CONTINUES, but HELP is AVAILABLE
(Investigator 131, 2010
machine players in
South Australia lost a record amount in the year ending June 2006
despite cuts in the number of machines:
figures posted by the
Office of the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner show punters in SA lost
$751 million in 2005-06 – up from $749.2 million the previous year.
lost the money on only
12,598 machines compared with the 14,062 machines in service in
losses at legal gambling venues for 2004-2005 were $1,700 million than
for 2000-2001 with the following breakdown:
Sunday Mail 2006,
September 24, p19)
In December 2008
Australia's Federal Government gave $10 billion to pensioners, families
and carers so as to stimulate the economy and stave off economic
recession. That same month the losses of gamblers to poker machines
reached record highs. Evidently a substantial part of the "stimulus
package" was gambled away at "pokies" and other venues. (The Weekend
Australian 2009, January 24-25, page 10)
March, 2009, a second
stimulus package brought a similar consequence. In South Australia
poker machine takings increased from $57 million in March 2008 to $63
in March 2009. (The Advertiser 2009, April 24. p13)
were no reports of
gamblers becoming rich because, as argued in previous editions of this
magazine, gamblers mostly lose.
casino gambling in
the USA was confined to one state, Nevada, and lotteries to three
states. In 2006 both were legal in 47 states. The result:
are afflicted with pathological gambling and at least 6.1 million with
problem gambling. The social cost, including that for treatment of
gambling addiction, bankruptcy, divorce and crime, is significant… (2)
Phillips in New
Scientist (2006, August 26) asks "Can gambling, shopping, sex
gaming really be as addictive as the hardest drugs?" She says:
number of researchers believe that the same processes lie behind all
addictions, behavioural or chemical, whether it's gambling or shopping,
computer gaming, love, work, exercise, pornography, eating or sex.
1970s the term
"addiction" described heroin abuse. If, however, the above listed
behaviours are addictions rather than overindulgence by choice, and
with similar stressful withdrawal symptoms as drug-withdrawal, the
question arises whether society's response should be treatment rather
All pleasurable stimuli,
natural and unnatural, act on the same "reward" circuitry in the brain.
When we find something desirable, the brain chemical dopamine is
released in the brain.
people can monitor
themselves and stop a certain behaviour before it become excessive, or
if they don't stop and continue until compulsion sets in they can still
choose to attend therapy! This is part of responsible decision-making
in a free society!
GAMBLERS WHO LOST
British tourist, 24, went
to the Sydney casino and gambled away the money for her return fight to
employee lost $8 million in stolen bank money at Sydney's Star City
manager of the
Commonwealth Bank in Western Australia embezzled and lost $19million in
five years. (5)
advisor used $2million of his clients' money to fund his gambling
accountant in a large
engineering company got hooked on internet gambling and lost $22million
of his company's money in four years. (5)
$198,000 by Westpac rather than the $18,000 he had applied for, went on
a betting spree and lost $142,000 in horse racing. He claimed he "could
not restrain himself", which affected his health, and tried to sue
denied any "causal link" between the mistake and the 12-week betting
spree…any loss or injury sustained as a result of the gambling were
brought about by the voluntary acts of the plaintiff… (6)
loans officer, 38,
in the Bendigo Bank pleaded guilty to taking $4.7 million to finance
her gambling habit. (7)
Adelaide a Casino
employee with a "poker machine addiction" that left her "debt ridden"
died after overdosing on medication. (8)
property developer lost
$30 million in Las Vegas. After that he lost another $30 million during
a 16-month gambling spree at a Crown Casino, Victoria. (9) He
subsequently sued because, "the casino allowed him to continue gambling
despite knowing he was a pathological gambler…banned from casinos in
hundreds of millions of dollars on the gaming tables of the world."
(10) His son has been investing in casinos and hopes to profit
$1million per day from "City of Dreams" in Macau:
involve 40,000 people losing an average of $100 apiece. And lose they
will. That's the beauty of casinos. As Mr Packer discovered from
watching his father, punters never win. (Ibid)
gamblers mostly lose is the report titled "Gambling addicts join the
addictions are pushing South Australians onto the
street. (2006, April 7, p. 9)
LOSS OF HEALTH
not only lose
their money but may lose their health as well.
