About Gambling Addiction and Does Self-Ban From Casinos Work?

We all know that old saying; “if want something bad enough you will find a way to get” and that is certainly true when you are talking gambling addiction.

So, you decide you are going to “BAN” yourself from a casino so you can STOP GAMBLING. Well, does this really work? Well, not from my personal ridiculous experiences . . . .

But first, shouldn’t we be educated about a what gambling addiction is? And is it really just fun and games? For many affected, NO, it is not and they will try anything to STOP!

 

WHAT IS GAMBLING ADDICTION?

Here is what my good friends of the National Council for Problem Gambling  define’s this addiction.

Problem gambling–or gambling addiction–includes all gambling behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family or vocational pursuits. The essential features are increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, “chasing” losses, and loss of control manifested by continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of mounting, serious, negative consequences. In extreme cases, problem gambling can result in financial ruin, legal problems, loss of career and family, or even suicide. And again, have no sense or fear of consequences from the destruction they are causing.

Isn’t Problem and Addicted Gambling a Financial Problem?

No. Problem gambling is an emotional problem that has financial consequences. If you pay all of a problem gambler’s debts, the person will still be a problem gambler. The real problem is that they have an uncontrollable obsession with gambling. But, in order to recover, the gambler needs to be willing to accept and surrender to the fact that he or she is in the grip of a progressive illness and has a desire to get well and stop gambling.


Isn’t Problem Gambling Really the Result of weak or financially irresponsible people?

No. Many people who develop problems have been viewed as responsible and strong by those who care about them. Precipitating factors often lead to a change in behavior, such as retirement or job-related stress.

The number one gambling addiction fact that you should know is that gambling is NOT just a financial problem. Some problem gamblers do not have financial issues even though they may lose money gambling. Gambling is an emotional issue where a person feels the need to gamble to alleviate stress or because they feel a certain type of euphoria when they gamble. Gambling is an obsession that can take over your life if you let it go too far, this can lead to the loss of relationships, jobs, and, yes, finances, but the issue behind compulsive gambling is not financial, it is emotional.


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For me, gambling became a way for me to cope, escape, and numb old feelings that came back to haunt me of what I went through as a little girl in my early childhood, then into a teen and on into adulthood. And even though 12-Step programs and support tell us we can arrest the addiction and recover, I myself disagree from a “treatment” standpoint. In order for me to reach full recovery, I had to process all the “old” in a healthy manner of all the uderlying issues before I was able to grasp a well-balanced recovery and make it into long-term recovery.

As I am a firm believer in doing the “inner work” within ourselves is just as important as learning the skills, tools, and being educated about the disease. So I do 12-step meetings, but I do them for support and to be with others who understand this addiction and be of service to others.

IF you think you have a gambling problem? I always suggest to people that a great place to start is to stop by  Gamblers Anonymous ~ 20 Questions and answer HONESTLY their 20 Questions and it will give you a good view if you have a problem and need help.

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Now About Self-Banning or Self Exclusion: What Is This?

Now keep in mind, each STATE in the US may have their own rules and policies about this option to help someone stop gambling and harm. So for an example, I currently live in the State of Arizona so I will share this STATE’S options as there as Indian Tribe Casinos all over this state, so people have many options and ACCESS to GAMBLE.

Here is what my friends at Arizona Dept. of Problem Gambling say about  Self Ban:

Self-Exclusion or Self-Ban is a process that allows a person to request to be banned from all Indian Gaming Facilities within the State of Arizona and to be prohibited from collecting any winnings, recovering any losses, and the use of any of the services or privileges of the facility.  You can choose either a one-year, five-year, or ten-year exclusion.  This exclusion is irrevocable and cannot be altered or rescinded for any reason during the selected time period on the form.

How Do I Exclude Myself?

There are a number of ways you can go about excluding yourself. You can download the exclusion form found on this site, fill it out, have it notarized and mail it to the Department of Gaming along with a current photo of yourself. Please note: The self-exclusion will not be processed without proper notarization and a current photo. We can accept the photo electronically via email but we must have the original, notarized self-exclusion form sent to this office.

You may also come to the office to complete the entire self-exclusion process which includes meeting with the self-exclusion administrator who will discuss the program, notarize the form and take your photo as well as give you additional resources for problem gambling.

Please click on the FAQ link to the right for more information.  Questions & Answers on Self Ban  . . . .

Many casinos and states are also trying to help by offering these additional Ban Services as well:

The self-exclusion procedures and the self-exclusion forms are in a PDF format. To obtain a free copy of Adobe Reader, click here.

