“Problem Gambling Awareness Month” My Guest Is Vegas Judy. “What If You Live In Las Vegas?”


WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A RECOVERING GAMBLER LIVING IN LAS VEGAS.
by JUDY G.

MEET, VEGAS JUDY!

 

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This is about two aspects of me – my evolution as a compulsive and then recovering gambler – and my growing fascination and compulsion to be in Las Vegas. Intertwined?Yes. But also distinct and separate. What I mean by that is: If gambling didn’t exist in Las Vegas, would I still want to live here? Yes.

However, since gambling does exist here, would I want to live anywhere else? No.

Now, back to the beginnings:

My childhood years certainly didn’t include this yearning to be in Las Vegas. But I guess I always had yearnings – and in those days, it was to live in the Golden State – California. I  spent the first 8 years of my life exclusively in California – mainly Lodi and Woodland. But when I was 9, my father “re-upped” and went back into the Air Force, and shortly after that, he was sent to Korea.

In Fifth Grade, I went to four different schools, including one in Texas and one in Virginia. This was the beginning of my Air Force brat experiences, and at the same time, I began thinking that “everything would be perfect” if I could just be with my friends in California. So I always had that propensity to think the “grass was greener” somewhere else.

I started living in a sort of “escape fantasy land” whenever real life got too rough. Since most of our relatives lived in California, no matter where we were stationed in the U.S., we usually made a road trip back to the Golden State at least once – usually during the summer. Quite often, these trips would take us through Las Vegas, where often we’d stop and spend the night. During those early years, I never thought about gambling, of course. It was strictly an adult playland then.

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I was mostly aware of the celebrities who might be lounging around the pools or perhaps wandering in the casinos. I remember once being in a casino with my parents and hearing “Paging Mr. Belafonte, Mr. Harry Belafonte.” This was heady stuff for a movie-star-struck young girl. If my parents went to see a show at night, my sister and I didn’t mind. We’d stay at our motel, go swimming in the pool that was usually opened all night, and have fun on our own. I do remember seeing the “fantasyland” aspects of the Strip, such as it was, back in those days; such as the camels in front of the Sahara, the Sultan in front of the Dunes. But that’s all Las Vegas was to me then – a convenient stop on our way to my “mecca”, California.

As far as gambling, I had literally no experience or feeling about it one way or the other. Ironically, we were stationed in Wiesbaden Germany when I was 17, and my first “job” was giving out change for the small bank of slot machines in the Officer’s Club (the General Von Steuben). This was a pretty boring job. Hardly anyone spent much time in that little space.

I do, however, remember one woman who was pretty much a “regular,”  She started out feeding quarters into one particular machine and would stand there for hours, having drinks and hitting several jackpots, but by the end of the evening, there she was, slightly weaving, by now barefoot (there were no stools for the gamblers then, and those high heels got too tricky to stand in after awhile and after a few drinks) and her winnings had long gone back into the machine. I remember thinking how stupid and boring the whole thing was. (Little did I know that I was to become that woman one day).

My next exposure to gambling was back in Las Vegas. My first husband and I had (not surprisingly) gone to Vegas for our honeymoon.  In those days, there were no video poker machines, and I didn’t know how to play any “table games of chance”, so I just put a few quarters in the single reel slot machine and I might get lucky and win the “jackpot” – $25.

My second husband and I also went to Las Vegas on our honeymoon. He has the dubious honor of being the one who taught me how to play 21.  After winning a small jackpot on a machine, he suggested taking my winnings and playing blackjack. Of course, we had our Beginners’ Luck there, and that became my new favorite game, and a reason to escape to Vegas whenever I could talk him into it…

By the end of our marriage, we were two full-blown alcoholics, but he was happy to do his drinking every night in front of the TV set.  I, on the other hand, wanted the action and excitement and fantasy of Las Vegas!

 

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One night I got into an argument with him and ended up taking off in my car.  I was picked up by the police somewhere near Ontario, California, heading to L.A., yet I told the police I was driving to Vegas.  The fact that I had my housedress on and was drunk might have alerted the police to the veracity of my statement, and I spent that night in jail.  Toward the end of my second marriage, I had met my third husband-to-be, who was temporarily my “escape companion”.  Why not? He had no job, no ties.  Why wouldn’t he hook up with this crazy alcoholic who had a car, and all she asked of him was to drive her to Vegas.

