May’s Story

May was a patient with chronic illness. Her doctor recommended her to do a surgery but she felt the financial pressure in her family. She hoped to win more money in the shortest time. In her understanding, it was easier to win a large sum of money in casinos than from soccer and horseracing betting. Moreover, the glamour in casinos made her feel excited. Hence, she decided to gamble on Baccarat at casinos in Macau in order to resolve her financial difficulty.

She won occasionally at casinos at the very beginning, but as she desired to win more, she started thinking about how to increase her chance of winning. She then recalled the colour of her clothes in one winning episode, which convinced her of the correlation between win and dress code, like clothes in blue and new clothes. Besides, she correlated her winning experience with her departure in the evening. She firmly believed that these features could increase her chance of winning, hence, she gambled more frequently and with more money. She also changed her gambling time from daytime to night-time and from a few hours to a few days. Even she lost, she still trusted that these ways could increase her chances of winning and win back her losses.


Influence of gambling myths

May was addicted to gambling and often lied to her family about her gambling activity in Macau. Despite her family’s objections, she kept gambling persistently, which damaged the relationship with her family. May then lost few hundreds of thousands in gambling and her family helped repay her debts, which put her and her family into financial difficulty.


Treatment and Change

As May had been suffered from chronic illness for a long time, she was quite depressive. Counsellor provided emotional support on one hand; on the other hand, counsellor guided May to realize that her winning experiences were independent of her clothing colour and travelling time. By examining the process, May understood the fact of loss in long term. When she realized the painful consequence resulted from gambling, including financial difficulty and shattered family relationship, she was determined to stop gambling and rebuild her life, for example, exercising more, receiving counselling continuously and participating in groups. After 6 months of efforts, May’s gambling behaviour was under control. She did not step into casinos in Macau again, lived a healthier life and reconciled with her family.