Stories of Gambling Addiction


spring flower

Click on the hyperlink to read any of the first-person narratives below. Some are by the spouse  of a problem gambler, some by a PG in recovery.  Some are through the eyes of an addicted gambler not in recovery. 

Another section gathers third-person accounts of terrible outcomes.


First-person accounts by the non-gambler:

The spouse of an addicted gambler talks to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission (NGISC) 1998 LMtestimony 

 Another addicted gambler’s spouse testifies to the NGISC 1998 Robintestimony 

New Feb 2013  Short,  poignant account of 40 years in recovery for a couple.  A suicide attempt by the non-gambling spouse was the turning point.  my_gambler

New on Feb 23 2013  A  couple driven apart by his gambling  reconciled,  have thirteen years in recovery now.  She narrates the misery endured and offers hope that does not always emerge in such accounts.  ALL THE SIGNS WERE THERE

Firsthand accounts by problem gamblers in recovery  The writer is a recovered gambling addict who is now a therapist.  Outstanding.  Of special interest to women.

AGamblersStory Narrative written 2012 by a compulsive gambler in recovery.  This was sent in U.S. mail by CAGNY to the District Offices of all NYS legislators in late July 2012 on the occasion of  “National Responsible Gam[bl]ing Education Week,” an annual production of the American Gaming Association. The cover letter, written by CAGNY officers, may be seen by clicking on AGamblersStoryCoverLetter .

TinaS_letter (2012) by a recovering gambler describes how casinos kept after her with come-ons even when she had registered as self-excluded.  This is “regulation” in action (or shall we say inaction). 

English gambler four years past most recent  bet tells his story to reporter Jenni Horn Jan 5 2013. He used  FOBTS (Fixed-odds Betting Terminals), similar to (USA) Video Lottery Terminals or Poker Machines (“Pokies”)  found in Australia.

Accounts by compulsive gamblers not in recovery

English paper  Jan 25 2013 interviews  gambler addicted to FOBTs  Article also recounts recoveries by others.  English article on how much problem gamblers spend,  by type of game.  Seems to be lower % than in USA but prevalence of problem gambling is not given.  Has  a sidebar with three first-person narratives of gambling addiction.

 Horror stories (none first-person) about sequellae of compulsive gambling

 Albany Times Union 12 Jan 1996 reports sentencing (8-25 yrs) of a 30 year old compulsive gambler from NYS who strangled his fiancee on the eve of ther bridal shower.   They fought over his having lost their wedding fund of $2000 gambling.

For accounts of eleven other ghastly incidents from North America in which non-gambling family members of addicted gamblers died see our post from Feb 18 2013 “Forgotten Collateral Damage.”

Article from Winnipeg tells how in 2008 a schoolteacher learned her gambler husband had run up >$300K debts in her name and >$500 K in his.  A shock, eh?




5 thoughts on “Stories of Gambling Addiction

  1. I always looked at people walking into the casino as I drove by as sheeps being led to a slaughter house. I remember awhile back losing 400 dollars in one sitting. It happened so fast. I was in shock as I walked out. After I took out a home equity loan my life changed. I was once secure in life. My credit was great. I was going to fix up my house and buy another to live in. a smaller one. Short of the story I walked into the casino and a few months later my loan was gone. With all addictions I needed money to get my fix. I took out payday loans. I sold stuff. I borrowed from family and lied about why I needed it. I thought about and thankfully didnt, stealing. I am behind on all my bills. I am seeing a counseler and im in the infant stages of trying to beat this. When I sat down in front of that slot machine I could feel the chemical change in my brain! I could hit 1,2,3 hundred in one sitting but within an hour its all gone. Id leave empty pockets and despondant. Id chase my money. I wanted my home equity loan back. Money was like monopoly money. Life is surreal. I hope to conquer this disease because every day is a struggle. As I type this I am wondering if the casino offers payday loans! They, whoever they are,say gambling addiction is worse than crack addiction. Ya know what? They are right!

  2. My husband has a bad addiction of gambling. He has put us in debt for $125,000 and wanted me to sign for $75,000 more. I went to the bank and told them he had a bad addiction. Thay could see by his bank statements where his money went. He is 73 we were all set for life. Owned a beautiful home. He is late with payments. He can’t balance his check book. Were going to have to sell our house. Sell our boat and camper and tractor. I hate gambling. I don’t like losing $25.00 and don’t go. I was wondering where he was getting the money to gamble so much. Even if he won it was never enough and always came home with no money. I’m filing for a divorce. at 70. I’m so shocked when i found out. He has borrowed from everyone. I don’t trust him and his lies. I can’t think straight and still in shock. I moved up stairs and live in the bedrooms. I’m just not speaking. I signed him up for help but he only went once. He looks run down and doesn’t eat right. His clothes are dirty but he doesn’t care. Its sad. He’s everything you read about. I went for help as it depresses me.I have to hide my money and I got a job.

  3. I work at a nursing home where there busing the seniors to the casino. I know everyone doesn’t have an addiction. But if its in them to not be able to stop. Thay will be in trouble. I think its a bad thing to do to these innocent seniors.

Leave a Reply