When we’d first arrive, I would hit the tables and eventually pass out– sometimes in the casino (where I had to be carried to the room) – and sometimes waited til I was in the room. Inevitably, the next day I’d be suffering a mighty hangover and severe pangs of regret and guilt, and we’d morosely head back to the disapproving situation at home. Sometime in 1986, I had stopped drinking (after it quit working for me, and I had become suicidal).

Everyone predicted that I would want to leave my “companion” who was 14 years younger than I, a drug addict and unemployed. But I insisted that we were “in love” and it didn’t matter if he continued to use and I had stopped; love would conquer all. We probably WOULD have split up, if it hadn’t been that I got pregnant (surprise!) at age 45, so now we had to stay together, and do the right thing.

So, here I was, a new mother (again), supporting my baby and my (by then) husband.  My only escape was the periodic trips to Vegas.  I wasn’t drinking anymore, so that was good, but that hadn’t stopped my desire to go to Vegas; in fact, it was stronger than ever. You see, I didn’t realize it, but my quitting drinking was possible because I simply substituted the one addiction for another – gambling.  A couple of years later, I decided “enough with these 12 trips a year to Vegas; let’s move there.”  Again, my husband had no reason to deny the request.  I was able to retire from my county job, after 22 years of service and have a small retirement stipend, and made sure I had a new job waiting for me in Las Vegas before we moved here.

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Sometime after we moved here, my husband brought home one of those hand held video poker machines.  I had never played poker before – only once, during a neighborhood friendly game, in which I had surprisingly won, with beginners’ luck, not having any idea what I was doing.  But with this hand-held amazing little thing, I learned to hone my skills quite sharply. Each time I went to a casino, it seemed that there were new and varied video poker games double bonus, triple bonus, bonus deluxe, etc., etc. In the last couple of years they added the three reels at a time, and now they even have 50 or 100 games you can play at a time. It’s mind-boggling!!

Now I had found the perfect answer to my female gambler’s dream. I didn’t have to sit and make chit chat with the other players at the 21 table. It could be just me and my machine –my lover–for hours at a time. No one to disturb us. The cocktail waitress would come around and occasionally I’d have a grapefruit juice (liquor was out, of course). This is a little personal, but I have to say that but sometimes I’d actually feel a mini-orgasm when I hit a jackpot. Meanwhile, at home, my libido was practically non-existent.

Sometimes the other players’ cigarette smoke would bother me, but usually, I could even ignore that – especially if I had a “hot” machine. I also loved it if they were playing the “right” music –usually some sultry and sensual, Marvin Gaye songs (“Let’s Get it On”), etc., or hits from further back –at a time when I was young and innocent.  The atmosphere in the casino appealed to me too –dark, soft neon lights flashing here and there, beckoning “come, play me”. No sense of time, no windows.  The tinkling of ice cubes in glasses, people laughing in the background. It was party time!

There has been a lot said and written about the commonalities of men and women gamblers and their differences.  For many men, it’s about being the “big shot”, showing off, taking a chance and winning big in some cases.  For many women, it’s more about escape and isolation. There’s one aspect, however, where this invisible dividing line blurs.  When I say I didn’t want to be a “big shot”, why then was it so important to me to use my “player’s card” at various casinos, and earn points so I could have the so-called “freebies” – like free room nights, free meals, free shows?  But more often than not, there’s no such thing as a “freebie.”

I remember about a year ago when I lost my whole paycheck at a locals casino.  A couple of days later I had no money, so my son and I went to the same casino and used some of my “points” to get a pizza in their Italian deli.  As we left, my son shouted out: “Thanks for the f____ing $1,000 pizza!” (Out of the mouths of slightly jaded babes!).

A funny thing about my style of playing is I didn’t want anyone to know if I hit a jackpot.  I wanted to just keep on playing – no congratulations or anything like that.  I was dead serious about this thing, and I didn’t want anything to interfere with my play.

Many times I sat there for 7 or 8 hours straight, without even taking a bathroom break. When I did, it was nearly impossible to make it without having an accident. So far I’ve concentrated on what I liked about being in the casinos.  What didn’t I like? Well, I didn’t like losing, and “chasing” my losses – or winning and yet not being able to quit until I’d put it all back. I didn’t like trying to get money out of a bank ATM machine, and being told “Unable to complete transaction”.

