Hundreds of Compulsive Gamblers in Iceland

Vala Hafstað

Nine years ago, Guðrún underwent treatment for compulsive gambling, after having financially ruined her family, using slot machines and gambling online. She states the slot machines were love at first sight: “The environment, the sounds of the machines – there was so much that I found enchanting. While playing, I relaxed completely. I called it being in a state of nirvana; I felt a connection with myself through the slot machine.”

For a long time, Guðrún managed to hide her unpaid bills from her family – first by always being at home when the mailman arrived and then by renting a P.O. Box. She would play for a minimum of 2-3 hours a day. In the end, she owed a number of people money, having lost between ISK 30 and 50 million.

The treatment did her good, and she is now able to help others who are battling gambling addiction.

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