It’s Coming -“National Week of Action to Stop Predatory Gambling” Sept. 25th -Oct 1st, 2016. Meet Ronda Hatefi and Her Brother – Bobby’s Story.

Ronda Hatefi holds a picture of her brother, Bobby, a problem gambler who committed suicide in 1995.
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“Meet my dear friend Ronda Hatefi holding a photo of her brother, Bobby Hafemann one of the first suicide’s I learned about due to his Gambling Addiction .  .  . He was ONLY 28-years old.”

 


I caught up with Ronda a week or so ago by phone, and happened to learn some new information that I had not known before about Bobby. I invited Ronda to be the main focus for this 2nd annual “National Week of Action from Predatory Gambling” this year to follow-up and to keep her brother Bobby Hafemann’s memory alive. Even though Bobby isn’t with us, his story needs to be told often to help others who are still suffering and are stuck in the insidious “cycle” of Gambling Addiction.

Personally, after talking with Ronda I came to the conclusion that The Oregon Lottery and The State of Oregon had FAILED Bobby and his family. Ronda had told me that they had gotten Bobby in a form of treatment that was supposed to be provided by state funding of profits from the Oregon Lottery. But after a year or two, the treatment program was pulled and disappeared.

They also tried having him attend Gamblers Anonymous, well, the guy running the Hotline Phone Number just relapsed and was out gambling again when he had returned Ronda’s call. They were then told to seek help maybe through therapy or a psychiatrist or therapist, they had no idea how to treat a compulsive addicted gambler.
More failures. We ow know how this story ended. His suicide should have never happened!

So I will be sharing all the hard work that my friend Ronda Hatefi and her family still share’s today to help others in the upcoming week of Action. But, here is an article and story I came across about Bobby Hafemann and his death and how the family was devastated of the failures as they all desperately tried to help Bobby. . . . .

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LOSING THE GAMBLE ~ Friday, July 27th, 1995 ~ (Author Kate Taylor – Oregonian Staff)
Full Article on:  SSRI Stories – Antidepressant Stories

Summary: “The parents of a compulsive gambler say the Oregon lottery stole their son, caused his suicide.   The machines he haunted still blink up hearts, clubs, diamonds. Their glow still lures thousands of Oregonians every day.”

But Robert Lewis Hafemann, a compulsive gambler, has played his last game of video poker. After slipping his life savings and countless loans into gambling machines, and at the end of a desperate search for help against his addiction, 28-year-old Hafemann shot himself in his Milwaukie home July 20.

When he was buried this week, he left behind a grieving family as well as questions about the state’s most popular gambling game and the declining help for people who can’t stop playing.

“My Bobby was a winner,” said his father, Harvey Hafemann, clutching his wife’s hand at his Milwaukie home.   “He could’ve won at a lot of different things. But he couldn’t win that game. The Oregon lottery stole our son from us.”   His father doesn’t know how it happened.

Before 1991, when the Legislature invited video poker into the state, his family considered Robert Hafemann’s gambling playful and benign. He thrilled at his first scratch-ticket jackpot of $600 at the age of 18. The following years he won everything from cowboy hats to couches to television sets. He lost money, too, but his $45,000-a-year job as a steel fabricator easily made up the loss. He always had extra to give.

“He had the biggest heart you’d ever meet,” said his sister, Ronda Hatefi.  “He made more money than any of us, so he wanted to share.”   Then came video poker and the 1,500 taverns, restaurants and bowling alleys that put in 7,200 machines.

The machines, which bring in $1 million a day, drew Robert Hafemann like a siren song. He became one of the estimated 61,000 pathological or problem gamblers in Oregon.  He stopped coming home after work. Instead, he sought out machines.

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“He talked about the (video machines) all the time,” his father said.  “He said he was going to get out of this. He would win a million dollars, and we’d all be living on easy street.”   In his last few months, Hafemann spent every hour of spare time and every cent of his paycheck gambling. On the rare occasions his family saw him, he’d borrow money, say he was going to the store for a soda and return the next morning. He stopped picking up his mail and checking his answering machine because he couldn’t face creditors.

Hafemann’s family saw less and less of the son and brother they remembered.  “He told me he felt like a ghost, standing alone,” said his mother, Diana Hafemann.  “That’s what he looked like. We told him we’re here for you, but he said he just couldn’t stop.”

At work, he was efficient and industrious as always and continued to ask for extra shifts. But he stopped telling jokes and stopped asking his co-workers if they had heard any new ones. Instead, he asked to borrow money.

