Problem gambler: Self confessed former gambling addict *Mark, talking to a counsellor. Picture: Jeff de PasqualeMariette Ennik witnesses the cost of gambling addictions every day.

The Mission Australia Campbelltown gambling help counsellor sees about 80 addicts peryear.

While the circumstances surrounding the cause of addiction varies,there is one thingall problem gamblershave in common.

“Gamblers at the severe end of the spectrum will never pull out winnings because it’s never enough,” Mrs Ennik said.

“What that means is the more you play, the more you lose.

“Gambling is a form of entertainment, it’s not a way of making money.”

A Liquor and Gaming NSW spokesman reiterated that sentiment.

“In NSW, gaming machines are required to return at least 85 per cent(or maximum 15 per centloss) over the playing out of their full course of combinations, with the average return of all gaming machines over this period being about 90 per cent,” he said.

“However, the return during a single playing session varies –a player may win more than they put into a machine or they may lose more than 15 per cent. “

The Advertiser recently reported the amount of turnover on gaming machines in the Campbelltown local government area alone in the 2014/2015 financial year was $1.7 billion.

That figure refers to all money bet, including credits won.

Local MPs including Dr Michael Freelander (Macarthur), Greg Warren (Campbelltown) and Anoulack Chanthivong (Macquarie Fields) were all surprised by the amount.

All three also said the figure suggested there were more than a few people with a gambling problem in the community.

Mrs Ennik said “congnitivedistortion” was a common concern among problem gamblers.

“It’s a distorted way of thinking about the machines, prompted by getting an early win,” she said.

“They get a rush of being on top of the world from the win.”

Last year the Advertiser spoke to *Mark, a 22-year-old gambling addictwho said he had spent close to $14,000 in a four month periodon poker machines.

He said his story was proof that there was no win big enough tomake him take the money and run.

“(One)night I won $5500,’’ he said.

‘‘That could have bought me a car and set me up … but I kept chasing it (a bigger win).

‘‘The next day I went back to the pub and blew $500 trying to double it.

‘‘It was the greed involved in getting money you don’t have to work for and from that point it started to overwhelm me and I got more hungry.

‘‘I had an idea that if I won big enough I would stop but that was just an idea.

‘‘It really comes down to greed because it’s never enough.’’

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