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

 

Advertisement

The Oregonian Puts A Spotlight on Addicted and Problem Gambling With The Oregon Lottery: “Selling Addiction.”

The Oregonian Puts A Spotlight on Addicted and Problem Gambling With The Oregon Lottery: “Selling Addiction.”

“While researching data and facts last week for my week-long blogging for “The National Week Of Action Against Predatory Gambling” along with Les Bernal, my hardworking friend over at
Stop Predatory Gambling, I happen to come across a series that is written by  Senior Political reporter Harry Esteve on the Oregon Lottery and it’s called:   “Selling Addiction” series ….  
It is a very interesting series about how “The Oregon Lottery Offerings” have affected many Oregonians and their families.”


See, I lived in Southern Oregon for over 26 years before moving to Arizona in late 2013 and I to had  become addicted to the Oregon ‘Lotteries Video Poker/Slot Machines’ that were introduced back in 1991 and Keno way before that. If you have read my book “Addicted To Dimes,” then you know how that all turned out for me, NOT GOOD. Yes, I did also gamble at an Indian Casino 40 miles North of my home, but it was the slot machines by the Oregon Lottery that fueled my gambling addiction most times because of access.  They are everywhere!!

I could walk across the street to the bar and gamble, walk up a block and there were 3 more lottery retailers with machines I could gamble on. And so on. I was gambling 2 to 4 times a day at my worst of my addiction. In turn, I attempted suicide twice and blessed I failed. But many others were not AS fortunate. as I. This series will share much of that as well  .  .  .  .

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Harry Esteve | hesteve@oregonian.com
By Harry Esteve | hesteve@oregonian.com
on December 06, 2013 at 8:07 AM.

Oregon Lottery: Readers continue sharing stories of bankruptcy, shame, despair…

The Oregonian invited readers to share Oregon Lottery experiences in a questionnaire. We published dozens of their stories as part of our “Selling Addiction” series, and that led to even more submissions. Here are some of the latest to come in. Because of the personal nature of comments, many asked that their names be withheld all or in part.

Portland,OR woman, 52

Have you ever won a big prize?

I won $1,500 on Big 5 when it first came out. I think that was the beginning of my slide into problem gambling.

When you play, do you sometimes feel you have a problem stopping even though you know you should?

Yes, my mother gave me some money and instead of going to my bank I spent it gambling. It made me feel bad, remorseful, stupid — all the names one could call themselves.

Has your life been affected by gambling?

Yes, it has impacted relationships and my ability to save for retirement. It has caused me to come close to lying which is something I never do and to spend money I should not be spending. It is sneaky and insidious when you get the gambling bug. I’m an educated women and I feel like I should know better but when I start it is hard to stop. I do not like the person I have become since I have become addicted and I struggle every day with fighting the urge. I worry about my future.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

The Oregon Lottery management has no vested interest in helping gamblers and is only interested in hitting targets, etc., and how to hook more gamblers. I feel like they do everything in their power with ads, putting signs outside buildings that I have to see everywhere I drive which tempt people like me, to hook and retain problem gamblers. The lottery should have an overseeing agency to put them into check.

For example, the lottery should not be allowed to advertise on buses/TV/papers nor put its signage outside business establishments. They have an obligation to help the very people they purposefully attracted. Ten percent of their revenues should be dedicated to problem addicts and making help/programs more accessible in better parts of town. But they don’t want to treat the problem gamblers because if they do, they will lose the very people they depend upon. Oregon should have never gone down this slippery slope.

Beaverton, OR man, 33

How much money do you spend on a typical outing to play video poker or line games?

$100 to $400.

What do you enjoy about playing lottery games?

They are fun to play, and they are very addictive. The thrill of possibly winning big is what keeps me playing.

Have you ever won a big prize?

I have won $800 and $600 and won a couple of times of $400-500. I hit the max credit and won twice, and that is a wonderful feeling. Losing that much is the exact opposite.

Have you ever lost more than you could afford?

I have always paid my bills on time, but I have lost a lot of money to the point where I could have paid off my bills rather than just making the monthly payment to stay current. I have used cash advances on some credit cards but have then paid them off only to do the same thing over and over again.

When you play, do you sometimes feel you have a problem stopping even though you know you should?

For sure! I can sit at a machine for hours drinking and playing, going back and forth from the machine to the ATM and back. I think that I’ll just pop into the bar on the way home from work as the wife won’t be home for another hour or so and play 40 bucks. Three hours later and a couple of lies, and you head back home down $300. You go in there thinking, “I can win $300” only to lose the very $300 you were trying to win and MORE!