“I’d lend him small amounts and he always paid me back,” said Alan Christen, a fellow machine operator.  “You could tell his esteem of himself had gone way down.”  Then in May, he finally told his mother he was considering suicide and needed help.   “It was the best Mother’s Day present,” said Diana Hafemann.  “I told him he was a winner because it takes a big man to admit he’s got a problem.”

Searching for help:

Hafemann’s despair is tragically common, said Bob Denton, a treatment counselor at Portland’s Diversion Associates, a group that treats addicts. Almost half of the people he treats seem to be contemplating suicide, and about 90 percent say their worst problem is video poker.

When Robert Hafemann and his mother went to Kaiser’s East Interstate Medical Office for help, Diana Hafemann said a doctor prescribed her son Prozac and soon referred him to a general practitioner. Kaiser declined to comment.

When compulsive gamblers seek help, they often meet with the wrong treatment, said Steven Henry, a psychologist with the Clackamas County Mental Health Department’s gambling treatment program. “Pathological gambling doesn’t present itself with alcohol on the breath, needle marks on the arm, or roaches in the ashtray,” Henry said.  “It presents itself with empty bank accounts and the lifeblood drained out of families.”

Diana Hafemann said there were very few resources that could help her son. Many health care providers agree.  Oregon lawmakers this year approved $4 million for gambling addiction treatment over the next two years, $800,000 less than the previous two years.   Oregon lottery spokesman David Hooper said many of the county-run programs failed to spend all of the larger amounts allocated. He defended the growth of video poker, saying most of the players are healthy.

“It’s a very unfortunate, tragic circumstance,” Hooper said of Hafemann’s death.   “But it’s like any other product, there’s going to be individuals who are unable to handle it. You cannot run a society based on the exceptions.”  But those who work with gambling addicts say video poker, which is permitted only in six states, is the most virulent, addictive form of gambling.  “The hypnotic effect of screen and the speed of play engages peoples’ interest and allows them to escape from their problems in a way that no other form of gambling does,” he said. “The cost is also easy for people to rationalize — just $5 or $20 for a game, but then suddenly they’ve gone through $100 and the remorse can be overwhelming.”

That remorse was overwhelming for Robert Hafemann early July 20 as he sat drinking beer, going through his phone book and thinking about what he’d lost. He called one friend five times, despairing over his finances. She tried to calm him and thought she talked him out of suicide. He called the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Department for a gambling hotline number. But Hafemann inverted two of the numbers as he wrote it on his notepad and thought the number had been disconnected. In his last words to his mother and father, he told them he loved them but said he had to take care of something he couldn’t stop any other way. He directed them to sell his belongings and pay off his creditors.

When his father and two nephews visited him Saturday, they discovered him slumped over a living room table with a six-pack of beer at his feet.

“I hate to say this, but I feel that this suicide was another job that he felt had to be done,” his father said. “He did every job the best he could, that’s the way Bob was.”

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Need help from Gambling Addiction or Problem Gambling? Call Today.


In Oregon:  call 1-877-MY-LIMIT (695-4648).

National Hotline:  call  1-800-522-4700 all days and hours for resources and referrals.

National Suicide Hotline: call Call  1-800-273-8255 24 hours a day.

Gamblers Anonymous – http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/hotlines
Find A Meeting: http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/locations

For Family Help:  Gam-Anon: Family and friends of problem gamblers can find resources and a list of meetings at gam-anon.org or 718-352-1671.


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VOICES We Will Never Hear ~ Gambling Addiction and Suicides ~ National Day of Action Against Predatory Gambling.

“Voices, voices we will never hear because their gambling addiction was so bad they took their own lives by SUICIDE to STOP GAMBLING!  Those with gambling problems are TWENTY TIMES more likely to commit suicide.”

(Courtesy of Casino Watch – Gambling and Suicides) .. .. ..

Michigan – A small-business owner, had just returned from a trip to the Las Vegas Strip’s MGM Grand Tuesday when he allegedly killed his pregnant wife and three children (under 7 years old) before turning the gun on himself. In his Mich., home, police found a suicide note blaming gambling addiction – and $225,000 in shredded casino markers. His business was $500,000 in debt because he withdrew the money to cover his gambling.
Las Vegas Sun 11/22/00 Las Vegas Review-Journal 11/23/00

Atlantic City – An 11-year-old Herndon girl died yesterday after initially surviving the slayings of her mother and brother and the suicide of her father, who authorities now say had defrauded area banks of nearly $2 million and had $10 million in gambling and other debts.
Washington Post 8/6/98

