Let me grab your attention straight up: since the beginning of this year I’ve lost a grand total of $15,465.73 on online gambling. Wow, working out the exact number seems so surreal. What’s even worse is that this is just on Betfair alone and doesn’t take into account the offline gambling I’ve done when I’ve been out with friends. These events happened mainly from March to April and since April I haven’t touched any sort of gambling. Here’s my brief story of how making money online lost me to gambling.

Making money online has its privileges.  For one, I don’t have to spend several hours every day in peak hour traffic waiting to get to work. I can also work whatever hours I want which gives me freedom to do shit I want to do, whenever the hell I feel like it. To me, the best advantage is that I don’t know how much I’ll earn by the end of the year and I honestly don’t think I could cope knowing what my exact salary for the entire year will be. “Oh, I can’t go on vacation until… 2014 when I finally put away enough money to book a hotel”. Not for me. Besides these extremely lucrative advantages, I don’t think enough people talk about the negatives. Besides the stress involved, lack of social interaction etc. etc. I’ve come across online gambling as my biggest hurdle so far.

Early this year I had a lot of online ventures which were paying me good money. I was regularly doing 4 figure profit days and a lot things were going my way. Nothing could stop me now – I was a teenager banking thousands every day and I must have thought I was invincible. With revenue coming in from every direction I had a fair bit of spare cash lying around. Looking back I should have invested any money I had that wasn’t earning me interest or at least lock it away in some sort of fund. Instead I made the amateur move and deposited it into my Betfair account. This decision would come back to haunt me.

Something a few of you might be able to relate to is that when I saw a figure in my online wallet (what Betfair calls your account) I didn’t see it as real money. I’m not sure why I didn’t see it as real, but I do know that I would never hand over $15,000 in cash to a betting agency. For the first few weeks I’d do a few small bets here and there and wouldn’t really take much notice if I won or lost – I was working a fair bit and betting was done in my “break”. Because of this betting I started to get really interested in sports. I got satellite cable hooked up so that I could watch the random tennis game or horse race.

Weeks down the track and I see myself watching tennis all night and watching horse racing during the day. I got so into horse racing I was a few emails away (literally) from purchasing my own racehorse and getting into the business. Tennis also became one of my interests and was a pretty easy sport to win money on – ironic, huh? Soon enough I stopped working and was focusing most of my attention on gambling and for a few weeks it was my primary source of income. Yes, I did start off making money, but with any type of gambling, 9 times out of 10 the house will recoup its money eventually as it did with me.

The time came for me to give back to the house. The date was the 23rd of April, the day before Easter Sunday. I remember waking up and going Easter Egg shopping and coming home and no-one else was home. I spent close to $170.00 on chocolate for friends, family and relatives and thought I’d try and make that money back through a few quick horse races. The funny thing is that I made that money back within 20 minutes of being home. Being the money hungry sort of person I am, I thought I’d keep going. After all, I was home alone and didn’t have plans until that afternoon.

Don’t ask me what I was thinking at the time cause I have no idea: the next bet I lost $50.00. 5 minutes later I lost another $100.00. 4 minutes later I lost $500.01. 9 minutes later I lost $5,000.00. 8 minutes after that I lost another $5,000.00. And finally, 12 minutes later I lost $1,000.00. Yeah, I was pissed, $12,000.00 gone in less than an hour. My thought process was that I wasn’t going to tell anyone. How would your family react to you losing $12k in a crazy day of gambling? That’s why I kept quiet. I understand that losing this amount in a casino would only warrant a free drink voucher but it was a lot of money to me at the time.

Fast forward to May and I had another brief stint on Betfair, this time losing close to $4,000.00 on a tennis bet. For some reason I didn’t learn my lesson and this one hit me even harder. It’s safe to say that after that I quit gambling and haven’t touched it since. In hindsight what I experienced was poison. I got to the stage where winning 1 bet wasn’t enough and regardless of the profit I still wasn’t happy – I could never hit my high. Losing was even worse, I’d feel what I imagine people going through depression would feel and the only thought in my mind was how I was going to get that money back through betting again.

My thoughts to anyone making money online who are thinking about getting into online gambling are do it carefully. I know I can’t persuade anyone (nor would I attempt to) to not even begin, but don’t dig yourself into a hole where the only escape is to continue gambling. I think of myself as lucky that this didn’t ruin my life, friendships or even family and even in a weird way, I’m glad I got it out of my system. I’m glad I’m not 40 years old with a wife, kids, a mortgage and a gambling habit.