Download a copy of: Self-Exclusion Procedures; Self-Exclusion Form

BAN YOURSELF FROM USING ATMS AT MANY CASINOS

The Everi STeP program allows you to exclude yourself from using ATMs at over 1000 gambling locations.

Automated Systems America, Inc. (ASAI) can also assist in blocking ATM transactions in some Arizona casinos.

BAN YOURSELF FROM INTERNET GAMBLING

Gamblock prevents access to internet gambling sites.

Please make sure you visit their Q&A Facts page about more questions of Self Ban and Exclusion, you will find it Helpful….

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The Interesting and Comical Side of Gambling and Self-Ban:

Now, of course, I will KEEP in perspective that gambling is something many people do from time to time. But for others, it becomes an obsession, and they risk losing their livelihoods and much more because of the affliction, THAT IS NOT Funny.

But I have been sitting in the rooms of AA and Gamblers Anonymous a long time, and also when I was in treatment twice in our weekly group meetings. I can tell you I heard all sorts of stories about others who did try the self-ban from casinos. Now I never had the nerve to self-ban from the only Indian Casino 41 miles North of my home in So. Oregon where I lived at the time of my deep gambling addiction. But I have heard many stories from other women who did.

Needless to say, many told of them disguising themselves with make-up, wigs, sun glass’s and the like to hide their identity from the guards. and praying they didn’t hit a BIG jackpot for an attendant to have to come and pay them out or they would be Kicked Out! To me? That is living on the far off the edge! BUT? “If you want something bad enough?” ….

I have had many stories through the years of good and bad about self-banning, but here is a place and website I came across with stories that are both Postive and Negatives of gamblers who self-banned and gambled anyway on Psych Forums-Gamblers Banned I think you need to read. Here is one person’s experience:

“In the US it doesn’t work well. My wife signed the self-exclusion in all local casinos but she is able to play in all of them. One time she was playing, I told security that how come they let her plays when she signed self-exclusion, they immediately kicked her out. But casinos are businesses, and none of them will say no to FREE money. There is no real penalty for letting people who self-excluded play so why should they enforce it? I was considering suing them but all lawyers I contacted said that I can’t win.”

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I hope you have found this to be helpful information and informative. I know I have never written and shared much on Self-Banning and I find it interesting. I think for my own addiction, it most likely would NOT have helped me as I am a type of person that would find another way to “Get What I Wany.”  And self-ban could just backfire as of some other horrific stories I heard as in the rooms as well. Having access to NO MONEY to a gambler can make them turn to criminal acts. Yes, I heard some stories about this as well.

And this I DO have my own personal experience as I wrote about it in my current book, “Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.” And part of my title of my Memoir: “Confessions” was my way of taking accountability and ownership of the poor choices I made and the people I had hurt when I was gambling and deep within my disease.

We are only “as sick as our SECRETS” so I wrote and shared most all of what I’d DONE in a public forum within my book to hopefully help others and may they learn just far this cunning, sick and progressive addiction will take you! Here are some signs to look for if you suspect a loved one may have a gambling problem. Visit my friend’s page at  Addictions.com for more information and helpful treatment and support options …

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Any addiction causes highs and lows in a person, and gambling addiction is no exception. According to the NLM, here are some psychological signs of gambling addiction:

  • “Feeling bad after you gamble, but not quitting”
  • Feeling guilty for spending time away from your family or hurting them, but not quitting
  • “Always thinking about gambling”
  • Believing that gambling is not a problem for you, or avoiding thinking about how much time and money you actually spend on gambling

Gambling addiction does become a compulsion, and it is easier not to think about it than it is to soberly consider the repercussions of gambling on your life. Addictions.com

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**Presented by Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author of  “Addicted To Dimes” **

 

Guest Article About Gambling The Addiction & Our Addicted Brain.

ARE WE ONE STEP CLOSER TO A CURE?

Gambling addicts have ‘WEAKER’ brains – just like alcoholics and drug addicts, scientists discover

Experts at Imperial College London hope their discovery that gambling triggers two key areas of the brain, will lead to new treatments- 3rd January 2017

Another Holiday Guest Article. The Meyer Family Support Him As Media Spins His Gambling Addiction & Prison.

Happy Holidays and Welcome Recovery Friends,

 

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So The Media Portrays a Father and Husband  Like THIS:

 

“Day of Reckoning for Crooked Accountant”

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“A Long Island accountant may spend up to 13 years in prison for stealing a total of nearly $800,000 from clients, including some victims who were ill or disabled.”

Scott Meyer, 48, of Seaford, is a former partner of the Johnson and Meyer accounting firm in Huntington. He was sentenced in Suffolk County court to serve four and one-third to 13 years in prison Tuesday. Meyer had pleaded guilty to 24 criminal counts, including grand larceny, in March.

