Gambling rehab centre getting more calls

PHOTO: Gambling rehab centre getting more calls

PETALING JAYA - The final whistle has been blown. Now come the calls. Troubled punters are seeking help from the Gamblers Rehab Centre, with calls increasing several fold.

The number of calls to the centre has doubled to about 10 daily, compared to three or four a day prior to the game.

"Normally, gamblers sell their houses or cars to settle their debts."

"They will never stop finding money to cover their debts as long as they continue to gamble," the centre told The Star yesterday.

It said gamblers tend to fall into a vicious cycle and end up borrowing money from loan sharks, friends and have credit card debts.

Some also end up being suicidal and saw their marriages hit the rocks, said the centre.

"Even children of gamblers are affected. We have seen children of gamblers go to bed hungry and turn to gambling like their parents when they grow up.

"They are also forced to give up any chance of obtaining a good tertiary education," the centre said.

On suicide cases due to gambling debts, the centre said it was currently handling a case of a man who jumped off a building but survived the fall.

The centre urged the Government to monitor gambling activities in Malaysia which was a problem faced by all races.

Those who want the centre's help, can call its hotline at 017-238 1900.

In George Town, five women were among World Cup 2014 punters who sought help from or were referred to the centre's Northern Chapter by their family members to kick their gambling addiction.

The centre's counsellor, Peter Lee, said they were among about a dozen people who turned to the non-profit community care centre for help since the World Cup began in mid June.

He said the parents of a university student also approached the centre to get their child to kick the habit.

Lee noted that in the 2010 World Cup, no women sought the centre's help

Gambling addicts can call the centre's hotline 017-2381900 or 03-90582977 for the Klang Valley or 016-4225632 for the northern states, he said.

Agape Counselling Centre counsellor Earnest Chiam said gamblers must first recognise that they have made a mistake and be responsible in solving the problem, adding that they have to be honest with their family members.