I didn’t like looking at myself in the bathroom mirror and seeing this strange, wild-eyed, with mussed up hair, confused and scared looking. Can you believe that even looking like this, some men actually “hit on me”?  I guess it was a matter of recognizing what they thought was “easy prey.” But I never resorted to that.  That was one of those “not yets.”  Not saying that it couldn’t have happened – just that it didn’t.

Worst of all, I hated coming home to anger and sadness, disappointment –my husband and my child looking forlorn and lost. What happened, Mommy?  Where was the pizza you said you’d bring home? Even when I had won, they usually weren’t that happy –unless I gave my husband some money so he could do what he wanted (gamble – or buy drugs), and get my son a new Play Station game or something like that, or say, “It’s OK, you don’t need to go to school today.”  He learned manipulation from the best teachers – me and his father.

I’ve managed to hit two milestones here while living in Las Vegas – of over a year “bet free”, but I never got much further than that. Looking back, I think it was because I thought I didn’t deserve any kind of success.  I was worthless. For the most part, I hadn’t really applied the 12 steps to my life –I just went on with it, usually as the martyr, until the pressure got so great and life looked so hopeless, that I had to go out and release my escape valve. All the pain and remorse of the past temporarily disappeared, in my pursuit of the fantasyland escape – the immediate fix, not thinking about the long-term effects.

The worst thing about living in Las Vegas and being a compulsive gambler is that the gambling is so accessible – you don’t even have to think twice about it – just hop in your car and go. Even the 7-11 around the corner has a few machines (although I liked to stick to the casino atmosphere as I mentioned above).  The best thing about living in Las Vegas and being a compulsive gambler is that there is ALL kinds of help – if you want it.

There are 24 hour GA (Gamblers Anonymous) meetings and people who know exactly what you’re going through.  I choose right now to stay in Las Vegas because I happen to love so many things about life here.  I especially am drawn to its history (yes, Las Vegas does have a history!) and I write about it at every opportunity.  I was excited in 2005 when this city celebrated its 100th anniversary.  It was Fantastic!

Is it stupid for me to remain here? Maybe so. Maybe not. One of my arguments is that gambling is available in just about any state now, and certainly in Europe. But the facts are, it isn’t as attractive to me anywhere else –not even “Reno or Laughlin” –certainly not “Atlantic City.” Something about being here in this jewel in the middle of the desert has me totally mesmerized and hypnotized. I look at the new games the casinos are offering – anything from ‘Betty Boop’ to ‘Austin Powers’ to the ‘Addams Family,’  and now ‘Popeye’ – and I wonder where it’s all leading.

It’s definitely luring kids, and I understand teenagers are being swept up by gambling – as much as drugs or alcohol. What’s the answer?

Blow up the casinos?

Make a new kind of prohibition? Probably not.

People will always seek their pleasures –in one form or another. They will be errant children. And some can get their pleasures in “safe” measures –not gambling more than they can afford, not becoming suicidal.

I don’t have anything really against gambling or drinking per say – I just know I can’t do it. Can I stay here in Las Vegas and fight my demons? Only time will tell, but I’m willing to give it another try.

(Judy wrote this in 2003 – “More has happened since then, but I’ll save that for another time.”)

Please visit and Purchase her Book Here on Las Vegas: The Fabulous First Century (NV) (Making of America) …. Author, Judy Dixon Gabaldon ~ aka: VEGAS JUDY

 

“Gambling for Seniors by AARP Calls Slots Financially Devastating and Their ‘Electronic crack”…

“Gambling for Seniors by AARP Calls Slots Financially Devastating and Their ‘Electronic crack”…

Since moving here to Arizona from So. Oregon a few years ago, I was shocked to see so many Indian Casinos all over this State. Now I know Oregon and California have casinos every as well, but here? IT IS LIKE Drug Addiction! Being the Indian Casinos are selling “Crack.”

So I happen to come across an article in AARP Money Section, written by John Rosengren is a freelance journalist. It is an eye-opening article on how problem gambling and slots are now affecting our senior population and devastating their “Golden Years” financially.

It is a long write-up but worth the read! so you can read the full article here on AARP Mag.com.

THE CASINO TRAP: “As the gambling industry booms, aggressive marketing targets older patrons.”

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“CASINOS use marketing ploys to target older patrons — and empty their wallets.”

