Marketing to gambling addicts

November 25, 2013 9:30 am

Oregon is one of many states in search of ways to raise revenues through increased gambling. The problem is there are only so many people who gamble. As such, the state is becoming more and more dependent on marketing to problem gamblers.

In 2011, Oregon officials hired a consultant to learn more about the gambling habits of residents. The consultants examined the habits of gamblers who play video slot and poker machines in bars and restaurants. The consultants found something very disturbing: the majority of gamblers sat in front of the machines alone and played until their money was gone.

Essentially, the bulk of the players had a gambling problem. But rather than do something about the problem the state had created, Oregon officials embarked on an aggressive marketing plan designed to increase play on the machines, according to a report in The Oregonian. The findings should raise a red flag for other states – like Pennsylvania – that are moving to allow video gambling machines in bars and taverns.

Many gambling experts have said that such video gambling machines are among the most addictive. Rather than curb problem gambling the state is looking to feed the addiction.

The Oregonian reported the five-member state Lottery Commission approved spending $250 million over five years to replace the agency’s 12,000-plus video machines with state-of-the art models. The first 3,000 machines are expected to be in taverns, restaurants, strip clubs, bowling alleys and gambling-oriented “delis” by late spring.

The job of elected officials is to protect citizens, not enable policies that destroy lives and ruin families.

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3 thoughts on “Marketing to gambling addicts

  1. It’s not sociable drinking when you walk in a bar and the only customers are staring and pressing buttons on a VLT. What once had to be done in a locked back room, in now done out in the open with the state’s encouragement. I try to tell all who will listen, “The house always wins”.

  2. I’m disgusted. I’ve spent the last three years trying to keep head above water, contacted numerous state officials and agencies, only to be blown off. I’m no gambler and I didn’t realize, until after he filed (again) for divorce, that I had married one. I look back over the last fifteen years of a life that has been decimated by state authorized and supposedly, regulated gambling … about the only “education” provided – to the public as well as health professionals and Court or law enforcement/related personnel is “please play responsibly”. It’s been made clear to me that the state doesn’t care about “collateral damage”; no-fault divorce and such hides the destruction to spouses and children quite nicely … they might be included in stats for DV agencies or others, such as therapy offices … but the bulk of the damage will remain hidden from public view and knowledge … while the public, agencies and churches are left to shoulder the burden (a portion of it) of destruction that should not even be occurring. I have a 20 year old daughter whose credit is ruined, because of educational and medical bills properly her father’s and my responsibility. Her car remains broken down three months after stalling out as she was driving home from her college class. My credit and finances have been destroyed through the divorce (he filed to marry more funds); I wouldn’t leave when told to go … in his mind, I was entitled to nothing, not even a few months (all I requested, having been through this sorry situation with him before) to save some money, pay down some of my bills and make some logical decisions. He told me straight out that he would bankrupt me … the attorney I hired left us unprotected … the house that should be paid off or nearly so was ordered to be sold, a year ago, when the hearing was held. There is no reasoning with such a person. He tried three times this summer to have me evicted through Court action (another gambling type activity that was quite successful in past); that failed … so he quit paying the mortgage. I have no money to leave … I get to work my tail off to keep head above water while I realize I have worked the last twenty years of my life for less than nothing and have dim prospects for “getting ahead” in the near future, if at all. There are now two broken familes, many people who’ve been inconvenienced or helped where no help should be needed (taking from others where it would be of more value), a problem gambler unlikely to ever see health … and me. I’ve learned that there is NO help, other than counseling, at my own expense, to “help me cope” with undeserved and unjust consequences to my life, or the lives of our daughters, by the “entertainment industry” and faciliated by goverrnment officials who absolutely refuse to be informed of, much less address, the damages they have and continue to wreak. Must be the money.

    • I’m in the same boat… currently in bankruptcy, I have worked hard all my life to try to provide for my family. My wife has always handled the family finances and we both have worked in professional trades. I was not even aware of her gambling problem until my brother called me to let me know that creditors were calling him to try and get in contact with my wife. I did find out about six years ago through a conversation with one of our daughters friends (whose parents own a local “Postal Connections” store), that my wife had secured a mailbox in her name at their store…. I asked her about it when I found out, and she denied it. It’s amazing the lengths that gamblers will go to in order to hide their addiction while they continue to destroy their families! Our two older children were already grown and out of the house when all this came to light, but my youngest daughter is feeling the full effects of this, as it first hit us while she was a junior in high school.She has always been a model student and was very involved in the Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC). She is now attending college and is in NROTC there, but financing her education is a struggle that I have no means to help her with. Much like Dawn’s post above, my daughter will be left with a huge Bill for her education, because the state of Oregon feels that it needs to foster gambling addiction to find their reckless spending, no matter how many families get destroyed. My wife and I are separated right now.. not legally, just physically… I can’t even afford to legally separate or divorce her, because it’s all I can do to pay the bills. I tried to talk to the family help “advisor”on this, and was told that they do not deal in these matters, so…also like Dawn, I am left with nowhere to turn. There are all kinds of resources available for battered women and abused children, as there needs to be, but when it comes to families that have been shredded by gambling addiction that had been encouraged by the state of Oregon, there is no help available, yet our tax dollars are paying these “advisors” their wages! I have nowhere to turn to for help in separating myself and my children from any further effects of my wife’s gambling activities, yet in Oregon, common law states that I am somehow responsible for her actions and debts???

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