LA – On Thursday, another fight about gambling steeled Jueliene Butler’s determination to leave her husband, as her children raced down the street on their bicycles and tricycles. The two shots that resounded through the neighborhood ended a tempestuous 26-year marriage between Rodney and Jueliene Butler in a murder-suicide heard by their 13-year-old daughter.
Times Picayune 5/8/98

IL – Each turned on the ignition of their Olds Regency after stretching a vacuum hose from the exhaust pipe into the car’s interior, climbing in and rolling up the windows. Carol, 63, was the obsessive gambler. Disabled and saddled with the monstrous debt she had created, Skip, 69 had wanted to join her. Undone by a ravenous habit that cost them $200,000, a house, a nest egg and two lives, it was Carol who left a terse hint of the forest of guilt and fear that had grown around them. Bexson and Carol Warriner chose suicide as a last exit from gambling habits.
Los Angeles Times 6/22/97

ATLANTIC CITY — An unidentified man hanged himself under the Boardwalk on Thursday, the third suicide outside a casino in the last three months, police said.
The Associated Press 6/9/00

ATLANTIC CITY — A 50-year-old Vernor man apparently committed suicide Tuesday afternoon by jumping off the parking garage of a casino, police said.
LAS VEGAS SUN 4/5/00

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A German tourist jumped to his death off a 10-story casino parking garage Wednesday in the third such suicide in eight days.
The Associated Press 8/25/99

Atlantic City – Ex-casino worker leaps to death from roof of Trump Marina. He is the fifth person to jump from a casino here and die since August 1999.
South Jersey Publishing CO 5/27/00

Atlantic City – A bloodied body was found at the entrance to the Sands Casino Hotel parking garage just before 8 a.m. Investigators believe he fell two stories to his death but don’t know much more than that.
South Jersey Publishing 7/30/00

Atlantic City – The 36-year-old Florida man leaped seven stories to his death Tuesday after losing between $50,000 and $87,000 at Trump Plaza.
South Jersey Publishing Co. 8/19/99

CT – He had developed a gambling habit over the past few months that began on a trip to Las Vegas this summer. Police believe he was driving home from Foxwoods Resort Casino when, in desperation, he killed himself by hanging.
The Day Publishing 9/9/00

A Long Island teen who had a “death wish” because of a $6,000 World Series gambling debt used a $1.75 toy gun to force cops to shoot and kill him, police said yesterday.
New York Post 11/16/97

Detroit – A gambler losing big dollars in the high-roller area of the MotorCity Casino in Detroit pulled out a gun Wednesday, shot himself in the head and died, police said. He was playing double hands at $500 per hand, and lost $10,000 that night.
Detroit Free Press 1/27/00

BILOXI, Miss. — Police are trying to determine what caused a gambler down on his luck to shoot three people before killing himself at a busy Gulf Coast casino.
ASSOCIATED PRESS 1/15/01

Miss – In May 1996, Bay St. Louis, Miss., resident James Shamburger, a casino regular, hanged himself with a dog leash.

IL – No one knows why Howard Russell took his life, but authorities found he had taken more than $13,000 in advances on his credit cards during an eight-hour gambling spree on the riverboat.
Sun Times 7/28/97

IL – Since casinos opened in Joliet five years ago, Will County Coroner Patrick O’Neil said he has handled three suicides involving people who had racked up debts on the riverboats. But there are others, he said, such as the Kankakee couple who killed themselves outside O’Neil’s jurisdiction.
Sun Times 7/28/97

IL – 27-year-old Larry ruined his career, maxed out his credit cards and finally killed himself after gambling away his girlfriend’s rent money.
TODAY 8/13/01

IL – A gambler, Robert Jewell, threatened to spray gunfire in an Elgin, Ill., casino, then returned home and shot himself.
Los Angeles Times 6/22/97

IL – Kate, 40, a gambling addict and mother of 2, committed suicide by shooting herself in the head.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch 2/22/95

TAMPA — The night Hillsborough State Attorney Harry walked into a darkened field carrying his gun, he already was mired deep in gambling debt and facing an investigation. He committed suicide.
St. Petersburg Times 11/28/00

AZ – Harrah’s Indian gambling director committed suicide over a jackpot dispute.
The Associated Press 1/21/98

LA – After a night of drinking at a Kenner casino Saturday night, a Ponchatoula man, 21, apparently shot himself to death in his car outside the gambling boat, police said.
Times Picayune 11/8/99

MO – Mother committed suicide after secret, luckless trips to Casino St. Charles.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch 3/3/96

