Becoming a Gambler

Did you know that Tesla and Dostoyevsky were also gambling addicts? Tesla lost his tuition money, had a nervous breakdown and dropped out of school. Dostoyevsky’s “Gambler” is semi-autobiographical.*
Learning that such great minds had the same problem as me was somewhat comforting, it made me stop questioning my intelligence and made me realize it is a disease that I need to fight.

Occasional bets on English Premiere league started 2017, when I would visit Casino with my friends. In the beginning, I would never spend more than €20 per month. I didn’t see this as a problem, because it was really just for fun. Everything changed when I discovered online Casinos 2018. 

As I mentioned in the previous post, I am a huge football fan and I am following results religiously. All the websites, that I visit to check the latest scores, have flashy banners advertising betting with free money that you can use for the first bet. Those websites are flooded with odds for the upcoming matches everywhere. I noticed those banners, but have never really paid attention, nor I considered betting, as I saw them as scams. However, one day at work, I’ve heard a few colleagues talking about online betting and how they won. Knowing that the colleagues I respected are betting online, probably gave me subconsciously a green light to try my luck too. I had nothing to lose, I was thinking, because I started with a free bet from the flashy banner. I don’t even remember if I won. I just remember how convenient it was. I didn’t have to dress up, go to Casino nor talk to others – I could play from my own sofa. 

Without me noticing, after 3 months, my bets got bigger. I was putting about €200 for a single bet. I started becoming addicted to the adrenalin rush I was having whenever I would place a bet. What I was doing was wrong, I knew, but I couldn’t stop anymore.

Without the doubt, the worst supporter of the growing addiction was my credit card with a possibility of €4600 overdraft. I often wonder if I would mess up my life this much if I didn’t have a credit card. Would I find another way to become a problem gambler? Did the credit card speed up inevitable or none of this would happen if I didn’t have it?

Using credit card was too easy. It didn’t feel like it was real money. Before I knew it, my credit card was maxed out. As interest was so big, I thought it’s better to take a loan from another bank, because of the smaller interest. The panic I felt, because of the minus, was gone. I felt great and I decided to quit gambling. However, after a week, I was back to my old habits.

As my addiction was growing, so did the bets. I remember, once I was in the toilet watching a football match (around six months into online betting). Since I was soo sure about the result, I bet €1300. I lost. The panic started kicking in and I had to get my money back. I made another bet for €1000 euros right away. My heart was pounding and I was sweating like crazy while waiting for the results. I lost again. Coming out of the toilet was heartbreaking. I lost €2300 in 20 minutes. I couldn’t believe what happened. I lost my monthly salary and my credit card was getting empty again. 

No one knew about my gambling addiction. No one knew I was taking loans. My fiancé and I never joined bank accounts, so there was no way for her to find out. Deep inside I knew I had a problem, but I didn’t want to admit it to myself. I was so sure big winnings were around the corner, that I could beat the system and that the next time luck will be on my side.

In the next post, you can read how my addiction grew together with my dept.  

*Resoruces: “Nikola Tesla, My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla”
https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/advances-in-psychiatric-treatment/article/from-the-gambler-within-dostoyevskys-the-gambler/D7ACB14B9EAD00EB8EF65512C28EADAA/core-reader

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