Beauford Burton had enjoyed the occasional poker game in his youth, but in his 60s the slots hooked him. He and his wife, Sharon, started making the 2 1/2-hour drive every Friday from their home in Kings Mountain, N.C., to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, where they won occasionally but lost more frequently. In one year, he lost about $50,000, nearly the equivalent of his annual salary as a manager in a textile company.

They often stayed longer than they’d intended—many times the casino would offer them a free hotel room Saturday night. Burton can’t remember ever paying for a room. He had access to an exclusive bar with free drinks and food, preferred seating in the restaurants and suite upgrades in the hotel. Harrah’s once flew the couple to its casino in Laughlin, Nev., and covered all their expenses—except, of course, what they gambled.

In the end, Burton knew that all of the freebies weren’t really free and that he had paid for them tenfold with his losses. “I have always known you don’t get something for nothing, but I fell for it,” he says. “It’s the good old devil at work.”

Over four years, the slots drained more than $100,000 from Burton’s 401(k). But he kept playing. He cashed in a life insurance policy, took out cash advances on his credit card and gambled away Social Security checks meant to pay utility bills. Finally, in 2008, the gambling habit took his home.

By then, he was playing in a panic, betting up to $15 to $20 a spin, chasing his losses and pursuing the one illusory jackpot that he hoped would save him. “As you start to lose, you think, This is a luck thing, my luck is going to change,” says Burton, now 73. “But the more you go, the more you lose. It ends up in desperation. I can see how people get so deep that it causes them to take their own lives because it gets really, really bad.”

THE RISE OF THE CASINOS:

Of the 101 million visitors to America’s casinos in 2014 (the last year for which information was available), nearly half were age 50 or older, according to data from the gambling industry. In 2014, American casinos reported over $66 billion in gambling revenue, and much of that profit came from these older gamblers.

A 2011 study published in the Journal of Gambling Studies revealed that many older adults viewed the casino as a place where they can socialize and escape from loneliness or grief.

It’s never been easier for them to get to one. Long gone are the days when the twin casino meccas of Las Vegas and Atlantic City, N.J., represented the sole options for American gamblers. Regional casinos have proliferated dramatically since 1988 when the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act legalized casino development on Indian lands. That sparked a loosening of state prohibitions on gambling and a nationwide casino building boom. Today, 1,400 casinos are spread across 40 states. Regional casinos are especially attractive to those who prefer to drive themselves and do not want to have to spend the night. States with large populations of adults over 65, including Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts and West Virginia, have all expanded casino gambling in recent years.

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ADDICTION EXPERTS SAY IT’S ALARMING:

Older adults are an especially desirable demographic for the gaming industry because they fill the floors during off-peak hours, and casinos market to them aggressively, offering discounts on breakfast and lunch, free drinks, and guarantees to “instantly win up to $1,000 Free Slot Play!” They stage free daytime entertainment such as polka dancing, magic shows and live “Golden Oldies” shows.

The “third of the month club” provides complimentary shuttles from senior centers and retirement housing complexes on the day they receive their Social Security checks. Some casinos stock their bathrooms with adult diapers and disposal receptacles for diabetics’ needles. They provide wheelchairs, walkers and more handicapped parking spots than a hospital. One Nevada casino operated an on-site pharmacy—since closed—where accumulated play credits could cover the standard $25 copay on medications.

The gambling boom—and the aggressive tactics the industry uses to lure older patrons—has alarmed addiction experts. Even casino patrons with no history of problem gambling can develop addictive behavior as they age. According to a 2005 study by David Oslin, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia, 1 in 11 adults over age 65 bet more than they could afford to lose in the previous year. The study suggests that more than 4 million older Americans could have a gambling problem. “That’s a higher rate than we have for most diseases,” he says.

‘SLOTS ARE THE NEW ELECTRONIC CRACK’

Slots are also the most addictive form of casino gambling, with the machines designed to maximize your “time on device” until you’re out of money. A 2001 study by psychiatrist Hans Breiter, then of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, confirmed that the machine’s nickname—”electronic crack”—is an apt one. Using MRI scanners, he found that in subjects playing slots, the brain’s neural circuits fired in a way that was similar to those using cocaine.

