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Australian Boy Loses $30,000 to Poker Machines

30 August 2002

AUSTRALIA – As reported by the (Australia) Herald Sun: "Meet Victoria's schoolboy pokies addict.

"The 17-year-old has lost an estimated $30,000 (US$16,517) playing poker machines in the past two years.

"Year 12 Bialik College student Danielos Digaletos says he has squandered almost every cent he can get his hands on at the Tabcorp-operated Bentleigh Club.

"…Danielos - who was 16 the first time he played a poker machine - says he has only once been asked to show proof of age.

"The teenager, who rides his BMX bike from home to the club after school, financed his pokies habit using earnings from a part-time job and cash from bar mitzvah gifts.

"During one five-hour stint he says he gambled away $500 and was encouraged to continue playing by staff he knows on a first-name basis.

"…`They greet me with a smile every time. I could stay in there for hours. I've been there hundreds of times. Every staff member would know my face.'

"…Danielos became hooked during his first visit to a racetrack pokie parlour as a 16-year-old in November 2000.

"…Danielos even considered putting himself on the self-exclusion list until he realised he wasn't old enough for eligibility. He turns 18 in November.

"…Angry anti-gambling crusader the Rev Tim Costello called on pokies industry bosses to pay back the $30,000…"

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