“By carefully choosing his victims to prey on their vulnerabilities, he used his skill as an accountant to steal over $800 thousand dollars and kept the thefts undetected for over five years,” said Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota.” Following his conviction earlier this year, an attorney reportedly blamed Meyer’s behavior on a gambling addiction caused by a brain lesion.”

 

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So, the Meyer Family have come together to support Scott and his recovery from gambling addiction this holiday season with the fine folks and excellent resources of the National Council on Problem Gambling. It is why I chose them as my guest article. It’s important to know “the other side” of this story, not just what the news media spins.

They want to advocate that this can happen to anyone. That includes myself as I shared my criminal and consequences of my of my own “stupid thinking and choices” in my book. And yes, I paid high consequences like Scott but didn’t go to prison as he did. Here is what The Meyer Family want you to know about Scott, how many are supporting Scott in prison, and the folks of the national council are helping him and the family through this loss from addicted gambling and giving to them support through Holidays .  .  .  .

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THE MEYER FAMILY SHARES THEIR STORY TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT GAMBLING ADDICTION AND ITS CONSEQUENCES.
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Kim Meyer and her five children live in a small Long Island community, in the home where she and her high school sweetheart/husband Scott built a full and happy life together over the last 27 years. They co-funded a business, Scott coached the kids’ sports teams, and both were involved in their community, schools, and church. Scott is now serving a 4½ – 13-year prison sentence for grand larceny and forgery, for using clients’ funds to chase more than $500,000 in gambling losses.

With New York state recently legalizing online gambling and preparing to build several new casinos in 2017, Kim has decided to go public with their private nightmare, to help raise awareness about gambling addiction and reduce the stigma that persists – lessons she and her family learned through painful personal experience.

Kim’s daughters created this video to raise awareness and let their dad know how much they love and support him.

As Kim tells it, Scott began gambling many years ago for fun, as the vast majority of people do without any negative consequences. For Scott, the fun quickly escalated to a problem. He exhibited symptoms of pathological gambling – symptoms that often go unnoticed by family and friends.

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“Unfortunately, gambling is rarely viewed as a disease in society, as drug and alcohol are,” says Kim. “Instead it is seen as a moral issue and a choice. The criminal justice system is ill informed and prosecutors refused to consider gambling addiction as the explanation for how a smart, loving, hard-working man could sabotage his life and that of his family.”

After Scott was arrested, his doctor recommended a neurological workup, complete with MRI’s. He was found to have bilateral white matter brain tumors, which cause behavioral and cognitive changes such as poor insight, lack of impulse control and poor judgment.

“Further proof that addiction is not a choice, not a character flaw, and not a moral issue,” Kim notes. “In spite of an addiction and underlying brain impairment, Scott went to jail. We are lost without him.”  Scott primarily gambled at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT, and from 2008 to 2013, he lost in excess of $300,000 on slot machines there alone. No casino staff discussed his high losses and other behaviors with him or contacted his family. Instead, they continue to send him promotional mailings with special offers to draw him back.

“To be clear: I am in no way suggesting that Mohegan Sun is responsible for my husband’s gambling disorder, or his physical disability,” says Kim. “What I would like to see, however, is for casinos to use a very small amount of their profits to help raise awareness and to protect others by instituting some simple safeguards, such as:

  • Use casino reward card tracking systems, not just to make offers to entice gamblers to continue gambling, but to identify problem gamblers and reach out to them and their families;
  • Work with gaming industry leaders and state and national gambling prevention groups to create state certification programs that train casino employees to recognize problem gamblers, to identify people who are obviously in trouble, and to offer assistance. As a bartender is required to stop serving a problem drinker, so too should casino employees know when to intervene;
  • Take identified problem gamblers like Scott off their promotional mailing lists;
    Provide 1% – 2% of their profits to support organizations that offer treatment and other assistance for problem gamblers and their families.

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    In spite of extensive evidence of his medical problems and his addiction; being in treatment and rehabilitation for two years; having a new job with a boss willing to testify on his behalf; another judge who was an expert on gambling addiction willing to testify for him; and his steady paying off of bills and beginning to make restitution to his victims; the judge believed that Scott “should have simply stopped when he realized his gambling was a problem” and found him guilty. Kim continues to work with attorneys to get Scott released as soon as possible so he can continue his treatment and recovery, and continue paying back his debts.

    “Our family made the decision to share our story and to work side by side with the National Council on Problem Gambling, as well as the New York and Connecticut state councils in an effort to change things for the better. I have faith that together we can encourage gaming executives to increase their commitment to helping families like ours, and save others from this destruction. It’s a promise I’ve made to my children – that something good can come from this.”