Several factors make gamblers particularly susceptible to addiction behavior as they age. Loneliness, social isolation and the loss of a spouse can encourage older people to seek relief in casinos. “For someone older who has been sick in the hospital or who is bored or lonely, that can have a big impact on them,” says clinical gyro psychologist Dennis McNeilly of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

More serious age-related cognitive decline plays a role, too. A 2012 study found that changes in the anatomy and chemistry of brains in dementia patients 65 and up, particularly in the frontal region—which controls executive functioning—”may render older adults particularly vulnerable to the stimulation provided by the slot machine.” Dementia afflicts about 14 percent of the U.S. population over 70 years old, and an estimated half of those (nearly 2 million people) are undiagnosed.

“With both the reward system and impulse controls impaired, that creates the perfect storm for someone to develop problems with gambling,” says Michael Hornberger, a neuroscientist at the University of East Anglia in England. Cognitive issues can cause sufferers to lose their sense of money’s value, and those with dementia often repeat a singular behavior such as pushing the button on a slot machine over and over. “They just keep playing as long as the casino lets them,” Hornberger says.

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FROM SOCIAL GAMBLER TO ADDICT:

Beauford Burton’s experience at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino is typical of such relationships.

In addition to sending birthday cards and weekly mailings with ticket deals to shows and vouchers for free play, the casino assigned a VIP host who called Burton at home to invite him back for various specials. Casino hosts often lavish personal attention on high-rolling older charges, asking about their health, reminding them to take their medicine and eating meals with them.

“The whole premise of a host is to extract as much money from that player as possible,” says ex-host John-Talmage Mathis, who worked as VIP marketing director at the Boomtown Casino in Bossier City, La. “For older people, the host becomes their friend, giving them all the attention they may not be getting from their children or friends.”

Casinos award hosts bonuses based on how much the gambler loses. “The losses of your player,” Mathis says, “are your success.”

As the industry seeks to expand, more women are being enticed into casinos, and more are experiencing problems, according to a study published in the journal Psychiatry.

Many slot machines are now designed specifically for women players, who, like longtime slots addict Melynda Litchfield, sometimes feel bonded with their machines. Litchfield, 56, worked 27 years at a Chicago-area hospital, climbing from staff nurse to administrator with a salary of $100,000.

Yet she couldn’t afford a prom dress for her daughter because she lost so much playing slots at the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, Ill., 10 minutes from their home. For Litchfield, the atmosphere was as addicting as the machines themselves. The staff treated her warmly and called her by name. “They gave me so much personal attention and TLC that you get, the false impression these people—who are milking away all of your money—actually care about you,” she says.

The casino also served as a dream world escape, to a place where she did not have to tend to the needs of anyone else.

“I didn’t want to talk to anyone,” says Litchfield, who quit gambling in 2012 and is now a national victim advocate for Stop Predatory Gambling. (A fantastic resource)…

“I just wanted to get lost in my machine.”

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HERE is where I will stop, and again, please visit this link AARP Mag.com for “the rest of the story.” I wanted to stop here because I know exactly what this woman was talking about. It was one of the reasons I got hooked on slots. I just wanted to escape, numb or zone out with a few hours of gambling. As many who know me and have read my memoir, I was escaping from old pain from my childhood when it resurfaced again and I didn’t know how to cope with it all!

DON’T BE FOOLED. Casinos are targeting everyone, not just our Seniors….

 

 

 

 

Yes it is Super Bowl Sunday and the Biggest Gambling Day of the Year ~ Sports Betting the Ugly Side

Hello Recovery Friends, Supporters, and Welcome New Visitors,

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My Favorite Player ~ Russell Wilson of the Seattle Sea Hawks!
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Now I know what your thinking, and NO, I was never a sports better when I was deep into my gambling addiction. But, today is the Biggest Gambling Day of the Year!
Sports Betting on the Super Bowl and a lot of Wasted Money. . .
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Now I currently live in the city and state where the Super Bowl is being held this year, I can not tell you how many Casino commercials I have seen on TV trying to lure guys to come  watch and bet on this years super bowl!! There are Indian Casinos everywhere here.And, not only is this day big money business for sports betting and gambling, but the women also go and gamble while their partners are watching the game. Casinos make a lot money on both ends of this spectrum today. So I thought it would be interesting to share some facts and info about this topic today from around the web. Now, I know I say this a lot,. . .I have no ill feelings toward others who can gamble normally, or don’t have a problem with gambling, and I don’t think gambling should be banned?

