It's always sad to see one of the greats go down. Problem gambling is not common but it can hit anyone. And when it does it will bring you down.
Australian jockey Ben Melham was recently busted for placing bets on horse racing including at least two races he rode in. Racing Victoria claims he gambled more than AU$21,000 (US$13,567) on races. The charges span a six-month period starting March 2019, when Melham was out with an injury, through September 2019, when he resumed racing.
He and his girlfriend Karlie Dales were also charged with giving false statements to the authorities when questioned about it. They allege that Melham put his own money into a Dales online gambling account in order to place the bets.
A total of seven charges brought against Melham include winning AU$500 (US$323) on an unplaced horse called Venezuela at Sandown in March while injured, wagering 20 bets through Dales’ account totaling AU$14,600 (US$9,432) after his initial AU$3,000 ($1,938) deposit, and betting AU$2,500 (US$1,615) on a multi-bet that combined two legs.
The jockey is also charged with wagering AU$1,850 (US$1,195) on three horses at Sandown in July when he was known to be riding one of them. He also placed a bet through an associate that allowed Dales to bet on Orleans Rock at Geelong, the horse he was riding on September 1, 2019. Melham went on to win that race.
This all goes to show how bad problem gambling can be. Melham made more than enough money as a jockey to not need to place bets. And he certainly knew that doing so was against the law and he would lose his career if he was caught. Yet he obviously felt compelled to do it anyway.
We should all think about his case when we are gambling ourselves. At the first sign of a problem we should step back and take stock of what is going on in our lives. Then we should only return to gambling when we are back on our feet and sure of ourselves.