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    Happy Holidays All ~ Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author/Columnist.

Last Guest Post Rounding Out Our Series of The Oregon Lottery-Forprofit Gambling. Who Is It Costing?

Last Guest Post Rounding Out Our Series of The Oregon Lottery-Forprofit Gambling. Who Is It Costing?

Hello and Welcome Back Recovery Friends,

I thought I would end my series of “Exposing The Oregon Lottery” a for-profit legal gambling sponsored by the State of Oregon. They have many online services like Keno, video poker, slot machines, along with all the other retail products they sell like scratch tickets and Powerball and other drawings. For me, it was a life changing experience to have for gambling machines to be practically everywhere you went. Bars, Taverns, Restaurants, even the grocery stores.

So I happen to be asked to share how or where did I gamble the most to become addicted by ” Keys To Recovery Newspaper, Inc..” They are a free recovery publication that has thousands of subscribers and is placed in many Addiction/Recovery conferences “Welcome bags” nationally all year long. They started a new column called; “QUIT To Win” about problem gambling and gambling addiction and recovery to raise more awareness of this growing disease. So here is my story of how I started gambling every day many times a day on “The Oregon Lottery” video machines, besides at Indian Casinos. . . . .

“QUIT To WIN” ~ Keys to Recovery

“I can still remember the day I learned about “Flush Fever” a video poker game sponsored by ‘The State of Oregon Lottery’ as it was just yesterday.”

I became aware of the video poker game “Flush Fever” that is on video machines sponsored by “The Oregon Lotteries Forprofit” gambling. My husband and I lived in So. Oregon for over 26 years before moving to Arizona in 2013 and where we live now. These poker machines are how I got my start into problem gambling, and slowly crossed into a full-blown gambling addiction, as we know this illness is a slow progressive addiction.

I wrote about this in my current book titled; “Addicted to Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.” Here is an excerpt of my book about this part of my gambling history. The Oregon Lottery for-profit gambling has devastated many lives and has torn many families apart. They introduced video poker machines in most bars, lounges, restaurants and even all these little “lottery retail deli’s.” Here is how I got hooked, then graduated to include Indian Casinos everywhere.

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– An Excerpt from My Book titled;  “FLUSH FEVER”

After a visit to Oregon with my parents, my best friend, Debbie, who had lived next door to me in California for many years, decided to move to Oregon after her visit. She moved up and stayed with us until she got settled at her new job. A few year’s prior, the state of Oregon passed a for-profit gambling bill to allow video poker machines in places that served food, such as bars, taverns, delis, and even most restaurants. The lottery already had Keno games online. For my addiction, that was a downfall for me as soon I started compulsively gambling later. It was so accessible and everywhere.

If you live in Oregon, you know what I mean. If you think about it, gambling is socially accepted. It’s pretty much everywhere you go – even in our children’s schools, with raffles, casino fundraisers, in our churches with bingo, and at our gas stations, markets and grocery stores with Megabucks, Powerball, Mega-Millions drawings, and scratch-off ticket machines. So, for an addicted gambler, it seemed “action” was everywhere, and when you’re addicted, you have no self-control. You feel as though you’re always teetering on a high wire.

When the state approved the video poker machines, the machines also popped up everywhere. Why drive to Las Vegas, Reno or Lake Tahoe, or go to an Indian casino, when you can go up the street to gamble? In the town where I lived, there were lottery retailers everywhere around town disguised as delis and, as long as they served food and soft drinks, they could have up to six poker machines in their stores. They also sold beer, wine coolers and the cheapest cigarettes in town. They offered all types of lottery services and games.

As my husband continued working out-of-town for the next several months, this left lots of time on my hands, and with my friend Debbie staying with me, she and I would often have lunch at one of these delis. Around the same time, she and I would take weekend trips to the Indian casino, or go to the deli for lunch a lot more often. As that year went by, I also noticed I’d spend a little more money than I should have. I believe it was because of the easy access to gambling, and too much time on my hands. Was I addicted at this point? Hardly. That would soon change, though. As I look back now, I was experiencing a few “red flags” of addiction, but not recognizing them. I remember having growing feelings of excitement before I went, knowing I’d get to gamble if we met for lunch at the deli, or if we were going to the Indian casino.

The only thing I did was play Keno if we went at our local deli. I had never played the new video poker machines there, which were operated by the state lottery. One day, in early 1998, Deb and I went to have our usual lunch at the deli on a Saturday. We started talking to four retired gentlemen, who were also having lunch and playing Keno while they ate. One of them finished his lunch and went on the other side of the deli playing one of the video poker machines, so I walked over to watch him play. He was winning. He had about $140 worth of credits on his poker machine. I asked him how much of that money did he start with to win? He said “only $10,” and he cashed out that $140.