Oh, and I’m not blaming the fact that I make money online as the entire reason for why I lost that money. I’ll chalk it down to availability, curiosity and naivety. What hurdles have you come across in your attempts to make money online?


I just wanted to take a quick moment to apologise for our downtime today. An unexpected error with our web host forced us to stay down for several hours. I’ll mention more in an upcoming article about web hosting. In the mean time, follow me on Twitter. Follow Dan on Twitter. Follow Sofa Moolah on Twitter.


27 replies on “How Making Money Online Lost Me to Gambling”

  1. It is good to read that you haven’t gambled your money away since the dilemma. Great read.

      1. Thanks for posting, I lost almost double what you did in about 3 months
        The only way to stop is a clean slate
        Keep strong

  2. Interesting post, keep up the good work Mat, I look forward to seeing more stuff from you

  3. The worst bit for me was actually watching you lose that amount of money whilst trying to talk you out of it haha.

  4. I think you nailed the problem all freelance designers face and that is access to it and the free time to indulge in it. I find podcasts are my big attention sink, and not design related ones. I am talking about ‘ask a ninja’ and ‘the happy tree friends’ when they get delivered to your iTunes, I have to say it is very hard not to watch them straight away.
    Learning the gambling lesson obviously hurt, but you didn’t lose everything and you stopped gambling which is the big one.
    You came out of it wiser and not destroyed like I have seen happen in the past.
    Sharing that must have been tough, but I am sure there will be people who can learn from it.

    1. Yeah, little distractions seem to be the ones that ruin your productivity the most. Hopefully people can learn something from this post and don’t go down the same path I did. Cheers!

  5. Interesting article Mat, sort of reminds me of myself lol..

    I had quite a number of campaigns pulling in $X,XXX revenue every day for around 2-3 months – with a great offer.. And the fact they it didn’t seem like real money after seeing 4 digits every day.. is actually so true.. i actually lost that emotional attachment to the large sum of money i was banking every day.. it just felt like a normal thing to see 4 digits on your revenue tab on your affiliate website.

    I actually bought myself every Apple product i needed, to the Pro, desktop, iPhone, iPod lol… and threw every cent into my savings account.

    I can’t say i’m not a gambler because i do but i think it’s just keeping that mindset of having fun with the cash you lying around to chasing for more and more money.

    In the end, great article and ironically.. i was thinking of heading to Star City this afternoon. Maybe this is a sign 🙂

    1. Haha, just don’t get carried away at Star City 😛 I can relate to your story which is sort of a bad thing. When money isn’t exciting you theirs something wrong. How do you think people can keep the ’emotional attachment’?

  6. Nice post, as we all expect from you Mat.

    I really don’t get it why so many people are gambling nowadays, I’m pretty sure that everyone heard of the following saying: “The house always wins”

    If the house wouldn’t always win then all casino’s would fail in no time and that would mean the end of gambling.

    I laughed when I read that you were so close to buy yourseld a race horse. Good one!

    1. Thanks for the comment! I agree, theres a lot of information out there about the dangers of gambling so people who get into it, I think, know the dangers. You can really only blame themselves in my opinion.

  7. Good one Mat, you wised up quicker than many of us. Notice I said us, I sought help after three, yes 3 houses. Fortunately I have some more. There’s a reason why you can’t win, and that is the table never closes. There’s always another horse race, a spin of the wheel, a turn of the cards. You are changing your focus all the time. If you win a thousand, you think you can win two, if you get to two you focus on getting to three. When you lose say, five hundred of that two thousand, you say to yourself, “Ill just win back that five hundred and then finish. Your focus or goal has shifted from three thousand to two, and you are no longer focusing on a goal, but on recouping a loss. In business, we focus on our goals, we plan, we work, and we strive in a concentrated way. We do not chop and change. We hold to our dreams. If your short term goals are all over the place, you are a rudderless ship. You cannot hope to reach your port if you are not in control of where you want to be. God Bless.

    1. Wow, thanks for sharing. You’ve hit the nail on the head in regards to the mentality that I had. Thanks for the wisdom!

  8. Couldn’t have said it better myself ditto to everything you said. I’ve lost similar amount in exact same circumstances. I went for broke, but still I’ll survive as I’ve no wife or kids, mortgage, or arrears, I’ve learned a valuable lesson, it is a cruel world at times!

  9. ive just went through a similar experience..losing money to online sports betting..i hope we will stay off forever! cheers 🙂

  10. Well you’re a bit stupid aren’t yer mate. Fucks sake there’s nonlesson to be learned here other than dont be an idiot.

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