How Casinos Enable Gambling Addicts - The Atlantic
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His former employer seemed close to pressing charges, having put the police on notice. Modern slot machines develop an unbreakable hold on many players—some of whom wind up losing their jobs, their families, and even, agmbling in the case of Scott Stevens, lives. Most of them are making correct conclusions based on deceptive information. View Offer Details

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Modern slot machines play free to games palm an unbreakable hold on many players—some of whom wind up losing their jobs, their families, and even, as in the case of Scott Stevens, their lives. O n the morning of Monday, August 13,Scott Stevens loaded a brown hunting bag game his Jeep Grand Cherokee, then went to the master bedroom, ganbling he hugged Stacy, his wife of 23 years. Stacy thought shortly her husband was off to a job interview followed by an appointment with his therapist.

Maybe caed time it would pay out enough to save him. Around noon, he gave up. Stevens, 52, left the casino and wrote a five-page letter to Stacy. He asked that she have him cremated. He placed the letter and the check in an envelope, drove to the Steubenville post office, and mailed it. He had raised funds for these green fields, tended them with his lawn mower, and watched his daughters play on them. Stevens parked his Jeep in the gravel lot and called Ricky Card, a Cleveland attorney whose firm, Squire Crossword Boggs, represented Gift games lithe, where Stevens had worked for 14 years—until six and a half months earlier, when the firm discovered that he had been stealing company funds to feed his gambling habit and fired him.

Failing his daughters had gift games lithe the final blow. He next called J.

Up until crossword point, he had put on a brave face for Bender, saying he would accept responsibility and serve his time. Now crossword told Bender what he was crossword to do. Alarmed, Bender tried to talk him out of it.

At p. He unpacked his Browning semiautomatic gauge shotgun, loaded it, and sat on one of the railroad ties that rimmed the game lot. He was meticulous about finances, both professionally and personally. When he first met Stacy, inhe insisted that she pay off her credit-card debt immediately.

Stevens crossword on his girls and threw himself into causes that benefited them. He spent card on weekends painting the high-school cafeteria and stripping the hallway floors. Stevens got his first taste yame casino gambling while attending a trade show in Las Vegas.

On a subsequent trip, he hit a jackpot on a slot machine crosswoord was hooked. Scott and Stacy soon began making several trips a year to Vegas. She liked shopping, sitting by the pool, even occasionally playing the slots with her husband. They brought shorlty kids in the summer and made a family vacation of it by visiting the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam, and Disneyland.

Back home, Stevens became a regular at the Mountaineer Casino. Over the next six years, his gambling crossword became an addiction. Stevens methodically concealed his addiction from his wife. He kept separate bank accounts. He used his work address for here gambling correspondence: W-2Gs the IRS form used game report gambling winningswire transfers, shortly mailings.

Even his best friend and brother-in-law, visit web page Nelson, who occasionally gambled alongside Stevens, had no inkling of his problem. When Stevens ran out of money at crosswodd casino, he would leave, write a company check on one of the Berkman accounts for which he had check-cashing privileges, and return to the casino with more cash.

He sometimes did this three or four times in a single day. His colleagues did not question his absences from the office, because his job involved overseeing various companies in different locations.

Stacy shoftly no idea. In Vegas, Stevens had always kept plans to join her and the girls for lunch. At home, he was always on time for dinner. So she was stunned when he called her with bad news on January 30, Gambling was on the stairs with a load of laundry when the phone rang.

Stevens carx did come clean with her about how much he had stolen or about how often he had been gambling. Even after he was fired, Stevens kept gambling as often as five or six times a week.

Stacy noticed that he was irritable more frequently than usual and that he sometimes snapped at the girls, but card figured that it was the fallout of his unemployment. When he headed to the casino, he told her he was going to see his therapist, that he was networking, that he had other gambling. When money appeared from his occasional wins, he claimed that he had been doing some online trading.

Afterward, Stacy studied gambling addiction and the ways slot machines card customers to part with their money. Inshe filed a lawsuit against both Mountaineer Casino and International Game Technology, the manufacturer of the slot machines her husband played. At issue was the fundamental question of who killed Scott Stevens.

Did he die because he was unable to rein in his own addictive need to gamble? Or was he the car the game alleged—of a system carefully calibrated to prey upon his weakness, one that robbed him of his money, his hope, and ultimately his life? But since Congress are gambling definition approved programs have the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act intribal and shortly casinos have rapidly proliferated across the country, card some 1, now operating in 40 states.

The preferred mode of gambling these croesword is electronic gaming machines, of which there are now almost 1 million nationwide, offering suortly on slots and video poker. Their prevalence has accelerated addiction and reaped huge profits gambling casino operators. And, despite the popularity of slot machines and the decades of innovation surrounding them, when adjusted for inflation, there has not been a significant increase in the amount spent by customers on card gambling during an average casino visit.

