David Godfrey, 39, who pleaded guilty to obtaining services by deception, said he had bought the scratchcards in a desperate bid to pay off his debts.
Adrian Posta, for the prosecution, told Plymouth Crown Court that Godfrey applied for an American Express card in1997, giving incorrect personal details. Four months later he applied for it to be upgraded to a gold card.
Mr Posta said Godfrey, from Redhills, Exeter, falsely claimed on the application for the gold card that he earned pounds 35,000 with a company he had actually left two months before on a salary of pounds 13,500 a year.
The following year, statements showed use of the card was "prolific" at service stations around Exeter. In August there were up to 27 visits a day with transactions of pounds 50 a time - totalling pounds 33,661 before a block was put on the card.
When Godfrey was arrested in September last year, he said he had been using the card to obtain scratchcards.
David Steel, for the defence, said Godfrey was "a man out of control, acting in desperation, acting obsessively, looking for the big win".
He had undergone an acrimonious divorce, lost his house and his finances "deteriorated and deteriorated and deteriorated", Mr Steel said. "Now he turned to Camelot as the saviour of his finances and he set out in pursuit of a big win which would allow him to pay everyone off at a stroke."
Godfrey was now working as a doorman and had joined Gamblers Anonymous "He hasn't gambled since and has no intention of doing so," Mr Steel said. The court was told he had previous convictions for deception and handling stolen goods.