Well, you don’t have to tell a person like me who used to work in a bank how much profit he’d made so far. He was playing a game called “Flush Fever,” and explained how the game worked. I think that’s the day my life changed. The machine next to him was open, so I sat next to him and put in only $5 and won $45. I thought, ‘Wow, that sure was easy money.’ So, I cashed out my ticket, sat back down next to him and played again. I started with $ 10 – it was a quarter game, so I increased my bet to 75 cents a hand. The machine started paying again. See, it’s the allure of the game and thinking you’re winning every time you play. That’s why winning, for an addicted gambler, is just as bad as losing. It will keep a person’s ass on that chair gambling. The same with chasing your loss.

As I was playing, the guy next to me got up and was getting ready to leave. For as long as I live, I will always remember what happened next: He leaned over my shoulder and said to me, “When you’re ahead, always cash out, and know when to leave with their money, because I’d hate myself if you got hooked on these machines.” Oh, if only I had listened to his sage wisdom. I still look back today, all these years later, and I remember what that man said to me. He never knew how that day changed my life because I never saw him there again. He never knew my story of how I became a gambling addict. . . . .


“The cruelest lies are often told in silence.” ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat) by [Townsend-Lyon, Catherine]

“Editorial Review”

By Author, Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin PhD., Best Selling Author.

“Pathological Gambling is a more serious problem than most people realize.”Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon’s honest accounting of rejection and abandonment issues, verbal and sexual abuse, stress and anxiety, family dysfunction, relationship and communication problems, self-esteem issues, guilt and shame issues, and addiction are extremely powerful! She shows just why many individuals turn to, and are set up for addiction. Her tell-all style of writing was like listening to a friend tell you their life story. Not everyone has an “angelic childhood.”

This book is about in-depth healing, love, overcoming, rising above, and being your brother’s and sister’s keeper. This is a must read for anyone in the addiction treatment industry, and anyone suffering from problem gambling or family members who have problem gamblers in the family.

This book should remind us all not to believe the lies of addiction or others in the gambling industry. Remember that we all have a purpose, a place, and a right to be without gambling in our lives!”

“A great read and I highly recommend this one!”

Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D., DCC, DDV, DD, NCIP, IMAC. Best-Selling Author, Editor, Publisher, Speaker,Coach, Consultant, Addiction Expert as seen on FoxNews, ABC, NBC.

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Part Three of our ‘Oregon Lottery For-Profit Gambling Awareness’ Series. Courtesy of The Oregonian News.

“Oregon Lottery: Lawmakers, counting on the cash, resist reforms”


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By Harry Esteve | hesteve@oregonian.com

Rep. Carolyn Tomei  (in 2013) was finally getting traction on reining in the Oregon Lottery.

The 77-year-old Democrat, who represents Milwaukie and a wedge of Southeast Portland, had spent years fighting for tighter controls on state-sponsored gambling, angered by the lives it ruins and the Legislature’s see-no-evil complicity.

She poured it on during the 2013 legislative session, rounding up experts and recovering addicts to talk about the lottery’s swath of destruction. She gathered support for bills that would require the agency to hire a problem-gambling specialist and to scale back its “maximize revenue” mission.

She found an ally in House Speaker Tina Kotek, who went after the lottery’s lax rules on “delis” that offer video slot and poker machines and little else. “Some lottery retailers operate as de facto casinos,” Kotek, a Democrat who represents North Portland, testified at a House committee hearing.

Tomei, who chaired the House Human Services Committee, also won strong backing from her vice chair, Clackamas Republican Bill Kennemer, a counselor who has seen the damage of gambling addiction up close.

Things were looking up for Tomei. But she was about to learn a hard lesson about power, money and a state agency’s ferocious will to protect itself. When all was said and done, Tomei landed in a place she never imagined.

If Oregon has political sacred cows, count the lottery as part of the herd. Despite years of hand-wringing by policymakers, from the governor on down, the state’s multibillion-dollar gambling enterprise has done little but GROW.

Lottery revenue timeline

” Revenue from the Oregon Lottery’s “traditional games,” such as scratch-off tickets and Megabucks, has remained relatively flat over the years, while profits from video slot and poker machines has soared. Roll over the dots to see key events in the lottery’s history.”

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A generation after Oregon voters agreed to allow scratch tickets and number-picking games, video lottery machines blink and jingle in bars, restaurants and strip malls across the state. Colorful slot games, known in casino circles as the “crack cocaine of gambling,” hook growing ranks of problem gamblers.