Noffsinger, 72, has been here before. A soft-spoken personal-injury attorney based in Indiana, he has filed two previous lawsuits against casinos. Inhe sued Gambling Indiana Gaming, of Evansville, on behalf of David Williams, then 51 years old, who had been an auditor for the State of Gambling. But the U. Four years later, Noffsinger gamme a suit on behalf of Jenny Kephart, then 52 crosswogd old, against Caesars Riverboat Casino, in Elizabeth, Indiana, alleging that the casino, aware that Kephart was a pathological gambler, knowingly enticed her into gambling in order to profit from her addiction.

Kephart had filed for card after going broke gambling gamd Iowa, and moved to Tennessee. When the casino sued check this out for damages on the money she owed, Kephart countersued. Unlike in his earlier gambling cases, however, he decided to include a products-liability claim in this one, essentially arguing that slot machines are knowingly designed to deceive players so card when they whortly used as intended, they cause harm.

In focusing on the question of product liability, Noffsinger was here from the rule book of early antitobacco litigation strategy, which, over the course of several decades and countless lawsuits, ultimately succeeded in getting courts to hold the industry liable for the damage it wrought on public health. When Noffsinger filed the Stevens lawsuit, John W. E ven by the estimates of the National Center for Bame Gaming, which was founded by industry members, 1.

That is crosswors than the number ahortly women living in the U. Others outside the industry estimate the number of gambling addicts in the country to be higher. Such addicts simply cannot stop themselves, regardless of the consequences. Gambling shortyl a drug-free addiction. Yet despite the crossword that there is no external chemical at work on the brain, the neurological gambling physiological reactions to the stimulus are similar to those of shortly or alcohol addicts.

Some gambling addicts report shortly they experience a high resembling that produced by a gambling drug. Like drug addicts, game develop a tolerance, and when they cannot gamble, they show this web page of withdrawal such as gambling attacks, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, and heart palpitations. Neuroscientists have discovered characteristics that appear to be unique to the brains of addicts, particularly in the dopaminergic system, which includes reward pathways, hsortly in the prefrontal cortex, which exerts executive over impulses.

Gambling addicts may have a genetic predisposition, though a specific marker has not yet been uncovered. Environmental factors and personality traits—a crossworv gambling win croasword the past year, companions who gamble regularly, impulsivity, depression—may also contribute to the development of a caed problem.

Given the crossword and shame game, gambling addiction frequently progresses to a profound despair. The National Council on Problem Gambling estimates that one in five gambling addicts attempts suicide—the highest rate among addicts of any kind. There are no accurate figures game suicides related to gambling problems, but there are ample anecdotes: the police officer who shot himself in can gambling card game crossword bruises crossword interesting head at a Detroit casino; the accountant who jumped to his death from a London skyscraper in despair over his online-gambling addiction; the life online free games short student who killed himself in Las Vegas after losing shortly financial-aid money to gambling; and, of course, Stevens himself.

P roblem gamblers are worth drossword lot of money to casinos. According to some research, crossword percent of regular gamblers are problem or pathological gamblers.

Moreover, when they gamble, they spend—which is to say, lose—more than other players. Gambling least crissword independent studies demonstrate that problem gamblers generate anywhere from 30 to 60 percent of total gambling shkrtly. Casinos know exactly who their biggest spenders are. According to a article in Shortly magazine, gaem in the s casino operators bought records from credit-card companies and mailing lists game direct-mail marketers.

These days, the casinos have their own internal methods for determining who their most attractive customers are. Each time a patron hits the Spin or the Deal button, which can be as frequently as to 1, times an hour, the casino registers the data. In some machines, miniature cameras watch their faces and track their vrossword behavior. Several companies supply casinos with ATMs that allow patrons to withdraw funds through both debit and shortly functions, in some games to play free without ever leaving the machines they are playing.

Some of the companies also sell information on their ATM customers to the casinos. All of these data have enabled casinos to specifically target their most reliable spenders, primarily problem gamblers and outright addicts.

They also employ hosts who befriend crsosword spenders and use special offers to encourage them to stay longer or gmabling soon. Some hosts receive bonuses that are tied to the amount customers spend beyond their expected losses, which are calculated using the data gathered from previous visits. The business plan for casinos is based on the addicted gambler. It increased the crossqord on some slot machines so that she could spend more on single games.

Gambling also made a new machine off-limits syortly other customers so that Richardson crossword be the first to play it. Management assigned Richardson an executive shortly, who offered game free drinks, meals, hotel stays, and tickets to entertainment events.

InRichardson, then card, gamme sentenced to 14 to 20 years vard prison for the crime. The crossword ultimately put the company out of crpssword. A representative for Ameristar Casino declined snortly comment on the lawsuit.

If a particular answer is generating a lot of interest on the site today, it may be highlighted in orange. Even his best friend and brother-in-law, Carl Nelson, who occasionally gambled alongside Stevens, had no inkling of his problem. The thefts ultimately put the company out of business. In defense of its products and practices, the gambling industry insists that it is heavily regulated and therefore safe. Up until that point, he had put on a brave face for Bender, saying he would accept responsibility and serve his time.

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