debts will catch up with me. I feel there’s no way I can repay this debt while working here. I’ve turned to my faith, hoping for a miracle.
I know that one day my debts will catch up with me. Perhaps that will be the day I consider ending my life. Stay away from gambling, my friends. Don’t ruin your beautiful lives. Life requires hard work, not easy money. There are no shortcuts to success. It’s all a lie designed to encourage people to lose their money for someone else’s gain. God bless you all.