Mother cashes in pension funds to cover son’s gambling fraud

Person pressing a _STOP_ button next to an _ADDICTION_ poster

The mother of a 16-year-old boy has taken out a new mortgage on her already paid-off home to cover her son’s A$100,000 gambling debts. [Image:]

The mother of a 16-year-old boy had to remortgage her previously paid-off home to pay off her son’s debts after he gambled for almost AU$100,000 (US$66,050) at local gambling establishments.

The Melbourne mother also had to cash out her pension fund and take on extra work to cover the costs.

Because of his age and unwillingness to stop gambling, no one could help

Although she reached out to various organizations and individuals to help her son last April – including Australian politician Ged Kearney and activist Tim Costello – no one could help because he was old and unwilling to stop gambling.

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission was alerted by the mother and has charged several gambling establishments. One such location was the Preston Hotel, which was fined A$15,000 (US$9,841). Because the slot machines were not properly monitored, the venue allowed the teenager to play for AU$2,500 (US$1,640) in May and September 2022.

A lawyer representing the Preston Hotel and its operator Ben Niall said the 16-year-old spent between two and five minutes betting the total amount, with individual bets ranging from AU$100 (US$65) to AU$760 (US$498).

The lawyer said the amount staked was small compared to other venues. However, Judge Carolyn Howe said it was the fact the boy could gamble any amount that enabled his addiction. She added that protecting young children was the responsibility of the venue operator.

Niall said after the verdict: “We can make a profit without having to exploit children.”


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