Las Vegas – Pierce was the second prominent actor to take his life in a little more than a year. In March 1999, David Strickland hanged himself at the Oasis Motel, 1731 Las Vegas Blvd. South. Strickland was in the TV series “Suddenly Susan.”
Las Vegas Review-Journal 7/12/00

LAS VEGAS (AP) – A 24-year-old Utah man scaled two security barriers and jumped to his death from the observation deck of the 1,149-foot Stratosphere Tower hotel-casino late Wednesday, police said.
Las Vegas Sun 1/6/00

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The bullets fired by the family man and Alabama Power employee struck three people he’d apparently never met inside the 23-story hotel and casino, and sparked a panic that didn’t end until a dozen other people were injured in the melee. McConnell then shot himself in the head. A casino employee said he had been in the casino before and was upset after losing at the slot machines.
Alabama Live 1/15/01

Las Vegas – They have bank statements showing that Batdorf drained his $17,000 Florida bank account in 11 days. Between August and September he made $600 daily ATM withdrawals as often as three times a day and maxed out his credit cards that put him $72,000 in debt. A pawn shop ticket with his name and thumbprint on it prove he hocked the last of his things, among them the ceramic W.C. Fields and Marx Brothers figurines his mom gave him for Christmas. All activity stopped on his credit cards and bank statements a little over two months later in Las Vegas — about the same time a man’s body matching Batdorf’s description turned up in the desert, dead from a .357-caliber gunshot wound in the head.
Las Vegas SUN 10/31/98

CA – A compulsive gambler shot and killed himself in San Diego. It was at least the second such suicide in that city within the past few months, yet these events are rarely reported and when they are, the connection with gambling is often overlooked.
The Los Angeles Times 6/30/97

Iowa – Where a 19-year-old college dropout, Jason Berg, shot himself to death in June 1994, despairing over a budding gambling habit.
Los Angeles Times 6/22/97

A Long Island teen who had a “death wish” because of a $6,000 World Series gambling debt used a $1.75 toy gun to force cops to shoot and kill him, police said yesterday.
New York Post 11/16/98

Pergament, depressed over $6,000 in gambling debts, got himself shot Friday night by threatening officers with what turned out to be a toy gun, police said. They call it “suicide by co” — and say they’ve seen it before.
The Associated Press 11/17/97

My father, a successful lawyer in Los Angeles, was also a compulsive gambler, and he killed himself in 1976, shortly after one of his many trips to Las Vegas.
WARD M. WINTON St. Paul, Dec. 16, 1997

SALEM, Ore. – A Eugene woman who blames her brother’s suicide on the state lottery’s video poker network filed a lawsuit Tuesday that would constitutionally invalidate the lottery.
The Register-Guard 7/25/01

RI – Hours after Police Chief Thomas Moffatt was found dead Nov. 20, apparently a suicide, in the basement of the police station, four city officials were told of reports that the chief had been borrowing money from subordinates to pay gambling debts.
The Providence Journal 11/30/98

Miss. – After two losing days at the Tunica gambling tables, Ronnie Austin told his wife he was ready to leave. By the time she caught up to him in the Horseshoe Casino parking garage, the Cordova resident was dead from a 9 mm gunshot wound to the chest, an apparent suicide captured on security camera videotape.
The Commercial Appeal 3/17/98

Las Vegas – Tillander became immersed in a gambling habit. While no one knows the extent of Tillander’s debts, his inability to stop gambling left him unwilling to go on. “His finances were getting out of control,” Flatt says. “Gambling is a tough addiction because when you confront someone about it, there is usually very little evidence.” authorities found Tillander’s body in his apartment. He had crafted the cyanide gas concoction, stuck his head in a pup tent and taken in the deadly fumes.
Las Vegas Review-Journal 11/16/98

CT – A bank employee and father with a gambling habit, in desperation, killed himself by hanging after leaving a casino.
The Day Publishing Online 9/9/00

CT – The body of 28-year-old John Diakos was found in a casino parking lot after he committed suicide by ingesting a mixture of drugs and cutting his arms.
The Day Publishing Online 9/9/00

CT – 38-year-old woman of Stamford drowned herself by wading into the Thames River after losing hundreds of dollars at gambling the maximum amount allowed on her credit cards at the casino.
The Day Publishing Online 9/9/00

There have been many more that the news media and newspapers will never share as they think it will give Gambling a bad wrap .. .. ..

PARENTS? YOU Need to read this about your kids and young college bound young adults!

Gambling Is Driving Our Children To Commit Crimes and Suicide

Author & Gambling Recovery Advocate ~ Catherine Townsend-Lyon