Yet with the lottery pumping more than a half-billion dollars a year into the state’s general fund, few are willing to touch it. Lottery officials say the games offer harmless entertainment while raising millions of dollars for schools, parks, and big construction projects. Critics call it a pathway to addiction.

Les Bernal, head of the national anti-lottery group Stop Predatory Gambling, says that when he gives talks about the harm caused by state-run gambling, he often ends with a slide of the Oregon Lottery’s good-luck logo.

“During the Greatest Generation, we had posters of Rosie the Riveter,” Bernal says. Outside military recruitment, he says, “the dominant voice of government today is urging citizens to lose money.”

“We’ve gone from a biceps flex to two crossed fingers.”

Scratch tickets to slots

In the grip of a recession that saw dozens of timber mills close and home values tank, Oregonians voted in 1984 to create the Oregon Lottery to raise money for economic development. The constitutional amendment called on the lottery to operate “so as to produce the maximum amount of net revenues” but added the phrase “commensurate with the public good.”

Scratch tickets and Megabucks rolled out in 1985. Six years later, the Legislature gave the nod to video poker, setting in motion the spread of machines in taverns, diners and thinly disguised delis. Along the way came Keno drawings every four minutes, sports wagering (later eliminated) and multi-state games such as Powerball with the potential for huge jackpots.

Among the earliest to sound the alarm against the state’s growing dependence on gamblers was Gov. John Kitzhaber. Early in his first term, he convened a task force to study the impact of gambling. The task force, led by then-Attorney General Ted Kulongoski and Peter Bragdon, who later became Kulongoski’s chief of staff, warned that the lottery was doing just fine on the “maximize revenues” part but was addicting too many players to claim it was balancing the “public good.”

Kulongoski and Bragdon teamed up to write a withering condemnation of state-run gambling as a way to fund state programs. “States that rush to raise revenues from gambling without thinking more than we did are playing a potentially addictive game of chance,” they wrote in a 1996 Op-Ed piece published in The New York Times.

But the biggest expansion since video poker came after Kulongoski took over as governor. Seeking a dedicated revenue source for state police, Kulongoski acquiesced to pressure to add “line games” — electronic slot machines — to the lottery’s video offerings. The first slot game was introduced in 2005, and lottery revenues soon soared. A year later, revenue surpassed $1 billion for the first time. The money never was earmarked for police. The Legislature made sure it got absorbed into the state’s general fund.

As predicted, state gambling profits have become an integral part of the state budget. The bulk goes to education, but lottery dollars have refurbished dilapidated state parks and allowed the state to open new ones. It has provided cash or backed loans for dozens of projects, from a $50,000 theater renovation in Baker City to a $1.8 million expansion of Daimler Trucks’ corporate headquarters in Portland.

To remind Oregonians, the lottery spends millions of dollars a year on ads, such as its “It does good things” campaign.

“People are terrified”

After trying and failing to tighten rules on state gambling in previous legislative session, Tomei sensed an opening in 2013. Two years before, outrage over the lottery’s ill-fated attempt to launch an Internet game site, The ORcade, prompted the agency to form a task force on problem gambling.

The panel, led by Jeff Marotta, a Portland consultant who works with states to develop problem-gambling programs, took its mission seriously. It issued a 25-page report full of recommendations aimed at making problem gambling a higher priority within the lottery.

Among the recommendations: Add a problem-gambling expert to the lottery’s staff and include responsible gambling training for alcohol servers. Tomei introduced bills to do both, plus one to replace the lottery’s “maximize revenues” mission with a revenue ceiling to ease pressure to grow.  “The public is not aware what a big problem this is,” Tomei says. “Most legislators are not aware on  what a big problem it is.” She set about educating them. With Kotek getting attention for her anti-casino bill, Tomei thought the Legislature might finally take action. Then two things happened that sent lottery bills into a tailspin.

Lottery Director Larry Niswender asked the state Justice Department to rule on whether Tomei’s bills overstepped the Legislature’s authority, given that voters had enshrined the agency in the state constitution. The ruling – yes — was a victory for Niswender and a setback for problem-gambling advocates. The Justice Department wrote that the lottery could not spend money from its budget to “mitigate harms” caused by its games. Niswender interpreted the decision to mean it could no longer run problem-gambling outreach ads.

The lottery not only pulled the ads, it dropped its membership in the state’s main problem-gambling council. Problem-gambling advocates felt all their work had backfired. Tomei was furious. That wasn’t all. Legislative budget writers told Tomei no way were they going to threaten any part of the $1 billion the lottery funnels into the state’s general fund every two years.