What I do have a problem with is the biggest betting day of the year, the profits made will be from the problem and addicted gamblers, not on the every once in a while sport better, card player, or slot player. So lets just see some real info so others can be informed and raise awareness of just what goes on in a day like today with Super Bowl Sunday & Gambling!

About Sports Betting:
Is sports betting a waste of time?
I feel like I already know it is, but could somebody please give me a definitive reason to quit betting? I know the whole concept behind it is that the bookies are making profits so they can run their shops and pay staff etc. This makes it obvious that customers are losing, in order to pay for this! Also if you are betting, you’re not actually doing anything useful or good in this world, the sports people are doing something with their lives and you are just sitting there pretending you know what’s going to happen. Still, it’s addictive and easy to believe you have a chance of winning long-term. . .

What Las Vegas Is
Are we headed toward our first true pick ’em Super Bowl of all time?
Super Bowl Odds Move, Seattle Betting Forces Spread Down.

As of early Sunday, several sportsbooks in Las Vegas and online had dropped the Super Bowl XLIX betting odds for the New England Patriots, who were consensus one-point favorites but are now down to pick ’em. The reason was a surge of late Seattle money, which OddsShark.com analysts predicted would continue up til game time.

The Golden Nugget in Vegas even moved the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks to one-point favorites for about six hours on Saturday with thousands of bettors in town just to wager on the big game. Only five times in Super Bowl history has the line closed at less than a field goal, ending up at -1 twice.

Dangers of Online Sports Betting:
The greatest danger in sports betting is compulsive gambling, that in many cases is fueled by a type of bets that has become very popular during the recent years in gambling houses called “live bets”. In certain events, the gambling houses allow people to bet while certain events are taking place, messing with the psychology of the gambler by offering very profitable odds. This leads to placing a bet and by definition, this type of bets are very volatile, making the player cover his losses if the game changes. Therefore, the player has placed two bets that were not part of his strategy and odds are he will lose on both. One of them for sure. It is not recommended to the novice gambler to participate in “live bets”.

What are Bookies:
A bookmaker, bookie, or turf accountant is an organization or a person that takes bets on sporting and other events at agreed upon odds.
Bookmakers in focus betting on professional sports, especially horse racing and association football; however, a wider range of bets, including on political elections, awards ceremonies such as The Oscars, and novelty bets can also be placed.

By adjusting the odds in their favor or by having a point spread, bookmakers will aim to guarantee a profit by achieving a ‘balanced book’, either by getting an equal number of bets for each outcome or (when they are offering odds) by getting the amounts wagered on each outcome to reflect the odds. When a large bet comes in, a bookmaker may also try to lay off the risk by buying bets from other bookmakers. Bookmakers do not generally attempt to make money from the bets themselves but rather by acting as market makers and profiting from the event regardless of the outcome. Their working methods are similar to that of an actuary, who does a similar balancing of financial outcomes of events for the assurance and insurance industries.
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Here’s what Forbes Mag says about Sports Betting on Super Bowl 49:

Surest Super Bowl Bet Ever?
More money will be gambled on Super Bowl XLIX—number 49 to those of us mystified by Roman numerals—than on any other sporting event this year. There’s nothing like it, for both legal and illegal wagers. At casinos in Las Vegas, online sportsbooks, in an office pool or somewhere else, America likes to bet on the Super Bowl. But bear in mind, not every bet is about winning or losing.

Many bets are so-called prop bets (propositions), over/unders and spreads. For example, what color hoodie will Patriots head coach Bill Belichick be wearing on game day? How many times will Gisele Bundchen be shown on TV during the game? Will the Seahawk’s Marshawn Lynch grab his crotch during the Super Bowl? These bets may be silly, but can be fun. A friendly or even a commercial bet on the Super Bowl seems all-American.

And this time of year, it’s also all-American to remember who gets a piece of every single bet every single day: the IRS. The safe bet is that the IRS gets a piece. Whether sports betting, rolling the dice, playing cards or betting on the ponies, all gambling winnings are always taxable income in the eyes of the IRS. And the IRS doesn’t allow you to automatically reduce your winnings by your losses to just report the difference.

