Gambling Addiction

Latest victim of VLT addiction

The first time I met Pete was on a cold winter night at a doughnut shop on Sherbrooke St. W. Seated at the counter, several stools apart, we got into conversation. He was in his 30s, unemployed, but donating his time and skills to help in a project building homes for the needy in St. Henri. Over the next while, I often ran into him. He appeared to be a well-balanced young man who enjoyed composing songs on his guitar and at one time had envisioned a career in music. He owned a little red truck, which was old but was his pride and joy.

VLT addiction depletes widow's wealth

Marnie Hall's family knew she liked to play the VLTs.What they didn't know was how indebted she was.

When her son contacted the Montreal Gazette to propose his mother as a candidate for a financial makeover, he thought she owed $15, 000 on her credit cards.

As it turns out, Hall (not her real name) owes $30,000 on five cards charging interest of about 20 per cent, plus $73,000 on a line of credit taken out on the home she inherited 10 years ago.

"We had no idea," son Jason said.

A progressive addiction

HE STARTED gambling at 14. Poker mostly. Then he graduated to the racetrack.

From then on, he couldn't resist the drug-like rush he felt making a bet.

His compulsive gambling sent him on a downward spiral lasting 24 years and cost him his marriage, family, job and nearly his life. Along the way he spent time in jail and became addicted to painkillers and booze.

"When I get in a racetrack, everything goes."

Families call for inquiry over VLT suicides

Four months before an addiction to video lottery terminals led 31- year-old Susan Piercey to commit suicide, she wrote a letter to the machines while at a treatment centre in her hometown of Corner Brook, Nfld.

"I sold my soul to play your game, you never judged me, ever ready to accept my money," she wrote. "I have to let you go. You've hurt me more than anything or anyone in my life."

That was in March 2003. Two months later, she took an overdose of pills and was dead in a week.

Deadly gambling addictions to VLT machines

KEVIN NEWMAN: The government of Manitoba announcing a windfall today. Nearly $18 million in revenue from video lottery terminals are going to be used to fund things like libraries and arenas across that province. But this kind of government-sponsored gambling has a darker side to it as well. Here's Global National's Ross Lord.

ROSS LORD (Reporter): The message is familiar.

DON BISHOP (Father of Suicide Victim): They're insidious machines of mass destruction.