Have you ever sought help for gambling addiction?

Never have sought help. Currently trying to coach myself to quit, but it is very hard, knowing I can be at a machine within 10 to 15 minutes, sometimes less, from just about anywhere in this state. I think typing this out is a big step for me: To admit to myself that I do have a problem but with the hope to correct the problem.

Has your life been affected by problem gambling?

For sure. The amount of money I have wasted playing these highly addictive and expensive video games would total over $15,000 over the past 12 years, with the most damage coming in the past five years. Could have paid off several bills sooner than I did. Could have all that money saved for a down payment on a home or in an IRA. Have lied to others about where I have been and what I was doing. Wake up the next morning with the worst feeling I have ever had. A feeling of remorse and regret and shame. Feelings that humans should not have to feel from a “game” or “entertainment.”

Do you think the benefits from Oregon Lottery revenues — to schools, parks and such — outweigh the harm caused by problem gambling?

I get that the “State” benefits from a small population of the state, but I believe that there are other ways to get money for schools and parks and feel that this is a problem that the majority of people don’t ever speak about so the numbers are probably higher than reported. My short answer is NO.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I believe that for myself and my family that if these machines weren’t in the bars and delis, then I would not be gambling. It’s that simple for me. That may sound like an excuse but “out of sight is out of mind.” Spirit Mountain and Chinook Winds are quite a drive. It’s certainly not right around the corner but you know what is?? About 15 to 25 bars on my way home from work.

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Mike Burton, 72, Vancouver, OR

I served in the Oregon House of Representatives 1985-1995. I made several attempts to curb the lottery in 1985 and then video lottery in 1991.

My objection to video poker is three-fold:

1. The easy access just makes it easier for problem players to lose.

2. The losers, as your article’s point out, are those who can least afford to lose. We knew this in 1991; no one listened. Then-Senate President Kitzhaber (after I had the expansion bill stopped in the House) came down from his podium and made an impassioned plea to pass the bill, saying there were no problems.

3. Worse, it creates a false economy. That is, there is very little created in the way of “new” money or jobs, it simply shifts the money around and the state becomes the addict here, depending on its revenues to fill the budget and always being hungry for more. This avoids the real debate about fees and taxes because lottery winnings are a “tax” on someone else — a stupid tax.


Vancouver man, 65

How much money do you spend on a typical outing to play video poker or line games?

$200-$2,000

Have you ever won a big prize?

Oh, yeah, that’s part of compulsive gambling, winning the big one and giving it all back and then some.

Have you ever lost more than you could afford?

I have enough money and can afford to lose big, but it isn’t about the money. It becomes a living lie of deceit, deception and not facing up to one’s problem.

Have you ever sought help for gambling addiction?

I have. I regularly attend GA meetings and work the 12 steps “day by day.” It has helped, at least yesterday and hopefully today!

Has your life been affected by problem gambling?

Yes, the self-deception and lying to oneself about the problem have been tough to overcome. I’m a college-educated, smart guy. I have a great job and earn $150,000 per year. The people who work for me and with me respect me. I am well-known in my community for my work with youth baseball. Yet, when it came to gambling, I didn’t have the sense of a goat. I couldn’t stop until I’d maxed my daily withdrawal on my cash advances. The only way I’m beating this is “day-to-day.”

Do you think the benefits from Oregon Lottery revenues — to schools, parks and such — outweigh the harm caused by problem gambling?

No, the state should realize the lottery is nothing more than a regressive tax. The majority of those who lose can’t afford to lose. I see it at my GA meetings week in and week out. “I got paid from my job waiting tables and lost it all. … How am I going to pay my bills?” It’s ugly, real ugly. But, as I am a compulsive gambler, the state, too, is hooked on it. The fact that more up-to-date slots are coming speaks volumes. The state will continue to bleed those addicts dry and will create another generation of them.

Gail, 66, Tigard, OR

How long have you played Lottery games in Oregon?

I seldom play; it’s my 85-year-old mother who has a gambling addiction.

How much money do you spend on a typical outing to play video poker or line games?

She’s lost, as far as we can calculate, around a quarter of a million dollars in the last 10 to 15 years.

Have you ever sought help for gambling addiction?

She did seek counseling a few years ago. Until they said they were being “shut down” due to lack of funds. It didn’t do any good, anyway. She lied to us and to the counselors.

