Frank came to gambling counselling centre last year, after divorce due to his gambling. He had not gambled until he met a friend 6 years ago. The friend seemed to win a lot of money through betting on soccer matches and did not go to work. In contrast, Frank found himself working hard on mundane tasks. He wished he could gain money and freedom from gambling so that he could enjoy his interests, family time and rest well.
At the beginning of his gambling life, Frank observed the gamblers who succeeded in winning by their “winning formulas”. He learnt to model them to make and test his hypotheses without betting. He started real betting when he felt satisfied with his hypotheses. During the process, he became more confident in making his “winning formulas” and believed that they could help him make big money.
Influence of gambling myth
The belief led him to gamble more while attempting to make more hypotheses. He believed that he would one day met his targeted sum of money by his deductions and leave promptly. However, most of the betting outcomes did not occur as he hypothesized and therefore did not win money. He lost control in trying and was indebted.
Frank’s gambling not only incurred financial cost, but also his marriage. Financially, the debts cost his flat of $3million and later, he was bankrupt. Relationship-wise, his wife had expressed dissatisfaction toward his gambling for long but he did not listen. His wife finally could not tolerate the problems resulted from gambling. Frank realized the couple relationship was irreversible so he accepted wife’s request for divorce. He did not want to burden wife and children anymore.
Treatment and change
Frank realized his gambling was out of control and sought help from counsellor. In the process, he learnt the underlying factors contributing to and perpetuating his gambling behaviour. Retrospectively he recalled feeling angry for failing to confirm his hypothesis. His frustration and anger blinded him from his self-disciplined plan and therefore led to unaffordable losses. It further built another vicious cycle. Counsellor enhanced Frank’s self-awareness through guiding him to do mindfulness exercise and empowered his self-control. Over time, Frank could control his frequency and wager on gambling. His finance had improved.