Between January and June 2019, I spent a little over $20K at my local casino. Out of curiosity, I printed out my win/loss statement and gawked at the flimsy receipt with horror as I realized how much I had actually spent.
Why did I spend so much at the casino? Because I am an addict. I liken my addiction to being a crackhead. Seriously. The moment I hit the casino floor, an adrenaline rush flows through my veins. The anticipation of possibly winning a jackpot fills me with hope and I power walk to my favorite machine hoping there’s an empty seat available.
My favorite game is Ultimate Fire Link. I will plop down in my seat and load the machine with anywhere between $300 and $500. I’ve won $1,500, $2,500, and $4,500 on this machine. But I have lost much more than I have won. Although I know that I’ve lost more than I’ve gained from playing, I can’t help but run back every time I have extra money.
The sad reality is that no one is treating gambling like the addictive drug it is. When you’ve got a gambling habit, you start noticing the other regulars at your local casino who are struggling just like you are. I’ve met so many people who spent their rent money at the tables or slots and leave with a scowl on their faces. I’ve met people complaining about dipping into their children’s college fund. I’ve even met a few people who stand around plotting on others to win so that they can beg for a measly $20. When my funds start to get low, my hands shake sometimes. Is that not like a drug addiction?
As many as 10 million Americans live with gambling addiction. It’s a quiet addiction that mostly goes unnoticed. 63% of Gamblers Anonymous members reported writing bad checks, and approximately 30% reported stealing from work. More than 60% of people reported wanting help, but only 25% sought assistance.
I still struggle daily with my addiction. In 2019, I spend in total $30K on slot machines. This year I vowed to work harder on beating my addiction, and I have gone to the casino less frequently, but it keeps calling me.
If you can relate, there’s help out there for us. Give them a call today. http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/hotlines