My name is Tom Cummings. I’m a 44 year old father of three beautiful girls. I live in the east of Victoria, work in Melbourne’s CBD, and for years of my life, I was addicted to the pokies. I blew thousands upon thousands of dollars on the infernal machines, and caused immeasurable pain to so, so many people. Since breaking away from the pokies, I spent a decade ignoring them, and the gambling industry in general… but two years ago I woke up, took a look at what was going on and realised I couldn’t ignore it any longer.
I am not anti-pokies, or anti-gambling. I may hate poker machines but I do not advocate shutting down the industry. What I am is a firm believer in gambling reform, and that is my agenda.
Cyenne.com is my place. The opinions here are my own. I speak to many people in and about the gambling industry, but ultimately what I write here starts and ends with me. I hope you can find something of value in what I have to say.
Names aren’t important here. One of the key principles I want to maintain with this site is the right to privacy; you’ll never need to supply your real name to access this site. There’s a social stigma attached to problem gambling, the general public doesn’t seem to understand how or why someone could end up with a gambling problem, and even reformed gamblers tend to stay very quiet about their past. Hopefully that will change, but it will take time.
I started gambling as a young man, in my mid twenties. The pokies were my poison of choice, and over a number of years I threw away close to $100,000. I also threw away my self respect, my state of mind and several relationships with people who had been very close to me.
I quit gambling, but not because I wanted to, and not surprisingly I was back within a month. I quit again, at the same time as I lost everything in my life that was important to me at the time, and this time I thought I’d kicked it for good. Yet a couple of years later, when the circumstances of my life changed drastically, I fell back off the wagon and back into the habit as easily as you like. But I managed to kick the habit one last time, and this time I believe it’s for good.
Right now, I’ve been pokie-free for over 13 years. Not a bad effort! And yet I still see myself as a poker machine addict, with the difference being that I’m not a practicing addict. Not any more. I still feel the pull, the temptation, but I’ve learnt to resist. I’ve re-discovered what’s important in my life, and I’ll never risk that again.
Now, I’m the kind of guy who thinks about things a lot, who tries to make sense of why things happen and find the reasons behind my actions. I’ve been thinking about my habit and how I kicked it for many years now, and I’d like to share my thoughts with you. Hopefully you’ll be able to find something here that can help you, or at least provide some perspective.