In 1998 Jane Pollard went into counselling for gambling addiction, she was only 19 at the time and had amassed over $4,000 in debts. It took Jane 8-years to over-come her addiction to gambling which would range from horse betting to playing roulette at the casinos.
In 2018, Jane published her online book, Want to Bet on it? Which discusses underage gambling and here we discuss with Jane Pollard, her work and thoughts about gambling now that she has fully recovered.
Interviewer: Thank you for joining us today Jane, your book Want to Bet on It? is an online publication can you tell us how this book got started and what your aims where at the beginning?
Jane Pollard: Hi, yes, Want to Bet on It? Started because I could see there was a social shift and change happening, where gambling was now more readily accessible and not just as a form of making money, but the concept of risk taking for reward. From movies to computer games and I wanted to highlight these factors that could very-well lead a child at a young age towards gambling, or possibly worse!
It has become evident that online gambling is now a trend, its now socially accepted and sponsorship for it is everywhere. Should kids become aware and able to access online gambling sites, and even though young, have the intellect to use their parents banking details and name to form an account to gamble, then it needs to be raised.
Interviewer: Can you tell us briefly how gambling effected your life?
Jane Pollard: Yes, it started when I was 17 and by 19, I was in counselling for it. At 17 I didn’t want a low paying job and back in the 90s no kid could earn a decent wage. I started gambling at more social events like horse racing and grey hound racing. No one would ask, I would just walk in and start making bets. If I thought the bookie looked like they might be awkward, I’d just say “my dad wants 10 on Lucky Shoes” or something like that.
Anyway once I was 18 I went to casinos and started hitting the games harder, roulette was my game of choice and I would win, but through winning more, I was also spending more and it lead to debts a 19-year-old can’t pay off, so I turned to prostitution to clear my debts and after, seek the help I needed.
Interviewer: Can you briefly talk about the concept of the book and how you approach writing for children on such a subject like this?
Jane Pollard: The approach was pretty much that I would have to talk about gambling like I was indeed talking to a five-year-old child.
The book begins with the concepts that surround gambling and the idea that you will be rewarded if you take risks. I have used simple images to convey what this means, and it also goes into mathematic. Once I have outlined what gambling is, the book then goes on to discuss the different types there are when it comes to games and this becomes a lot easier to write about because games and children go hand in hand.
Interviewer: Was there ever a point when you thought that this was perhaps too cautious and that it may make children want to gamble because of how inquisitive children can be.?
Jane Pollard: When writing any book on any subject you could question that if the material got into the hands of a child would they enact it out. I do not think my book would have the reverse effect because I depict in the animation very clearly the consequences of gambling and how it can go very wrong very quickly.
Interviewer: Thank you Jane.