Tomei hit a brick wall.

“We are so damned dependent on the income,” she says. “People are terrified — if we lose that income, how are we going to replace it?”

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The only lottery-related bill Tomei managed to get through is one that sets a floor for how much the state spends on problem-gambling treatment. Kotek’s bills died in committee. Kotek, through her spokesman Jared Mason-Gere, declined to comment for this story. “She is focused on other issues,” Mason-Gere said.

Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, one of the two co-chairmen of the budget committee, says there was little interest in passing laws that would blow a hole in state finances, regardless of the source. “You cannot help but be appalled by the impact that the addiction of gambling can cause,” Buckley says. But without the money the lottery brings in, he says, the state would have to cut more out of schools and other programs. “You have to look at what is the overall good for the state as a whole,” Buckley says. “Problem gambling is definitely a negative. But underfunding of education is also a negative. How do you find the balance?”

Defending the status quo

Lottery critics say that’s the wrong question. What state officials should be asking themselves, they say, is whether government should be pushing a money-raising method that depends so heavily on a small segment of gamblers, many of them addicted. Niswender told The Oregonian his agency cares about people who lose more than they can afford on video slots and poker. But he has a bottom line, which goes like this:

“The Legislature authorized the lottery to have video,” says Niswender, who is retiring from his job at month’s end. “That was a policy choice. We’re here to carry out the will of the people and the Legislature’s directive and do it in the most efficient and effective way we can.” Kitzhaber, like Kulongoski, softened his opposition to slot machines as a source of state revenue. He may not like it, he says, but he’s in no position to reverse history.

“I never supported the notion of funding state programs through gambling,” Kitzhaber told The Oregonian. “But we voted for the lottery. It’s with us. … As much as I dislike the whole notion, I’m not going to put at risk a billion dollars in our education budget.”

In reality, the lottery provides about $600 million every two years to education, including K-12, schools, the education stability fund, community colleges and universities. Of that, about $480 million comes from video slots and poker. Parsing the numbers further, the lottery’s contribution to the state K-12 school fund over the current two-year budget cycle is projected to be about $327 million out of a $6.55 billion budget, or about 5 percent.

That’s not small change, by any means. Lawmakers often wrangle bitterly over smaller amounts, such as a cigarette tax increase that will raise $10 million in 2013-15. But they’ve also made bigger cuts, such as $800 million to the Public Employees Retirement System over the next two years. “Nonetheless, the lottery’s revenue stream appears all but untouchable.”

Kitzhaber says he wants to put the brakes on any further expansion of the lottery. His picks for Lottery Commission chair – Portland attorney Elisa Dozono – and lottery executive director – former state Labor Commissioner Jack Roberts — share his goals. Still, the governor says he approves of the lottery’s “modernization” plan to replace its 12,000 video slot machines with new ones but “not increasing gaming opportunities.”

Tomei wants another run at putting a ceiling on lottery revenue and ordering the agency to curtail the number of slot and poker machines it offers. The Legislature also could require the lottery to ensure that machines come with technology that might curb compulsive behavior, such as screen pop-ups that tally how much players have lost or how long they’ve played, she says.

“We’ll probably never get rid of the lottery,” Tomei says. “It seems to me we have a direct responsibility to make sure it is less addictive.”

– Harry Esteve, Journalist Portland, OR

 

Big Thanks To My BFF In New York For Updates & Les Bernal -Gambling Changes Are Coming New York!

GOVERNMENT REFORM GROUP TO MAKE MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT NEW YORK STATE’S NEW INTERNET GAMBLING LAW

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MEDIA ADVISORY: Government Reform Group to Make Major Announcement About New York State’s New Internet Gambling Law……

MEDIA ADVISORY                       CONTACT: Les Bernal
October 4, 2016                                           (202) 567-6996 ext. 1

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WHO:      Attorney Neil Murray, O’Connell and Aronowitz, Albany, NY
Les Bernal, National Director, Stop Predatory Gambling
Robb Smith, Executive Director, Interfaith Impact of New York State

WHAT:      Attorney Murray, Les Bernal, and Smith will make a major announcement regarding the new internet gambling law enacted recently by the New York Legislature. The law includes the legalization of daily fantasy sports gambling.

The state’s constitution prohibits gambling, except those forms specifically granted exemptions, such as wagering on horse races, charitable contests, a limited number of commercial casinos and state-operated lottery.