Americans revealed that people who gambled more than five times per
year had greater negative consequences to their health than people who
gambled less often. They had increased heart rate, angina and liver
disease. Considered as forms of gambling were bingo, playing cards,
betting on horses/dogs/sports, lottery tickets, the stock market, and
gambling at casinos. (11)
damage can get
much worse if criminals are involved. In Sydney a drug dealer had an
innocent man killed by sloshing hydrochloric acid in his face because
the man's brother in law gambled away $500,000 of the dealer's drug
money. (11) The gambling-addict brother in law was supposed to launder
$800,000 through Melbourne's Crown Casino but lost most of it.
in good and bad luck
probably arose when people observed that nature often appears
unpredictable and disruptive – earthquakes, storms, floods, disease
epidemics – and that some people survived and prospered whereas others
arose in which charlatans claimed ability to predict or control
outcomes. Hundreds of different methods came into vogue such as
astrology, palmistry, examining animal guts, reading tea leaves, cards,
there are still
numerous organizations and individuals, including supposed psychics,
who advertise and offer good luck – but for a price.
booklet Seven Ways
Attract Good Luck suggests good luck can come from talismans or
with supposed lucky designs such the four leaf clover, rabbit's foot,
scarab beetle, black cat, magic square, horse shoe, and King Solomon's
Seal. The last named could be ordered for $39.90.
however, has not
discovered any "good luck" force which assures hoped-for outcomes at
games of chance. Rather, the mathematically calculated probabilities
nearly always prevail in the long run at roulette, dice, poker machines
and other games even if the gambler possesses a rabbit's foot or other
gambler who calculates
the odds and works out the probability of losing or winning and bets
accordingly, knowing he can't predict the result, is being scientific.
If, however, he thinks he's going to win regardless of probability then
he is trusting in luck and superstition and rejecting sense and
reported in New
Scientist in August 2006 concluded that gambling, sex, shopping and
exercise can all become as addictive as hard drugs.
Griffiths, a Nottingham Trent University psychologist, virtually the
same biological process occurs in the brain of a drug addict as in that
of a gambler.
cases the "high"
released the chemical dopamine into the brain. And in both a tolerance
eventually develops so that a greater dose is needed to achieve same
high. Gamblers played longer and/or bet more money and drug users used
more of the drug.
addicts resist their
craving they experience withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness,
irritability, sweats, headaches, cramps and moodiness. The choice is
either to keep gambling, or get professional help and go through the
female gambler lost up
to $400,000 per year in a 15-year poker machine addiction. She
refinanced her house, "maxed-out" two credit cards, gambled away the
child support, raided her daughter's part-time job earnings, was on
antidepressants, and phoned Lifeline every night. After a "complete
breakdown" at age 36 in 2008 she entered the Gambling Therapy Service
program at Flinders Medical Centre and stopped gambling. (Sunday Mail
2009, July 12, p80)
addictiveness of drugs
and gambling is common knowledge and therefore a person's own
responsibility. With few exceptions the law won't help him get a refund
or assign responsibility to the supplier such as a hotel with gaming
machines since the latter is supplying a lawful service.
gambler, who lost a world-first case aimed at making clubs responsible
for his wagers, has reached the end of the road in his legal battle.
choice is either to keep gambling or get professional help and go
through the withdrawal symptoms.
Reynolds failed yesterday to gain leave to appeal to the High Court.
Reynolds had sued the
Katoomba RSL Club, in the New South Wales Blue Mountains, for nearly
$57,000 in compensation, claiming it failed to prevent him gambling
away thousands of dollars. (13)
not extending credit
to ordinary losers some casinos allow known "high rollers" to cash
cheques for immediate gambling. In one case:
gambling giant Tabcorp for $11.5 million, bouncing cheques in exchange
for cash that he then lost playing baccarat at casinos… (The Australian
2009, January 30, p3)
"Responsible Gamblers Awareness Week". Its theme this year was to:
"Gamble Responsibly; Stay in Control". Four tips to achieve control
coincide with Awareness
Week the Minister for Families and Communities launched several
"resource kits" for combating problem gambling and a government web
for the fun of it, not to make money.
limit that you want to lose and stick to it.
chase your losses, instead walk away.
gambling takes over your life, get help.
2004 gaming machine
venues in South Australia have been subject to "Responsible Gambling
and Advertising Codes of Practice". These place venue licensees under
obligation to introduce various measures to reduce problem gambling.
Office of Problem
Gambling has produced leaflets, brochures, and booklets, to inform
problem gamblers and their family and friends, which are available for
Therapy Service" has offices in various Adelaide suburbs and all large
country towns. Professionals offer clients cognitive behavioural
therapy to extinguish the urge to gamble.
also a 24-hour
Gambling Help Line offering free counselling.
articles on gambling appeared in #19, #25, #34, #63, #86, #90, #96,
#107, and #110.
consistent message has
been that any feeling that winning is just ahead is subjective and
unscientific, and that in fact gamblers mostly lose. If you want
greater financial security it's better to bank your money than to than
1 The Advertiser
2 Scientific American
3 The Advertiser
4 The Advertiser
September 2, p7
5 The Australian
6. The Australian
June 2, p5
7. The Advertiser
June 16, p7
8. The Weekend
2009 May 16-17, p9
9. The Australian
10. Sunday Mail
2006 Volume 68, pp 976-984
12. The Weekend
2006 December 2-3, p9
13 The Advertiser
August 10, p14