Newspaper Reporters Tread Lightly on Compulsive Gambling Addiction

By: howard keith

I am frequently contacted by reporters and television associate producers for information related to individuals with a gambling addiction.

In most cases they are looking for individuals to step forward and relate how their lives were impacted by the local gambling establishments. In a majority of cases, people are not willing to discuss what happened to them. They fear embarrassment from family and friends and or a chance that they could lose their employment.

I have shared my views with the reporters and associate producers, but I never ever hear that my information is shared with their viewers.

I was recently contacted by BET Nightly News and asked to help them locate people people's whose lives were affected by gambling. They were looking for people who lived in their geographic area. I found five individuals that met the criteria. In all cases they refused to discuss their own situation or allow someone to interview them.

I have been fortunate that I have been put in a position to hear what these people have to say and long as I agree and guarantee that their names would never be used I can share their situation.

I have shared these some of these situations with reporters and associate producers in hope the message would get out to the politicians. I heard from one politician that they were trying to pass a law to prevent people from using their credit cards to buy lottery tickets and scratch offs. At first I thought this was a joke. Lawmakers need to see the larger picture. People who want lottery tickets or scratch offs will get them with or with out a credit card.
People who live sixty miles or less are negatively impacted by the gambling establishments. Hasn't any lawmaker ever realized the Casinos grow very quickly in size due to the amount of money people lose. This is money that could be used to boost our economy.

If it were up to me the economy would improve quicker if Casino's were regulated just like alcohol establishments.

It's been about nine to ten years since the Casino's opened in Connecticut. People are no longer spending their money on local businesses or shopping malls.

They are spending their money at the gambling establishments.

The gambling establishment's operators are very greedy people. In some states they recently put in penny slots. This was to attract seniors and lower income families that and individuals living on Social Security and Pension. They do not care who they hurt or how many lives are destroyed. Should the politicians care?

I have asked reporters how come they do not disclose the direct relationship between the amount of growth a casino has and the amount of money lost by the people who gamble. What you do hear from reporters is the person who wins a million dollars. No mention that the gambling establishments take in more then a Million dollars a day from slots. It's this distorted view that sends people down the road to self destruction hoping to win big just once.

Compulsive gamblers who have had problems have asked the gambling establishment's to remove their name from there mailing list so the temptation would be less. The mail stopped and then during the holiday season they received two free vouchers for $400.00 and $100.00 to come and buy whatever they wanted from the stores. Then a few months later they started receiving free shows and other services being offered. They called and complained to the gambling establishments and said this was very inappropriate. The gambling establishment's stated it was an accident. Was it an accident or not? or was this another manipulation to get the gambler back?
The one thing I have learned is the gambling establishments to not discriminate. You have money they will say take it with a smile.

The political leaders love the revenues generated by the gambling establishments. This way they look good to the voters by not having to increase their taxes. Do the leaders care that the economy is being negatively affected? My prediction based on my knowledge and experience in this area is that in less then five years you will see the devastation caused by gambling establishments. This can be halted if people are educated and given the truth about this private addiction.

It's up to the people to take a stand and hopefully the political leaders will step up and back these people up.
I am hoping a survey will be done to track the gambling establishments affect on the community as a whole. Based on the statistics I have seen gambling addiction is on the rise and the economy is in trouble. Is there a relationship? The answer is yes.

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