'Broke' shows impact of problem gambling in league

'Broke' shows impact of problem gambling in league

Former Kiwi rugby league hard man Mark Graham is getting behind his son's movie about the devastation that gambling causes elite sports stars.

Luke Graham wrote the script because of his personal experience.

"This was a story that people around me had been going through as well as many people in the media. I think, in the time we were developing the concept, there were multiple NRL players going through this issue."

It's still in the news. Kiwis league star Kieran Foran is currently denying allegations he's lost $75,000 at the TAB.

In the movie, fictional league superstar Ben Kelly ended up on the streets after losing everything because of a gambling addiction.

Former Kiwi international and former Warriors coach Mark Graham says he understands what hooks the players in.

"They still want to have that chance at glory to have the gumption to risk it all on that last throw, and that's the thing they have to learn not to do."

Mr Graham says it's a different world to when he was playing.

"I don't think anyone suffered from gambling addiction because we didn't have enough money in the first place."

New Zealanders spend $2 billion a year on gambling, most of it in 16,717 non-casino pokies.

The Problem Gambling Foundation says the film, Broke, will help people understand that even elite stars can become addicted.

"There is a lot of stress and pressure at that level in sport, so they use gambling as a way to escape that pressure," says Problem Gambling Foundation communications director Andree Froude.

Mark Graham and Luke are premiering the film tomorrow night at the Newmarket Rialto Cinemas in Auckland. They will be joined by Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney.

If you or anyone you know has a gambling addiction you can seek help at the Problem Gambling Foundation or the League 4 Life Foundation.

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