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Extreme Gambling: Addiction Or Obsession? Essay

2390 words - 10 pages

Gambling in the United States seems to be as American as apple pie. Going to the convenience store to pick up your weekly lottery ticket, then day dreaming about what you would do if you won. I have actually calculated how much I would give to each family member, how many houses I would buy and trips I would take. Once a year I take my wife to the casino for her birthday. We take a couple hundred dollars and spend all night at the roulette table, then end the night at the slot machine. It can be an expensive and rewarding night out. I mean we spend all year paying bills, saving money, and taking care of our children, so one night out is deserved. Now could you imagine if that one night out turned into once a month, then once a week, until you are gambling everyday? Over 15 million Americans have this problem, and that number is growing everyday. The world of gambling has exploded over the last 35 years and continues to rise. The numbers of casinos have increased ten times since 1973 and net profits have reached over $30 billion annually. There are 28 states with land based casinos; not including riverboats, dog tracks and poker rooms, and 260 Indian Casinos alone. There are 37 states with lotteries and over 2,500 online gaming sites. On line gambling is the fastest growing form of gambling with profits of over $17 billion annually, and all of them are illegal in the US.

According to The Center and Dr. Jantz, there are six types of gamblers; the Professional gambler is someone who gambles as his primary source of income. The Social Gambler is someone who goes to the casino infrequently and spends very little money or time gambling. The Serious Social Gambler is the most common. Gambling is their only source of entertainment; they spend any or all disposable income gambling, and often become completely absorbed while gambling. The Relief and Escape Gambler is someone who uses gambling to make them happy. They will spend time gambling after anything stressful or if things aren’t going their way. The Compulsive Gambler is where Serious Social gambling often leads to. Gambling will consume them. They will start blowing off work, family and friends. Often times this will lead to criminal behavior to support the habit. Last is the Anti-Social Gambler. This person has already been living a life of crime, so robbery or fraud is nothing new to them. These people often fix games or cheat to win as well. Problem gamblers are usually Men, high rollers/large losses, with an income of less then $10K per year. The average debt of a problem gambler will exceed $55K or $15K for women. The divorce rates are twice as high, and suicide rates are twenty times higher for a problem gambler; in fact one in five problem gamblers will attempt suicide. Research done by Keith Whyte (Executive Director of National Council on Problem Gambling) shows; that gambling addictions are not about being greedy, but the act of “winning” is what they...

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