Gambling, Psychiatry & the Catechism

The American Psychiatric Association is getting closer to putting into use the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. This massive work defines behavioral symptoms of nearly 300 conditions that it deems to be “psychiatric disorders.” Each is coded with a number. For one to obtain services through insurance, there has to be a DSM diagnosis. This book medicalizes psychiatry and is similar to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which does the same coding for medical conditions. Now is not the time to debate the wisdom of having a DSM--instead let’s look at the increased attention to gambling behaviors, becoming more prominent, especially with young people who constitute a first generation since gambling became legal in 1978.

Previously “Pathological Gambling” was an outlier in a section of the book where a few impulse control problems were noted. Now it will be in one of the most prominent sections of the book, the one classifying many various forms of substance abuse and dependence. The task force includes these behaviors in its definition of gambling abuse/dependence: the need to bet increasing amounts; gambling to avoid feelings of depression and emptiness; gambling after a big loss in order to "chase" losses; lying, put your own or your family’s financial lives in jeopardy, or borrowing from close friends and relatives.

Catechism aficionados (and I include myself in this group) will be interested to know that the American Psychiatric Association and the Catechism of the Catholic Church both show basic agreement in recognizing gambling as a legitimate pastime for many that can rapidly evolve into a major problem. Catechism 2413 states “Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice. They become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others. The passion for gambling risks becomes an enslavement.”

In view of concern of the high prevalence of tween-age and teen-age gambling (some researchers say 4-6% of young people have a gambling problem, and 10-15% are at risk), researchers are studying gambling in young people. There are two psychological tests for researchers to measure gambling behavior in young people: the Signs of Gambling Checklist (also used with adults) and the Gambling Timeline Followback, a retrospective journal where college students detail their gambling behaviors over the past six months. Gambling is often linked with drinking, and I am not aware of research findings that link these two problems.

Conceptually gambling falls under risk-taking behaviors, and these can be either very constructive or very destructive, depending on the situation and intended ends. Because of this, one doesn’t speak of a “cure” for pathological gambling, but rather one hopes for ongoing “management.” Where to draw the line between problem gambling and recreational gambling can be extremely difficult. There is a 12-step program for problem gambling, Gambler’s Anonymous.

The giddiness of many over the stock market in the 1990s and of the housing bubble suggest to me that gambling has become too embedded in our culture. What do you think? What is your assessment of this form of recreation? Have you gone on any "free" trips to a casino? Poor people in America frequently become addicted to state-sponsored lotteries--this can be seen by visiting any inner-city bodega or convenience store. I would appreciate your comments and examples (and your thoughts on appropriate gambling as well as how to distinguish between recreational gambling and hurtful gambling). This is topic isn’t talked about enough and therefore it is hard to gauge the devastation that is occurring in our midst.

William Van Ornum

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Liam Richardson
8 years ago
Bingo!
we vnornm
8 years ago
Dear Karl Liam,

Ah yes, BINGO Monday (or Wed or Fri) Night 7 pm

I still see these signs!   bill
we vnornm
8 years ago
Dear David,

I never thought much about this until I was writing a textbook a few years ago and came across some of the statistics. I suspect there is more gambling going on around us than many would realize, and young people are becoming more and more tempted to activities such as Internet Poker. I suspect that you are right in that those with severe gambling problems may also be at risk for other kinds of substance abuse/dependence. best, bill 
ed gleason
8 years ago
Like other addictions ones own body can signal gambling trouble. as a young man ,I parked about 300 yards from the casino. I found my self walking so fast toward the casino that at times  both feet were off the ground. Aha..I gave up gambling
we vnornm
8 years ago
Ed,

I find that happening when I go fishing....still go fishing, though!*

bill

*Actually, fishing, gambling, stock markets, bingo, submitting articles for publication, many types of sports, Skinner boxes, human relationships, etc. etc. that include intermittent reinforcement (i.e. you don't know when the reward is coming, or how much it will be) can create behaviors of incredible strength.
8 years ago
I've been to a casino twice (one a "free" trip).  I guess I should be ashamed to admit that I play the lottery every week.  When finances get to a certain place,  the lottery can seem one of the few  hopeful  if unlikely options.

