130129. Cape Town. Mr Cash from Mr Cash Loans in Voortrekker road Goodwood speaks to the Cape Argus about irresponsible gamblers who comes to his shop to pawn all their valuables for gambling money. Picture Henk Kruger/Cape Argus

Cape Town - Pawn shop owners say desperate gamblers pawn prized possessions such as wedding rings and family jewellery in exchange for money to gamble.

Leslie Cash, the owner of Mr Cash, a pawn shop in Voortrekker Road, Goodwood, said some people waited for the store to open so they could gamble before work.

“We try to advise them that they will lose their money but they say they want to win back money gambled away at GrandWest Casino.”

Cash added that some people had to go home to tell their spouse they gambled away their entire salary.

“Others don’t even have money to go home and need transport money.”

Another pawn shop owner, who declined to be named, said a woman entered her shop to pawn jewellery worth R9 000. “She pawned it for R1 500 cash. This woman and her family lost their home and two cars and are now renting a room.”

He said some people used their disability grants to gamble.

Baby Tyawa, CEO of the National Gambling Board, said research showed that 20 percent of the population gambled. More people were turning to online gambling or buying lottery tickets because it was more convenient, she said.

Karen Thomson, from Harmony Addictions Clinic, said there were more online gambling addicts being treated than casino gamblers.

Cape Argus