The Gambler: Simon Harris is a gambling addict and a thief convicted of stealing more than $2 million

Simon Harris is a father, a gambling addict and a thief convicted of stealing more than $2 million and punting it away on horse races.

At the peak of his misery, Harris was losing $15,000 a week and every dollar was stolen.

Simon Harris stole $2 million from clients to fuel his gambling addiction.Credit: 9News Perth

The 43-year-old blames no one but himself.

After spending 4½ years in a Perth prison, Harris has shared his story in 9News Perth podcast The Gambler, hoping he can help others caught in the grip of a gambling addiction.

“I know I’ve done wrong, and I will try to right that,” he said during a drive past some of the TAB outlets where his life unravelled.

“I was going to various TABs to effectively cover my tracks to prevent any patterns from being identified by family, friends, loved ones and TAB operators.”

Harris’ thirst for a punt can be traced back to his childhood. Studying the form guide was normalised at school, and at times encouraged by teachers who would ask him for tips at Ascot on a Saturday.

“My life became an ongoing cycle of drawing down loan accounts, taking money out, gambling every single day, sometimes up to $5000, $10,000, $15,000 a week,” Harris said.

“Sophisticated dishonesty” is how a judge would later describe Harris’ crimes as a commercial banker at St George Bank.

“The intent every time is not to steal, the intent is, ‘I’m taking so I can repay, so that I can win that jackpot’,” Harris said.

“I’m taking [client’s money] so that I can fix the problems, but they just got worse.”

This podcast contains references to suicide. If you or someone you know needs help call Lifeline 13 11 14. If you’re concerned about your gambling or someone else’s, call the Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858 for free and confidential support.

Source: theage.com.au

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