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Blake banned himself from gaming venues, but he lost another $300,000 through online casinos

Luna Ramsay

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Blake Barnard had already banned himself from pubs, clubs and casinos when he lost another $300,000 on the pokies.

Through his mobile phone, he had entered the world of online casinos, which are illegal in Australia.

"I didn't have to actually physically go anywhere," he says.

"You can do it anytime, anywhere. On a bus, at the pub, having dinner with friends, in the bath. You can even fall asleep gambling in your bed."

The offshore casino industry is flourishing, and increasingly accepting bets in cryptocurrency.

It was crypto that allowed Mr Barnard, 42, to keep on gambling even after his bank stopped processing deposits into his casino account.

His favoured site, Luckystar, emailed him after noticing "a few failed deposits on your end". 

"For the time being I would suggest you try using your Visa or Crypto," a casino staff member wrote.

Mr Barnard discovered his bank still allowed him to invest in crypto, which he then immediately poured into virtual slot machines.


In total, he estimates he lost roughly $150,000 of his own money and another $150,000 that belonged to his mother, a pensioner with multiple sclerosis, through two gambling sites.

"It's not illegal for you to gamble online. It's just illegal for the companies overseas to offer you to gamble online," he says.
"I've had some deep moments of depression and thoughts of self-harm.
"I mean, how do you reconcile with yourself, losing $300,000? It's insane."

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