Taking a beating on bets - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Taking a beating on bets

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TOLEDO, Ohio -

There's no doubt the Hollywood Casino has been extremely successful since it's debut. The addition to Toledo prompted us to explore the darker side of gambling.  

Nearly $1 billion is risked on gambling every year.  A local woman we spoke to asked not to be identified, she tells us gambling almost destroyed her life.  

  "I lost my husband and I have a child that won't speak to me. I was losing paychecks, unable to support my family. I could not get cash on me without wanting to go to the casino. That was how I lived," she says

  She says slot machines were her guilty pleasure.  

"If I put 20 dollars in and didn't win, I would put money in until I won and when I did I would put all that back in," she says.  

 When the cash she had ran out- she stole money to fund her gambling.  

"I embezzled from my employer and I went to prison for it."

She's what experts call an escape gambler playing the odds with machines to escape reality.

 "Some people gamble for excitement. Some people gamble to numb themselves," says Louis Weigle, gambling counselor    

Weigle says problem gambling is more than just an addiction, it's a disease.  

"It's a problem that can evolve into an addiction and once it becomes an addiction there changes that take effect that are measurable in the brain, that alters the way a person thinks, alters their brain chemistry. If something alters someone's brain chemistry we certainly categorize that as a disease," says Weigle

She sought help through the services of compass in Toledo.   Her motivation was getting back the most important thing she lost.  

"What's important in life is not three 7's lining up on a slot machine. What's important is your family," she says  

It's now been seven years since she's stepped foot inside a casino- she avoids all temptations.  

"I don't even know where the local casino is. I don't want to even know. I'm that frightened of it. I don't feel like I've stopped gambling, I have rested the desire to. But I will be a gambling addict the rest of my life. I think if I ever went back into a casino I would lose everything that I have gained with my family."

A group called Ohio for Responsible Gambling released a survey last month. It found about three  to five percent of Ohioans are considered problem gamblers. One percent are compulsive gamblers.  Study authors say the research will help shape any new state laws regarding gambling.   for more information on how to receive help on problem gambling visit the following:  

www.ccrscompass.org

www.ncpgambling.org

 

 

 

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