A former gambling addict turned advocate has bravely detailed the harrowing ordeal of how her pokie machine habit destroyed ten years of her life — and how she hid it from family and friends.

Alliance for Gambling Reform coordinator Anna Bardsley has led calls for a reduction in venue trading hours, spin rates and 우리카지노계열 maximum bets after a shocking new report revealed Victorians alone had lost an estimated $66 billion to pokies in the last 30 years.

It’s estimated Victoria is home to 30,000 pokie machines while has triple that number.

This week marks 30 years since Victoria introduced the first pokie machines at a pub in ‘s eastern outskirts, which then premier Joan Kirner described would result in ‘better social, recreational facilities and a better night out.’

Ms Bardsley used to play the pokies a few times a year for a bit of fun.

But that occasional spin eventually escalated into addiction during a dark period of her life where two of her five children had died, and her marriage was in serious trouble.

She says she ‘lost 10 years of her life’ because of the addiction.

Alliance for Gambling Reform coordinator Anna Bardsley (pictured) was going through a tough time at home when she became addicted to pokie machines

Alliance for Gambling Reform coordinator Anna Bardsley (pictured) was going through a tough time at home when she became addicted to pokie machines

‘I used to yell at myself ‘just stop, just stop, just stop’,’ Ms Bardsley told Nine News.

‘I would stop for a while, but then I’d be back in again.’

She vividly remembers the fateful night her occasional flutter on the pokies turned into an addiction after an argument at home.

‘It was the first time in my life I’d been to a pub on my own and the first time I played the pokies on my own,’ Ms Bardsley told 3AW this week.

‘It was also the first time I lost money and spent more time on them than I was meant to. It was the beginning of the end. 

She hid her addiction from family and friends, who were none the wiser.

‘It was a such secret nobody knew what I was doing and how bad an effect it was having on me because I didn’t tell anyone,’ she said.

‘Nobody would have known I was in trouble other than I was there for a long time.’

‘I wasn’t crying, I wasn’t upset or banging on the machines, nobody knew.’

There are calls to trading hours of poker machines venues, along with reduced spin rates and maximum bets (pictured, a woman playing the pokies in Brisbane)

There are calls to trading hours of poker machines venues, along with reduced spin rates and maximum bets (pictured, a woman playing the pokies in Brisbane)

She doesn’t believe she has an addictive personality.

‘I’m a person who didn’t know how to look after myself, I had a hectic life and a family with a lot of high needs,’ she said

‘I’m a European Catholic person so it was a dangerous combination for women as I was taught to look after everyone else.

‘I’m only now learning to look after myself.’

She finally realised the extent of her addiction years later while recovering.

‘It was then I finally understood the machines are designed to do what they did to me that night’ she said.

‘I sat down in front of them and they settled me down and zoned me out. That’s what they’re designed to do, and I didn’t know that.’

Ms Bardsley would have all pokie machines ‘thrown in the bay’ if she had her way.

She believes pokie machines wouldn’t have the same attraction if they didn’t have flashing lights, music and the other bells and whistles.

‘We could also reduce the maximum bet to a $1 per spend, so you don’t lose as much money, it’s currently $5 in Victoria,’ she said.

‘If we can reduce the spin rate, it takes longer to lose your money because the spins are slower.’

Not even family and friends knew about Anna Bardsley's 10 year pokie machine addiction

Not even family and 우리계열 friends knew about Anna Bardsley’s 10 year pokie machine addiction

She called for a further reduction in trading hours of pokie machine venues first slashed from 24-7 to a maximum of 20 hours a day 18 years ago.

‘Nobody needs to be in a pokies venue at 9 am or at 3 am in the morning,’ she said.

‘I was there 3 am in the morning many times, and I’m telling you, no one was having any fun. It was not a fun time.’

The $66billion figure was estimated by the Alliance of Gambling Reform based on information from the regulator Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission.

It was based on the annual and monthly data, which highlights annual electronic gaming machine expenditure since 1992.

Victorians have lost an estimated $66billion to the pokies in the 30 years since the  addictive machines were first introduced to Victoria (pictured, pokies at a club in Altona, Melbourne)

Victorians have lost an estimated $66billion to the pokies in the 30 years since the  addictive machines were first introduced to Victoria (pictured, pokies at a club in Altona, Melbourne)

‘The tragedy of this $66billion figure is the profound damage this presents to countless people, families and communities,’ Alliance chief advocate Tim Costello said.

‘Back then Victoria started with 10,000 machines, today there are almost 30,000 poker machines and despite mandatory closing laws operators have found loopholes to provide gambling access 24 hours a day — and in some of Victoria’s most vulnerable communities.’

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews refused to drawn to be drawn on the mammoth  figure lost on poker machines when grilled by reporters on Sunday. 

‘I’m not here to talk about gaming policy,’ he said.

‘I am not here to announce any changes to that. People can make their own judgements.’

If you or anyone who know needs confidential help or support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the  Gambling Help Hotline 1800 858 858.

It's estimated Victoria is home to 30,000 pokie machines, according to the Alliance for Gambling Reform. Pictured is Melbourne's Crown Casino

It’s estimated Victoria is home to 30,000 pokie machines, according to the Alliance for Gambling Reform. Pictured is Melbourne’s Crown Casino

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