Gambling teller robs bank

horseracesWhen Pete (44) took his first banking job at 16, he never thought that gambling would get in the way of his career or lead him to a life of crime.

Pete started gambling at 14 years old, going to the track with his grandfather and placing the occasional bet. This social activity spiraled rapidly out of control. Pete estimates he had a full blown gambling problem by about 17.

At work, Pete began taking large amounts from customers’ bank accounts to gamble with. One day, when a customer he had stolen from came in to see the accountant, Pete knew he was going to be caught. He left that lunchtime with $5000 in cash.

“I had become disassociated from the value of money. I knew I was caught so I just disappeared” he remembers.

After that, Pete’s life got more complicated as he traveled around Australia, still in the grips of his gambling addiction. He worked several jobs, but always gambled more than he made. He eventually robbed a bank in Queensland in order to pay a motel bill.

“I hit rock bottom” he says “I knew I had to go home and face the music.”

When Pete got home, he was taken to court and given five years probation on the condition he seek help for his gambling addiction.

Since then he has, slowly, been getting his life back. “Getting the counseling is the best thing that’s happened to me” he says, though he admits it hasn’t been easy. “Gambling is a terrible addiction, and I wish I had sought help earlier.”

If you or someone close to you is affected by gambling, give the Problem Gambling Foundation a call on 0800 NO GAMBLE or 0800 664 262. Services are free and confidential and available nationwide.

(thanks to the Problem Gambling Foundation for the story and garethmooney for the photo)

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