Gambling it all Away

It’s often hard to point fingers when an addiction gets out of hand, because it is the person with the addiction that ultimately is controlled by it. But sometimes we just have to stop and wonder how some people can stand by and watch or even encourage the addiction, as someone wrecks their lives.

A recent news story tells of the 52 year old Nebraska man, Terrance Watanabe, who gambled away $127 million at Las Vegas casinos last year. We could say that Terrance had a gambling addiction (which he obviously did), and that no one was making him gamble; he was just being irresponsible. But if we take a look at the whole story of his addiction, and at the gambling industry, we may be amazed that no one stepped in to help him with his problem.

Encouraging Gambling Addictions

There is often a fine line between marketing your service or product by encouraging people to make use of it, and enabling those that have become addicted to it. For example, the life of the high rollers at casinos are luxurious, filled with special perks. Private jets, complimentary suites, choice of bartender and meals; these are all things the casinos are willing to offer those that spend a lot of money. Terrance was certainly one of those people. He alone contributed 5.6% of the casino’s gambling revenue for the year, and these casinos actually depended on his gambling to make their money. So even though he was gambling for 24 hour periods and that he was falling asleep drunk at the tables, they still catered to his wishes and encouraged him to keep betting.

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Help for Process Addictions

Other industries are very much the same. Bartenders have often been criticized for continuing to serve beer to alcoholics. Video game companies seem to prey on those that are addicted to the games. Shopaholics are constantly bombarded by the ads and commercialism of stores trying to make a bigger profit.

What should be done to help those suffering from these process addictions? The problem won’t be fixed by a sweeping decision or policy. It will take little steps to come up with solutions that help the many addicts out there. Casinos can put measures in place that require dealers to turn away those that are unable to control their gambling. Compulsive gamblers should be able to put their name on a list which would ban them from all casinos. Bartenders can follow protocol that says they should stop serving intoxicated patrons.

However, it’s hard to punish companies that are just trying to make a profit, and even with these policies in place, people are going to find ways around them. That’s why treatment is so important. With the right treatment, there is hope for these individuals to overcome their addiction. And it doesn’t hurt to have a little help from those around us. Concerned workers can keep an eye out for those struggling with addiction and do all they can to stop taking advantage of them.

Sources 

The Gambler Who Blew $127 Million

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