Grew up with a father who spent food money and bills on gambling

Growing up was pretty hard,” he said.

“My family lost out on a lot of opportunities because he saw gambling as more important than providing for his family.”

Wikitera said his siblings went without meals, school trips and weren’t able to pay school fees as a result of the gambling.

On his 10th birthday his father gave him $50, but took the money back that afternoon.

His father gambled in all forms, from pokies to the TAB or “whatever he could get his hands on”.

Gambling was only part of the problem, which spread to include alcoholism, drug use and hanging out with bad crowds.