Gambling Addiction

Gambling quotes

"A gambler with a system must be, to a greater or lesser extent, insane." -- George Augustus Sala (1828-95) English writer and journalist

"Gambling: The sure way of getting nothing from something." -- Wilson Mizner

"Remember this: The house doesn't beat the player. It just gives him the opportunity to beat himself." -- Nicholas (Nick the Greek) Dandalos

"Casinos and prostitutes have the same thing in common; they are both trying to screw you out of your money and send you home with a smile on your face." -- VP Pappy

National Gambling Impact and Study Commission

Arnie & Sheila Wexler Associates

If you need help with a gambling problem,
call 1-888-LAST-BET

Tuesday, March 9 2004

I would like to thank the Commission for extending an invitation for me to address you on the subject of compulsive gambling.

When is gambling a problem?

For the majority of individuals, gambling is a form of recreation that does not lead to negative consequences. However, for a small percentage of the population, gambling can have a negative impact on their health, family, job, emotional state and financial situation.

I often get asked how someone can progress to being $10,000 in debt from playing a slot machine in a short period of time. Here is a fictitious scenario that outlines how this progression may come about:

Online poker addiction--a losing hand

More than half of Canadians think playing Internet poker for cash is unacceptable, a new Decima poll suggests. Fifty- six per cent were against such a pastime, one-quarter had no problem with it, and the rest fell somewhere in the middle.

The poll, one of the most detailed snapshots to emerge of gambling attitudes, suggests great unease about online casinos. It also reveals a spike in public concern about addiction and lax regulation in regions where video lottery terminals are widespread.

Responsibility for VLT addiction lies with the gambler

Once again, we see, in your investigation of video-lottery terminals, the continuation of an affliction that is becoming endemic in Canada, namely, a denial and abrogation of personal responsibility. Blaming a gambling addiction on the government is simply moving the blame and responsibility from the guilty party (the problem gambler) to the innocent (the government and society).