How Much Money is Bet on the Super Bowl?
In last year’s Super Bowl Las Vegas sportsbooks made a killing.  For the first time in history, over $100 million dollars was wagered on the Super Bowl, and with the Seahawks blowout win (43-8) over the favored Denver Broncos, books also posted a record $19.7 million in profit.  These numbers are obviously impressive, but the return on the handle was only the second-highest in history at 16.5%.  The biggest return since 1991 still belongs to the 2005 Super Bowl between the Patriots and Eagles where sportsbooks returned 17% on their handle.There have been a lot of reports of wild prop bets being won, like players who won at 100-to-1 odds on the first score of the game being a Seahawks safety, but don’t let those numbers fool you.  Those exotic wagers don’t really mean much to the books when they are turning millions in profit on the game.

After a brief lull from 2008 to 2009, the amount wagered on the Super Bowl has steadily increased for six-straight years.  In fact, the 21% growth in the amount wagered from 2013 to 2014 is the biggest since 1995, which saw a 28% spike in the amount of wagers taken.
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So there you have it. This is just small snippets of the wealth of information out there about “Gambling and Sports Betting on Super Bowl”. But all I can guarantee is there will BE LOSERS, and very few winners. Most likely there are going to be more losers on this biggest betting and gambling day of the year.

So, if you plan to gamble? Please, be responsible, set a money limit and stick to it. For those who are in recovery from addicted gambling?? Read a good book! May I suggest my book about what I lost due to gambling addiction! And it wasn’t just the $$$$$. . . .
God Bless All,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984478485

“But I Only Gambled For Fun Because I was Bored”…

Welcome Recovery Friends and New Seekers,

How many times have I heard that one from a new member seeking recovery in my Gamblers Anonymous meetings? A lot! Let me share a few facts that maybe many of others don’t know about gambling, and how easy it can be to become “Addicted.”
If we don’t share the knowledge, then we can not Shatter the Stigma!

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Here are a few facts about gambling addiction from “The National Council Of Problem Gambling” who helps so many of us who are in recovery from “Addicted Compulsive Gambling” http://www.ncpgambling.org
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What is Problem Gambling?

Problem gambling is gambling behavior which causes disruptions in any major area of life: psychological, physical, social or vocational. The term “Problem Gambling” includes, but is not limited to, the condition known as “Pathological”, or “Compulsive” Gambling, a progressive addiction characterized by 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.
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NOW LETS SHATTER THE STIGMA ABOUT GAMBLING WITH TRUTH;
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How can a person be addicted to something that isn’t a substance?
Although no substance is ingested, the problem gambler gets the same effect from gambling as someone else might get from taking a tranquilizer or having a drink. The gambling alters the person’s mood and the gambler keeps repeating the behavior attempting to achieve that same effect. But just as tolerance develops to drugs or alcohol, the gambler finds that it takes more and more of the gambling experience to achieve the same emotional effect as before. This creates an increased craving for the activity and the gambler finds they have less and less ability to resist as the craving grows in intensity and frequency.
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Are problem gamblers usually addicted to other things too?
It is generally accepted that people with one addiction are more at risk to develop another. Some problem gamblers also find they have a problem with alcohol or drugs. This does not, however, mean that if you have a gambling problem you are guaranteed to become addicted to other things. Some problem gamblers never experience any other addiction because no other substance or activity gives them the same feeling as the gambling does. There also appears to be evidence of family patterns regarding dependency as many problem gamblers report one or both parents had a drinking and or gambling problem.
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Can you be a problem gambler if you don’t gamble every day?
The frequency of a person’s gambling does not determine whether or not they have a gambling problem. Even though the problem gambler may only go on periodic gambling binges, the emotional and financial consequences will still be evident in the gambler’s life, including the effects on the family.
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Stages of Compulsive Gambling

  1. Winning Phase (1-3 years) Gambling wins enhance self-image and ego. Losses are rationalized as temporary bad luck. The gambler feels intense excitement and identifies with being a winner.
  2. Losing Stage Losses outweigh wins and all gains are wiped out. The gambler begins to chase losses (gamble in order to get even). He/she will borrow money, sell possessions to get gambling resources in the belief that losses can be won back.
  3. Desperation Stage Compulsive gamblers think only about gambling. They may show visible personality changes. They are driven. Gambling takes priority over work, school, family, and other life aspects. They will pile up sever debts that create more life problems. They often experience sever mood swings and may commit crimes to get gambling money. Compulsive gamblers do not see a future without gambling. Suicide may be considered as a way out.

