As a Person with a Gambling Disorder I am grateful to have found multiple paths to recovery. Recovery for me includes abstinence from gambling and a continued examined life. I am best able to do those things by both individual work and mutual aid. My disorder did not happen in a vacuum and my recovery does not either. I am responsible for my actions today and the consequences of my past actions. My disordered gambling was different that many others experience today, I have not been in a casino since 1976. I have not ever bought a lottery ticket. While people took advantage of my poor judgment and poor gambling skills no one marketed or designed ways for me to lose my money, hurt my family, and consider suicide. They did not have to. I believe casinos are marketing and designing ways to hurt individuals that leads to pain and suffering for families and society.
I believe that when someone crosses the line into uncontrollable gambling they share responsibility for their actions. I am not suggesting that all gamblers get a proverbial get out of jail card. I believe in restitution and rehabilitation. I am suggesting that casinos and the State have to take responsibility for their actions along with gamblers. How might that look?
For the purpose of this post and all others to follow I am using the word State to note any governmental regulating body. I am using Casinos to mean any establishment, big or small, that offers video gambling devices.
I wonder why the State expanded gambling without either an impact, prevalence, or cost-benefit study. Illinois has more gambling machines than any state in the US. We do not seem as a state to be in better fiscal position since the proliferation of gambling. So, where do all those financial losses go to? That probably does not take a study. Follow the money. I do not why I am even thinking about the above as the political system is not going to change anytime soon as this last expansion came during an administration I believe is more compassionate than the previous one.
Back to what the state can do. I read an article on the BBC website that the Brits are forcing online gambling sites every hour (link below).
The State of Illinois can do the same or some variation. I do not really know what the State can or cannot do within the current regulations/laws. The State and the casinos can do the following voluntarily. Some of things I recommend they do are: When casinos reopen have 24/7 prevention and screening offerings for all their patrons who have to partake of or opt out of, do (similar to the Brits) suitability applications for all their patrons which can be offered online before they enter the casino, lose all the third party access to monies on site, have a sign in sheet that patrons designate the time and money limits they plan for their trip to the casino with any extensions allowed only after a prevention training and screening, have the odds of any machine clearly stated on the machine including examples of possible losses based on length of play.
Before I read the BBC article I would have thought my ideas (which I shared with others in the recent past) were magical thinking. I think if the State and casinos have a heart they will consider better ways to protect people over profits. For the casinos that will definitely affect their bottom line. For the State, if Grinols’ numbers are correct, the less losses by it’s citizens will cost it less money.