Gambling Addiction

Problem gambling, compulsive gambling, pathological gambling, casinos, poker, blackjack, online gambling

Compulsive gambling very costly: It destroys lives, and families, but it can be treated

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Going to play bingo was something 49-year-old Judy did to meet people.

The divorced Chatham mom was lonely and wanted a night out. But in less than a year, the weekly outing became an almost daily excursion.

Although she wouldn't admit it at the time, it was becoming a problem.

"I was going every night and I would spend my whole days off from work there," she said.

At first, she was winning.

"It felt great, I would go back thinking I can win more and then I started losing."

The spread of VLT addiction

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Three years ago, in an effort to save Quebecers from themselves, the provincial government passed legislation to govern video lottery terminals (VLTs). Sounding responsibly prim, the government announced that there would be only 15,065 of them in 4,370 licensed establishments, to which people under 18 years of age would not be admitted.

Evidence mounts against VLTs; Full social costs are emerging

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So great has been the impact of video lottery terminals in Alberta that it is easy to forget how new a phenomenon they are in the province. In just six years they have become the colossus of Alberta gambling, producing 60 per cent of all gambling revenues.

Because they are so new, all the evidence on what these gambling machines are doing to our society is not yet in. Many of us suspect that VLTs are causing great hardship, and we're touched by the individual tragedies that get reported in the newspaper. But the full social costs have been hard to measure.

VLTs turning casual gamblers into addicts -- study

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More than two-thirds of the VLT-addicts surveyed by a provincial government agency say they didn't have a gambling problem until they tried video lottery terminals.

The study, released Friday by the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission, surveyed 84 problem VLT gamblers in 1996.

Most said they had gambled before, but more than two-thirds said VLTs led them to seek treatment.

"From the treatment side, what we see is the addictiveness of the VLTs," said Conservative MLA Jocelyn Burgener who chairs AADAC.

Gambling addiction and the lives it destroys

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It's been 2 1/2 years since her son Trevor killed himself and Phyllis Vineberg is only now beginning to come to terms with what happened.

Gambling killed her son. He was an addict to the crack-cocaine of the gambling world - video lottery terminals, the flashy kind you see in bars. He had tried to beat the addiction several times during the nine years he played VLTs.

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