I was interested to read that famous physicist Richard Feynman spent time gambling.  Jonah Lehrer has an interesting past article on gambling and the brain - http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2007/08/19/your_brain_on_gambling/
we vnornm
8 years ago
Crystal,

I played poker in high school and long ago put some nickels in a slot machine in Las Vegas. But haven't played poker in years & haven't been to LV in 35 years.

You make a good point-risk taking can give us a glimmer of "luck"-and for many the weekly ticket is a healthy pastime.

Thanks for the lead on the Boston Globe article. Scary that a medicine could spark gambling sprees in so many people. And the physicist guy...I googled him...VERY interesting life...

Hope your ticket is a winner this week.

best, bill
8 years ago
I live in a geographically large county which has any number of Indian casinos so that one doesn't have to go far to find a gambling place.  They have all kinds of inducements-cheap buffets, free bus rides, shopping areas, coupons and more.  The owners are also very involved in commulnity projects and charity benfits.  The arena at the state school is named Viejas Arena.  The Symphony pops is funded by Syucan tribe.  They are a powerful lobby on the state level.  There is often controversy over plans to expand, building new casinos and who are behind the tribes and where does the money go. 

Perhaps a study of campus culture could incorporate gambling, substance abuse and hooking up.  The old "sex, drugs and rock and roll"  with gambling added.

I've never attended a casino and don't intend to.  But, I have been to Vegas a few times with family and friends.  A rule of thumb for me has been to gamble only the amount of money I would spend on an evening's entertainment and once that is lost, to quit.   That works for me.  I come from a fishing not a gambling family!  Except for my mother who is her elderly years loved the slots and often won fairly big pots.  The time she hugged the casino emplyee who brought her her stash, we were all a bit embarrassed!  She was just thrilled and excited and maybe that is another of the inducements to gambling. The whole atmosphere in the casino psychs one up.  That , with a few of their free watered down drinks , can prime the unwary to take irrational risks. 

I applaud Ed, who as a young man recosgnized the pull and just walked away from it.
8 years ago
Ooops!  the third paragraph doesn't make sense.  I haven't gone to casinos in my home state but have gone to Las Vegas.  And one time I went to the casino on a cruise liner, sat between a man and woman and when they started screaming obscenities at one another, left and that was the end of that.
we vnornm
8 years ago
Janice,

The money from lotteries or casinos often is said to go to good causes, as you've noted, but one is indeed left wondering where else the proceeds go. This is such a complicated thing to think about, as legitimate entertaining and "risk taking" are part of the experience.

Ed had the right response, and I hope some young person somewhere reads what he wrote and takes it to heart. This alone would make the writing today worthwhile.

bill
Stanley Kopacz
8 years ago
Risk taking behaviour in an unstructured environment like the universe where the odds are not purposely stacked against you can lead to advances for the human race.  But in the artificial structure of the casino, where the game is set up for the house to win, it can be disastrous.  I understand the basics of probability theory pretty well and I know how animals in a skinner box would run themselves out of energy trying to get the seed rewards when the best thing for them would be to set down.  Between the two bits of knowledge, I have no desire to go into a casino.  I have visited them in my lifetime and the rows of people in front of the slots made me think of rows of chickens pecking away at the electric switches.  Creepy.
Liam Richardson
8 years ago
Slot machines are particularly pernicious and predatory by design.

Imagine if someone pronounced on the sin involved in designing and offering them.



we vnornm
8 years ago
Dear Stanley,

I hope younger readers are reading your comment. The House is always going to win and is always going to show a profit. The image of human beings looking like "chickens pressing switches" is an especially unsettling one. Thanks for writing. amdg, bill
we vnornm
8 years ago
Dear Karl,

If my interpretation of this sentence in 2413 is correct, someone has noted the sinfulness involved: "Unfair wagers and cheating at games constitute grave matter, unless the damage inflicted is so slight that the one who suffers it cannot reasonably consider it significant."
What do others think?  Have a good day, bill
David Nickol
8 years ago
I have what I believe is a very rational approach to gambling. When the Lotto, MegaMillions, or PowerBall jackpots are very high, I will buy a few dollars worth of tickets. My reason being that somebody is going to win, so why couldn't it be me? On the other hand, after the drawings, I feel that the probability of having won is so low, I don't bother to check the tickets. 