Do you know other people who have a problem with gambling?

I just know that my mother’s problem is really sick and sad and disgusting. And it’s really caused a major problem in our family. I should mention, her gambling has gotten much worse since the death of my dad eight years ago.

Beaverton woman, 41

How long have you played Lottery games in Oregon?

I have played scratch-off tickets since I was about 10 years old. My parents would buy them for me and cash them in if we won anything. I began playing Keno when I was a teenager in restaurants with my parents. I began playing video lottery machines when I was 25, and I have had a gambling problem since I was 26.

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Where do you typically play?

I will play anywhere that has a video poker machine if I am by myself. Nobody talks to each other. There are people who will use the ATM repeatedly and hit the buttons on the machines in frustration when they are losing their money. I will often find a bar or restaurant downtown near my workplace and play on my lunch breaks. It was always the same people playing when I arrived, who appeared to be workers downtown also.

How much money do you spend on a typical outing to play video poker or line games?

I have lost an entire paycheck the day I was paid within a matter of 90 minutes. If I begin gambling, I will spend as much cash as I have on me. As soon as I’m started, I am completely out of control.

What do you enjoy about playing lottery games?

Nothing anymore. It is fun to win until you play because you have to win. I gamble infrequently compared to as much as I did six months ago. Six months ago, I was playing before work because Maddy’s opened at 7 a.m., playing on lunch breaks at bars downtown and playing on my way home.

Have you ever won a big prize?

I won two $2,500 jackpot prizes in two days. I have won a third $2,500 jackpot and another $1,500 jackpot. There are countless times I would win $500 over an initial investment of $60 or less. It was a rush to see them count out all of those $20 bills on the bar and being unable to close my wallet. It was a rush to live recklessly with financial abandon with my winnings for a day or two after winning.

Have you ever lost more than you could afford?

I have a discharged Chapter 7 bankruptcy from multiple payday loans, maxed out credit cards and overdraft checking account fees. I’ve been sued multiple times for failing to repay obligations. The rest of my family is very financially responsible. I haven’t told anyone that I’ve been bankrupted. I feel like a liar and a cheat like I would be a complete embarrassment to my parents, and despite a college education and a very good job, I feel like I am the biggest idiot to ever come out of my gene pool.

When you play, do you sometimes feel you have a problem stopping even though you know you should?

I closed my bank account and cut up my ATM card. If I had access to any more cash, I would spend it. If I ran out of all resources, I would use a hot check and get a payday loan to cover basic expenses, sometimes to gamble more. At one time, I was juggling five payday loans at once, using one to pay off another, re-borrowing to pay off another — it was a vicious cycle.

Have you ever sought help for gambling addiction?

1-877-MYLIMIT (The Oregon Lottery Help Line) – is honestly a complete joke. Many of the programs they referred me to serve criminal clientele as well, so you feel like even more of a lowlife for having a problem. Most of the programs they referred me to in the Portland area did not return my calls seeking treatment. I sought the help of a psychiatrist, who put me on the prescription drug Naloxone, which is an opioid antagonist, hoping to change the reward structure in my brain so that I could somehow find gambling less exciting. I completed an intensive outpatient mental health program through ‘Kaiser Permanente’ four months ago after completing a bankruptcy and suffering from suicidal ideation.

Has your life been affected by problem gambling?

My life has been affected in every way by problem gambling. I tell half-truths or even bald-faced lies to my friends and family about my whereabouts or my finances. I’m nearly 30; I do not live on my own because I haven’t been able to afford to, I’m bankrupt, and I have difficulty meeting my basic needs. I feel like I have to start my adulthood completely over again and learn better financial habits due to the wreck that the Oregon Lottery has helped me to make out of my life.

Do you think the benefits from Oregon Lottery revenues — to schools, parks and such — outweigh the harm caused by problem gambling?

No. I think the Oregon Lottery should be shut down as soon as possible. There is nothing good that can come out of it. The devastation it causes people should not be used for revenue by the government. The justification — providing schoolchildren with materials they need or providing medicine to the poor and ill — should not be any type of excuse for this type of pain and devastation. Oregon is in the business of ruining lives.

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“I feel like a liar and a cheat” Now this statement from this person interviewed for this article is exactly the way I FELT when I gambled addictively. And is why I added it to the Title of MY Book/Memoir. I did FEEL like a Liar and a Cheat!  That is what Compulsive Gambling Addiction turned me into, a liar and a cheat.