Amid a lavish lobbying campaign by internet gambling interests, the Legislature amended state law in June to declare that fantasy sports contests are “games of skill” and not illegal “games of chance.” This action was an attempt by internet gambling supporters to evade the longer process of amending the constitution that requires passage by two successively elected legislatures in Albany followed by a statewide voter referendum.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is already on record declaring that daily fantasy sports gambling violates the constitution.

WHEN:       Wednesday, October 5, 2016, at 10:30am

WHERE:     LCA Press Room, Room 130, NY Legislative Office Building, Albany, NY

Les Bernal
National Director
Stop Predatory Gambling

“Improving the lives of the American people, using education and advocacy to free us of the dishonesty, exploitation, addiction and lower standard of living that commercial gambling spreads.”

****IF YOU LIVE NEARBY PLEASE ATTEND AND STAND UP TO STOP INTERNET PREDATORY GAMBLING WITH “DAILY FANTASY SPORTS GAMBLING – IT VIOLATES OUR CONSTITUTION!! IT IS DEVASTATING FAMILIES ****  

Meet Ronda Hatefi and How She is Advocating About Gambling Addiction with “The Take a Break Campaign & Day of Awareness”

“Ronda Hatefi and her family work tirelessly to raise awareness about problem gambling and gambling addiction. WHY? Because she lost her brother, Bobby Hafemann to this disease by suicide. Ronda does this through the help of “Prevention Lane” a program through Lane County Public Health in Oregon. It is a Day of Awareness for those who Gamble to just “Take A Break!” So, here is more about her campaign and how she advocates.”

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TAKE A BREAK CAMPAIGN:


OUR MISSION:

Problem Gamblers Awareness Day/ Day of Action Against Predatory Gambling’s purpose in “Take a Break Campaign” is to reach out to gamblers and family members to check in to make sure they are in control and gambling responsibly.

OUR GOALS:

• To offer an opportunity for businesses that offer gambling to show they care for their customer base.
• To offer family members and friends a way to start a conversation about responsible gambling.
• To reach out with our helpline information and offer hope and help to those who are unable to take a break.

WHO WE ARE:


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Ronda Hatefi, founder of Oregonians for Gambling Awareness Organization. I have been married 30 years, have 2 grown children and 2 granddaughters. Both of my children have graduated college, are working in their professions and are married. I am very proud of them and their accomplishments. They both grew up knowing my passion for helping others with gambling addiction.

I lost my brother, Bobby, 21 years ago after he took his life due to gambling addiction. I have worked since then to speak HOPE and HELP to gamblers and their families. I have been to many conferences, have spoken many places including New York, Washington DC, South Dakota and Oregon, as well as taken part in 3 documentaries (South Korea, California, and France).

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We have had our Oregon Governor sign a proclamation every year declaring September 29th as Problem Gamblers Awareness Day since 1997. Last year being the 20th anniversary of Bobby’s death, we took our Awareness day National. We are working with others across our Country to spread the message of HOPE AND HELP, as well as speaking the truth about how State sponsored gambling is a bad public policy and doesn’t bring only good things to our States.

The work I have done for 21 years has all been volunteer, I believe in what I am doing. I have partnered with some amazing people, Lane County Prevention Team, STOP Predatory Gambling, Voices of Problem Gamblers, and others. I feel it is important to work as a team to do the best work for the gamblers in our State.

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September 29, 2016 – Problem Gamblers Awareness Day in Oregon



HOW CAN YOU HELP?

First, click on the blue link above and READ all that Ronda is doing in conjunction with Lane County Public Health Prevention Team through the “Problem Gambling Awareness & Take A Break” campaign. As many other organizations too like “Stop Predatory Gambling – Les Bernal,” and others listed below are Joining In!

You can help spread the word by a REBLOG today, Friday and Sat…. through Oct 1st 2016! I know Ronda and I would appreciate the SUPPORT!!

And lastly:

Like other addictions, the compulsion to gamble can become the main priority of a person’s life. When this happens the emotional and financial upheavals are devastating. Often, the family is just as impacted by this devastation as the gambler. According to prevalence studies conducted by the Oregon Council on Problem Gambling, problem gambling affects approximately 80,000 adult Oregonians. For those entering treatment last year, the Oregon Health Authority estimates their combined debt related to gambling at more than $31 million.

Key events locally include the “Take A Break” campaign and Bridgeway Recovery Walk & Run.

In Oregon, treatment for problem gamblers and their loved ones is free and confidential and provided through Oregon Lottery revenues; those interested in seeking help may call the 24-hour help line at 1-877-MY-LIMIT (877-695-4648).

For more information about Awareness Day, contact Ronda Hatefi: ogao.ronda@gmail.com

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” Author, Recovery Columnist, and Gambling Recovery Advocate ~ Catherine Lyon ”