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25 November 2010

Australian Charity Worker Gambling Addict Stole 1 Million + by Greg Tingle - 25th November 2010

Readers, punters, politicians, casino millionaires, billionaires, sports nuts, one and all. Problem gambling continues to hit the news headlines down under in Australia. We look at a situation where a Queensland based charity worker stole 1.5 million dollars to feed their habit. As a public service and in the spirit of being fair and balanced in our coverage of gaming and gambling we offer the facts Media Man and Gambling911 with the news you need to know, not necessarily what you want to hear...

More safeguards to protect consumers from the danger of being a gambling addict are likely required down under in Australia, if the recent trend of gambling over one's head continues.

Gambling is supposed to be an enjoyable activity, that provides entertainment, excitement, and a change to win big, but for an ever increasing amount of people it is bringing misery and negatives for their friends, associates and society.

This publication likes the idea of having a punt, but it needs to stay enjoyable. Please hear us dear readers.

An charity worker in Queensland nicked more than $1.5 million from a charity so he could feed his gambling addiction, a court heard.

Dinesh Enoka Abeysuriya, 29, stole the money over a 1 year duration from March 2009 while working in the finance department of Uniting Care Queensland, which was trading as Blue Care at the time.

The Brisbane District Court on Wednesday heard that Abeysuriya abused his position with the health-care charity to falsely inflate invoices, thus committing fraud and theft, from suppliers so he could skim large sums of money.

He also went on to process a number of invoices twice, legitimately paying the first lot to the supplier, making things look like business as usual, and pocketing the duplicated amount to feed his habit.

Prosecutor Jacob Robson advised by the time Abeysuriya's fraud was discovered he had stolen $1.53 million from the charity. That may be some kind of record in Australia.

The court was told Abeysuriya spent the money on internet sports gambling, his favorite, which also saw him overdraw his very own credit card by about $223,000.

Abeysuriya pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one count of aggravated fraud as an employee and one count of aggravated fraud.

He was remanded in custody until next week, when he will be sentenced.

The court was told he will return home to his native Sri Lanka after serving his sentence.

Other than charity workers, other type of occupations in Australia which reports conclude to have more problem gamblers than the average include people who work in casinos or places where one can gamble and professional sports people, usually NRL, AFL or cricket players Sports betting does involve some skill, such as knowing form, having inside tips and the like, but its a gamble none the less, where the outcome is unknown, and don't even get us started on sports betting scandals where some outcomes are understood to be fixed or "rigged". Life is a gamble, but don't take risks that you can not afford to lose.

Internet gambling - sports betting, poker, bingo and slots are all growth areas of e-commerce and gambling that continue to enjoy strong growth in Australia.

If gambling is becoming a problem for you please seek assistance.

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Wrap Up...

Readers... er, punters, how did you like our report? Do you think you or a friend might have a problem with gambling? Tell us in the forum.

If you have a bet, please bet with your head, not over it, and for God's sake, have fun.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming and offer political commentary and analysis.

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