It was my way of taking accountability and ownership of all my “Character Defect and to those, I had HURT  within my addiction.” So that statement she made was powerful to me when I read it. I will be sharing much of this series all week & weekend long . . . .

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Author & Recovery Columnist,
Catherine Townsend-Lyon


Product Details

( Ebook now on sale for 3.10! )
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“How does a Good Girl Go Bad? Based on the author’s true life story and experiences told in the author’s own words, without polish or prose, a haunting tale of gambling addiction, dark family secrets, living with undiagnosed PTSD, and much more. She has overcome, she has triumphed in recovery one day at a time. So read this woman’s remarkable brave story!”


Senior Population Is At Great Risk Due To Casino Expansions…

Is It Time to Slow Down The Expansion Of Casino’s And State Lotteries? YES!!

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Senior Citizens Feeling the Grip of Gambling Addiction
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With the availability of casinos in more than half of the U.S. states, senior citizens are becoming more and more addicted to gambling.

According to the Las Vegas Problem Gambling Center, around 40% of the people they see are over the age of 50 and more disturbing is that often chronic health conditions within this group are related to gambling addiction.

Some years ago, San Diego Mayor Maureen O’Connor who is in her 60’s and who was addicted to video poker, landed herself in a $13 million debt to various casinos and even at one point, she used more than $3 million from a charity foundation that her late husband had set up.

The problem seems to be growing daily as the number of casinos in the U.S. has grown from being limited to Atlantic City and Nevada while now, these casinos are available in more than 30 states with more on the way.

Without consistent monthly income, these seniors are cashing in their social security checks in the hope of catching the big one, but this just isn’t the case and the gambling addiction problem is simply growing daily.

*Some News About Gambling Casino & State Lottery Expansions*
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It is clearly evident that there is a common desire in Colorado to expand gambling in order to boost the economy. A Rhode Island company, Twin River Worldwide Holdings, is leading a group of Canadians to try and expand gambling to the Pueblo, Arapahoe and Mesa counties.
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Colorado Working On Expanding Gambling

It seems that various Colorado communities are considering expanding gambling in order to boost the economy in the region.

Meanwhile, others are trying to expand gambling on the Western slope while limited stakes gambling could be up for a vote soon. Since the state has already legalized the use of marijuana, Action 22, which is a regional group lobbying for gambling in the south of Colorado, feels that gambling should be expanded in the region.

Opposing these groups is the Colorado Gaming Association who already represents casinos in Central City, Black Hawk and Cripple Creek. Their objections are against the fact that the new casinos will be large Vegas–style casinos and that the initiative will give the Arapahoe Park owner a 5-year monopoly on Front Range gaming in the state.

As a result of this conflict of interest, existing hotels in the area such as the Monarch Casino Black Hawk has placed their intended expansions on hold until the final outcome of this initiative.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office has received two measures to allow table games, slots and video lottery terminals at the Aurora racetrack as well as two other future racetracks in Mesa and Pueblo counties.

The upside of this initiative is that the community would receive 2% of the casino profits as well as $10m in upfront fees while the State will receive $25M. Meanwhile, Trinidad is also considering gaming in the area and Tom Acre, the City Manager, has said that he will bring up this topic at the City Council retreat.
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*Now I don’t know about you, but I’m getting very TIRED of States using gambling profits to boost the “State Budget Short Falls” as we already have to pay a TAX on many other things like Gas, Smokes, and Alcohol. And THEY use the excuse that “State Lottery Profits” are going to help our schools, and other services, but why then is our schools still CLOSING? Why are the school’s Music, Band, and Sports programs STILL getting CUT? I think it’s time for STATES to find other ways besides Gambling Profits to fix their Budget Woes!*

And Lastly, more about our Senior’s and Problem Gambling,…
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“Seniors Impetus & Problem Gambling”
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Who’d know, that conscious and adult people could be hooked by gambling addiction. Serious games for seniors can be converted into the most serious addiction problem, because it’s really hard to convince mature people that they are not right and their life style, which leads to the serious problems, is incorrect.
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Loneliness, boredom are just individual problems, which can happen in life of every adult person, really provoke different desperate decisions, provoking addiction symptoms. It is considered that gamblers of female gender tend to play such games, as slots more often, and thus they express their escapism, while men, who vice versa want to feel as valid members of society, are playing such games, as roulette or craps.

