gambling addict

This is a story of a problem gambler, her boyfriend, and his anger at a casino he says failed to protect her and their finances. Their story, as reported by Australian media, illustrates the plight of the problem gambler and the casinos that have to balance doing business and helping those gamblers who spend too much money on their addictions.

A Problem in Perth

gamblingRob and Jennifer (not their real names) began dating in 2013. For three years, everything seemed to be going well, and the couple eventually moved in together. Rob had his own business, while Jennifer worked in the medical field. Rob had managed to save about $50,000 in his personal and business accounts, and he and Jennifer were planning to take their relationship to the next level: marriage.

Until the day Jennifer sat Rob down at their home in Perth and told him she had a serious gambling addiction. Not only did she have an addiction, but she had managed to blow through all his personal and business savings in one year—including $10,000 in a two-week stretch.

Jennifer admitted she was addicted to the poker machines at the Crown Casino in Burswood. Until she sat him down and had that conversation, Rob did not know the extent of her gambling addiction. She had borrowed money from friends to gamble. She hadn’t worked in months, and she had been lying to him about the extent of her addiction.

Rob and Jennifer went to the casino, and Jennifer signed a self-exclusion form, which was supposed to ban her permanently from the casino. The casino took her picture, and security was supposed to prevent her from entering the casino at all.

However, the form Jennifer signed said it was her responsibility not to enter the casino, and while the casino would try and keep her out, it made no promises in the contract. She continued to visit the casino regularly without Rob’s knowledge, and without being stopped by casino security, for nearly a year. Jennifer discussed going back and forth in front of security to get money from the ATM machine until she reached the daily limit.

Rob did not find out Jennifer was continuing to go to the casino until around Christmas 2017. That’s when he discovered Jennifer spent all the money in his Christmas account. They went to the casino to point her out to security and ask for his money back. Because his girlfriend had signed an exclusion ban with the casino, he felt the casino had not done its part to stop it. However, after looking at the contract, he realized it was Jennifer’s responsibility to stay away from the casino. While Rob was talking to casino staff, Jennifer left the casino, went home, took the remaining money they had, and disappeared to gamble. That was when Rob decided to break up with Jennifer. He changed the information on his accounts, changed the locks, retrieved the car, and hasn’t seen her since.

Self-Exclusion Contracts

self-exclusion contractsIn many countries, self-exclusion contracts are the law. Casinos must be able to provide documentation that they tried to ban problem gamblers from their facilities. However, there is no real oversight to regulate banning problem gamblers from casinos. Even if there were, casino security experts said it is nearly impossible to ban people from gambling if they really want to gamble. Not only do people disguise themselves to sneak into casinos if they have exclusion contracts, but the proliferation of online gaming and mobile gaming adds to the anonymity of gamblers, which makes it difficult to enforce any ban.

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