Stories of People Obssessed with Gambling

His relationship with his parents, friends, and even girlfriends crumbled as his obsession with gambling grew. His savings account dwindled to nothing. He embezzled $96,000 from the stock brokerage where he worked, then wrote $100,000 in bad checks. Even his arrest, jail time, and then subsequent placement under house arrest didn’t deter him.
“I still went to Atlantic City with ankle bracelet on,” he said from the inpatient treatment center where he was being treated an for his pathological gambling. “Nothing mattered to me but gambling.”
—” Scott,” New York

Bob and Robin C. sent their middle child off to college with high hopes. Rann was a state speech champion who graduated from high school in Kalispell, Montana. During his freshman year at Montana State University, they thought all was well with Rann. It was not. His first extended time away from home left him feeling isolated and lonely. He found relief by playing video keno.

Virtually overnight, he was hooked. Within months he had pawned almost all his possessions to gamble. He was forced to live out of his car. His parent remained in the dark until they discovered that Rann had been forging checks from their checking account. And until they found rifles, skis, and other belongings missing from their home. Rann had pawned them for gambling money.

Bewildered by their son’s behavior and at a loss as to how to help. Bob and Robin decided on a “tough love” approach. They called the authorities, who placed Rann in jail, and then in a pre-release program. During the months in pre-release, Rann was allowed to work. When he completed his sentence, he was given the $2,500 he had earned during that time. Within a few days, Rann had gambled it away. Then he stole and pawned a VCR belonging to his employer. He was caught and sentenced again, this time for seven months.

Rann has begged for help for this “devil” that has tormented him. But the state of Montana, which profits handsomely from the losses of problem and pathological gamblers, does not offer help for compulsive gambling. Rann’s parents are attempting to locate professional help and to find the resources to pay for that help. Without it, they fear greatly for Rann’s future.
—” The C. Family,” Kalispell, Montana

Debbie had never been to a casino. So, shortly after casinos opened in nearby Black Hawk and Central City, Colorado, Debbie suggested to her husband that they make the hour trek from their Denver home. They enjoyed their first visit, then went again a few days later. The novelty quickly wore off for Debbie, a licensed professional counselor. Such was not the case for her husband. Before long, he was visiting the casinos four and five nights a week. Within three months of their initial visit, Debbie became aware that the couple would have to file for bankruptcy. Her husband had lost close to $40,000 in those three months— losses their combined income of $3,000 per month could not sustain.

Still Debbie’s husband continued to gamble. Debbie filed for divorce, ending 17 years of marriage. Before his gambling problems, Debbie described her husband as a stable individual, an involved father with a strong work ethic. After gambling problems developed, Debbie found her husband virtually unrecognizable. There were episodes of domestic violence and bizarre behavior.

“The husband I divorced was not the husband that I married,” she said. “He’s a total stranger to me. He became a liar, he became a cheat, he became engaged in criminal and illegal activities.”
— “Debbie,” Denver, Colorado