Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends,
This September is going to be very special! The public will get a glimpse of how gambling addiction has an impact in our communities.
There will be a two-day event, in honor of a very special man I could relate to but was taken from us to soon thanks to “The State Oregon Lottery, Legal State Video Poker and Slots, along with gambling addiction.”
His name is Bobby Hafemann, and like me, he lived in Oregon where gambling is legal through the Oregon State Lottery commission. Here is some of his devastating story Courtesy of my amazing friends at:
Stop Predatory Gambling ~ Visit Stop Predatory Gambling.Org Today
Bobby Hafemann took his life because he became addicted to electronic gambling machines. Who was the primary sponsor and beneficiary of the machines that led to his death? His own state government.
Bobby’s sister, Ronda Hatefi, has organized an annual day in her state for the last twenty years to remember her brother and all of those citizens who have been damaged by government-sponsored gambling.
EUGENE, Ore. — “It’s been nearly 20 years since RondaHatefi lost her older brother to his gambling addiction.”
“(He) just needed everything to stop,” Hatefi said. “We talked about that just shortly before he died, he said ‘I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I’m not functioning, I don’t know how to make it stop’.”
She said her brother, Bobby Hatefi, struggled with a gambling addiction for about 4 years before he took his own life at age 28.
He would go to the bowling alley to play video poker after work. He told his sister it quickly became an obsession.
Ronda remembered her brother telling her, “I don’t do it because it’s fun, I do it because I have to, the paper I put into the machine isn’t money to me, it’s just paper to keep the game going and I don’t know how to get rid of it.”
After losing her brother July 20, 1995, Hatefi decided to use her brother’s story to educate people about gambling addiction.
“That’s who Bobby was, he was an involved person in our family that we all adored and gambling took that from us,” she said.
Shortly after Bobby’s death, she started the organization Oregonians For Gambling Awareness, and petitioned Oregon’s governor to proclaim September 29 as Problem Gamblers Awareness Day.
The state has honored the day for the last 19 years, and Hatefi said she’s found a way to celebrate her brother’s life.
“Because I think honestly (if) Bobby were standing here beside me today, I think he would stand up for this fight,” Ronda said.
Hatefi passes out leaflets to every place in the state that has video lottery machines, hoping they’ll put it on their machines. She said she wants people to know that there is help, and there is hope.
If you want to talk about a possible gambling problem or know someone who may need treatment, call 1-877-MY-LIMIT (695-4648). (This is for Oregon Residents Only)
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You see, Bobby’s story is very much like my own. I lived in Grants Pass, OR from 1987 until Sept 6th 2013, when I moved to Arizona for my husbands work. And I tried and had 2 failed suicide attempts myself. So I know the pain Bobby was feeling. I know those thoughts of thinking it would be better I were dead as to not feel the shame, guilt and feelings of despair because we couldn’t stop gambling. It all becomes to much to bare. Having to admit your weak and have no control is a hopeless feeling.
That is why I advocate against expansion of Indian Casinos and State Lottery services loudly! In Oregon, the lottery commission not only added Keno to their offerings, but then added video poker machines as well. And in the past few years they added video slots to all the video poker machines as well. And they are EVERYWHERE throughout the State. In bars, taverns, restaurants, they even have lottery retail shops popping up all over the place.
As long as food and beverage is served? they can have up to 6 lottery machines in each establishment. Guess who they are making their PROFITS off of? Not the occasional person, no, it’s the problem and addicted gamblers they are making profits from. So it’s time to let the public know and see the “UGLY DOWN SIDE” of this ever-expanding problem of gambling. And that’s what will be happening this Sept 2015!!
“I know, as do so many gamblers, what it feels like to be so desperate and full of pain that I wanted to take my own life. . .
– See more at: http://stoppredatorygambling.org/voices/
First National Day of Action Against Predatory Gambling, Sept. 26 & 27 ~ In Honor of Bobby Hafemann
Bobby’s sister, Ronda Hatefi, has organized an annual day in her state for the last twenty years to remember her brother and all of those citizens who have been damaged by government-sponsored gambling. To highlight the voices and stories of the millions of Americans like Bobby Hafemann, we are organizing the first-ever National Day of Action Against Predatory Gambling on
Sat. Sept. 26 and Sun. Sept. 27. We will publicize how this public policy is dishonest, financially damaging to citizens and contributing to the unfairness and inequality in our country.
Through our creative actions we’ll call attention to the needed shift away from government’s dishonest, predatory and failed experiment with gambling toward a fairer, healthier and more hopeful vision of America’s future. Our common message:
Predatory gambling cheats and harms everyone–even those who don’t gamble.
See more at: http://stoppredatorygambling.org/blog/first-national-day-of-action-against-predatory-gambling-sept-26-27/
We’ve all seen the feel-good proclamations by public officials and their token efforts to stop the damage with their 1-800 phone numbers and their almost meaningless “self-exclusion” policies. But they still keep the machines running, designing them to be even more financially damaging and addictive, while continuing to push more forms of predatory gambling onto citizens and making it even more accessible. This is why we have to confront and protest!! It’s Time!
There will be at least 100 separate actions across the United States. The “action” can be anything you (or your group) want it to be and the list of ideas is limitless. The action should reflect our common message. Some possibilities include: doing a visibility with homemade signs in your community, organizing a prayer vigil, participating in a “Freedom Players” event at a regional casino (or at a local restaurant/tavern with video gambling machines) and so on.
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So my pledge to this cause is to keep sharing all that is happening with this very special weekend here on my Gambling Recovery Blog. As I get more info I’ll share with all of you. I’ll be blogging my own experiences with the Oregon Lottery when I was living in Southern Oregon, and much of it is shared in my current published book,
“Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat” available on Amazon in paperback and e-book.
In Honor of Bobby Hafemann, and this up coming event, my E-book is now only $1.99 all summer long so those in recovery can download and read at a much more affordable price. And remember, gambling addiction is a real disease . . . .
*Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author & Gambling Recovery Advocate*