At first, adults perceive gambling as a kind of luxurious entertainment that they seldom experience because of a full-time job and very brief weekends. Gambling is not an innocent amusement, during which people just relax and get pleasure. The strong and sharp feelings of heat and greed, which it evokes, can cause a wish to continue playing all the time.
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Statistics announces that one among 10 seniors usually have all the possibilities to become one of the addicted gamblers. The members of this age group just don’t come to the casino in order to have a chat or great recreation, the greatest idea of luck is being generated in the brain of every senior person during gambling it’s like a check of destiny for them. The doctor of Psychology of Medical Centre in Nebraska indicates that all the sorts of entertainment for seniors, especially if they like it very much; tend to grow into some kind of addiction. Their life is too monotonous to resist those incredible feelings of freedom and luck.
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During the period from 1974 till 1994, the seniors’ gamblers percentage grew for 30% (from 20% to 50%). The main factor is that adults are really obstinate and just refuse to hear and to acknowledge the fact of their guiltiness. If for the teenagers and just young people, it’s quite possible to give childish explanations for serious outcomes of problem gambling, seniors just don’t understand it.
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And the most horrible thing in the entire situation with adults’ addiction is that their children suffer. And it’s not the case, where one of the spouses just can abandon an addict and finish suffering. Here, children are powerless, and there are no people that could instruct the gamblers in more of the cases. Children face lots of risk to become the same and follow the mother’s\father’s example. Their child can have the highest psychological complications and an adjustment disorder, observing adult’s addiction. Even such a serious syndrome as Oppositional Defiant Disorder can be provoked in the gambler’s children (especially in boys).
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*Yes, this is true about our loved ones are effected to when we become addicted to gambling. This will be my next “Topic” I’ll explore and blog in my next post. To share insights from the our loved ones, family, and our friends who may have been hurt while we where in the worst of our addiction! I hope this information has been helpful to you. Not just those in recovery, or those who are reaching out to stop the “insanity” of gambling addiction, but for those who don’t know that these things do happen. To help shatter the stigma around an addiction that is so Socially Accepted by our society. YOU CAN BECOME ADDICTED*…
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National Hotline for Gambling Help ~ 1-800-522-4700
National Suicide Hotline ~ 1-800-273-8255
Stop Predatory Gambling ~ http://stoppredatorygambling.org
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GOD BLESS ALL,
AUTHOR, CATHERINE TOWNSEND-LYON
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*UPDATE/REMINDER*…. AN IMPORTANT DOCUMENTARY IS AIRING TONIGHT ABOUT GAMBLING ADDICTION*!
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http://www.mpt.org/understandingjoy/
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Understanding Joy:
The Devastation of a Gambling Addiction
Premiering Wednesday, March 19 at 8pm
An MPT co-production with MedSchool Maryland Productions

With an estimated 150,000 problem gamblers in the state and a growing number of casino-based gambling opportunities available in Maryland and surrounding states, problem gambling has become epidemic. To explore the issue, MPT presents Understanding Joy: The Devastation of a Gambling Addiction, a revealing documentary on the destructive nature of gambling addiction. The one-hour special also will feature a panel of experts and a call-in telephone bank to respond to viewers’ questions or requests for help.
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Produced by Susan Hadary and John Anglim of MedSchool Maryland Productions and with funding by the Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling, a program of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Understanding Joy enters the mind of Joy, a 57-year-old woman. Joy’s gambling addiction has overcome her sense of morality and driven her to embezzle $700,000 from two employers. As she awaits sentencing for her crime, Joy struggles to explain her disease to her children, to the world, and to herself.
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Understanding Joy executive producer for MPT Frank Batavick explains that the documentary will be presented in three segments. During breaks between segments, MPT anchor Yolanda Vazquez will interview nationally recognized local experts on gambling addiction and responsible gambling. These experts and specially trained counselors will be available to receive calls from the public during and after the broadcast at the MPT toll-free number 1-800-222-1292.
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To address the increase in problem gambling, the Maryland Center of Excellence of Program Gambling supports an ongoing public awareness campaign to help problem gamblers and their families become familiar with the symptoms of the addiction and how to get help. The center maintains a 24-hour help line (1-800-522-4700) and a public awareness website (www.mdproblemgambling.com) and supports numerous public outreach initiatives through MedSchool Maryland Productions….
*PLEASE VISIT HERE FOR MORE INFO*
http://www.mdproblemgambling.com
>     MD Problem Gambling     ‏@MDCEPG         

*IF YOU don’t live in MD, it will stream live on Twitter!*