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CURRENT STATS:
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How widespread is problem gambling in the U.S.?
2 million (1%) of U.S. adults are estimated to meet criteria for pathological gambling in a given year. Another 4-6 million (2-3%) would be considered problem gamblers; that is, they do not meet the full diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling, but meet one of more of the criteria and are experiencing problems due to their gambling behavior. Research also indicates that most adults who choose to gamble are able to do responsibly.
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How widespread is gambling in the U.S.?
Approximately 85% of U.S. adults have gambled at least once in their lives; 60% in the past year. Some form of legalized gambling is available in 48 states plus the District of Columbia. The two without legalized gambling are Hawaii and Utah….
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I have to add that WOMEN make 50% of all problem gamblers, and WHY? They are BORED. Many women, especially one’s who lose a spouse, life partner, find they have much more time on their hands and as they grief from a traumatic life event such as this, they are MORE at Risk to become addicted if they gamble. Also, 6% of those numbers are now YOUR KIDS! The rate of young adults and late teens, ( High School Teens & College young adults) are now problem gamblers. With many college kids having “Poker Tourney’s” can make it a higher risk for them to become addicted as an adult.
“The National Center For Responsible Gaming” now has an awesome website to raise awareness and help college kids get help from “Problem Gambling” here: http://www.collegegambling,org
Here are a few Stats about “College Gambling”:
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Welcome to CollegeGambling.org

While gambling can be fun if you’re of legal age, it’s not a risk-free activity. For some college students, gambling for fun can turn into a serious problem and have a negative impact on their lives.

College Gambling.org was developed by the National Center for Responsible Gamingrelated harms on campus. This site provides resources to help you learn more about this issue and how to get help if you need it. Another website that is FANTASTIC For Student Gambling Information is the counseling services “Texas State University” offers for their students: Gambling : Counseling Center : Texas State University  They have an extensive program to help students with gambling problems, and it is a good “Resource” for information about gambling addiction in general.
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Fact Sheet: Gambling Disorders among College Students

  • The most recent research estimates that 6 percent of college students in the U.S. have a serious gambling problem that can result in psychological difficulties, unmanageable debt and failing grades.
  • Research has shown that teenagers and college-aged young adults are more impulsive and at higher risk for developing gambling disorders than adults.
  • Most adults with a gambling problem started gambling at an early age. Scientists have learned that the adolescent brain is still growing, which accounts for the frequently impulsive behavior and unwise decisions of teenagers.
  • Compared to female college students, research suggests that male college students are more likely to have gambled in the past year, gambled with more money and reported having gambling problems.
  • Gambling disorders are associated with numerous negative consequences and are highly correlated with other risky behaviors in the college student population.
  • Compared to students without gambling problems, students with gambling problems are more likely to use tobacco, drink heavily or binge drink, smoke marijuana or use other illegal drugs, drive under the influence and have a low GPA.
  • Gambling opportunities, once only available in a few states, have proliferated nationwide during the past 30 years with the expansion of lotteries, casinos, and Internet gambling. Therefore, today’s college students are exposed to not only drinking and drug use but also gambling, both on campus and in the surrounding community.
  • While the most recent research estimates that 6 percent of college students have a gambling problem, college students seem to mature out of these problems, as they do with alcohol and drug use, after college. This is evidenced by the fact that only 1 percent of the adult population has a gambling disorder in the U.S.
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So parents, I think when you have “THE TALK” with your kids about the dangers of Alcohol and Drugs, maybe think about adding “Problem Gambling” now in the mix. DON’T let gambling become a problem for your kids.
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I will close my post with something I learned REAL QUICK in treatment & recovery. It’s called H.A.L.T.
H.A.L.T. stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. Each one of these four physical or emotional conditions, if not taken care of, leaves an individual vulnerable for relapse. And I know this first hand. I used to get LONELY when my husband worked out-of-town a lot, so I had time TOO much time on my hands. I know this contributed to my progression of my addiction into uncontrolled gambling. It was also a source of a couple of relapses in early recovery for me. Again, women seem to be more at risk for this.
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It takes much work in recovery, meetings, treatment, working the 12-Steps if you chose to. There are many avenues to a path of recovery, the most important is for YOU to just START. There are many resources available today for receiving help to get your life back from Compulsive Addicted Gambling. You only need to take that first step, I did!
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God Bless All
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
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