I believe that compulsive gambling can quite reasonably be classified as a true psychiatric disorder, which, it seems to me, makes it a mental health issue rather than a moral issue. 

It's interesting that anti-Parkinson's drugs can cause some people to become compulsive gamblers.  
we vnornm
8 years ago



 
 
 Dear Readers:

here is an extremely well-written Pastoral Letter on gambling, replete with important primary sources, written by Bishop Luc Bouchard, Bishop of St. Paul Diocese in Alberta, Canada. I would like to than Bishop Bouchard for sending this and for utilizing the teaching agency of the bishop's office so effectively. bill
 
Pastoral Letter
 
to the
 
Faithful of the Diocese of
St. Paul
 
On Gambling
 
 
 
?? Bishop Luc Bouchard
 
2007
 2  
Introduction
 
 
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,  
 
In 1998, the Alberta Catholic bishops issued a joint pastoral letter “The False Eden of
Gambling” in order to inform Catholics of the moral and social problems created by legalized gambling.  Since then the gambling industry in Alberta has experienced incredible growth. The revenue currently being extracted from gambling, 1.3 billion dollars, is staggering.  What is more difficult to visualize is the growth in human suffering that has accompanied this surge in gambling revenue.  In this pastoral letter I hope to expand on the initial concerns the bishops expressed in 1998 and offer some advice and directives as to how Catholics can best confront the moral challenge of a gambling culture.
 
Uninformed citizens view these growing revenues as good news and mistakenly think
gambling is a form of voluntary taxation, a painless and victimless way to raise government
revenue.  This outlook ignores the well-documented fact that a massively disproportionate
amount of gambling revenues comes from the poor and the addicted.   The respected Vanier Institute on the Family, for example, in June 2006 released “Gambling with Our Kids’ Future,” which reported how children in problem gambling families live in an “atmosphere of chronic interpersonal conflict, poor parenting, and domestic violence.”  Legalized gambling is not socially harmless but quite destructive to individuals, to families, and ultimately to communities.
 
I hope you will read this letter with care, prayerfully consider its contents, and then
discern how you should act in order to correct a growing injustice. I will first provide an
historical context illustrating how over the last forty years a gambling culture developed in
Alberta.  Then I will document the scope and type of suffering created by legalized gambling followed by a summary of the Church’s moral and social teaching.  I will conclude by stating what we as a Church can do to reduce the harm caused by legalized gambling.  My conclusion includes some specific directives for Catholic institutions and organizations, as it is essential that our own house be in order if we are to effectively defend the victims of gambling.
 
The Creation of a Gambling Culture in Alberta
 
Prior to 1967, the only gambling permitted in Alberta took place on the midways at
agricultural fairs and exhibitions through relatively innocent games of chance and skill such as dart throws. The first exception to this ban was in July of 1967 at the Edmonton fair grounds when temporary approval was granted for a weeklong public casino limiting the maximum bet to $2.00 for blackjack and wheel of chance.   
 
Despite the popularity of this casino, for the next seven years the government continued
to closely regulate gambling allowing only a small number of temporary casinos at agricultural fairs.  These annual casinos were generally considered a form of entertainment and were viewed as a socially harmless way to raise money for charitable causes.
 
The first licenses for temporary local casinos were granted in 1975.  They were hugely
successful at generating revenue.  Their financial success indicated that there was a lot of money to be made in gambling.  Six years later privately operated charitable casinos were opened in Calgary and Edmonton.  Casino growth from this date on was extremely rapid.  By the mid 1990’s there were eleven full time casinos operating in Alberta.  This growth in gambling happened with little public consultation and with no assessment of the potential social cost.
   
In 1992, video lottery terminals (VLT’s) were introduced in Alberta and their numbers
over the next three years grew at the astonishing rate of 1400% from 435 terminals in 84
locations to nearly 6,000 terminals in over 1000 locations.  In 1996 slot machines, which are simply a variation of VLT’s, were introduced in casinos.
 
Today there are seventeen permanent casino facilities that offer a wide range of games
while also providing over 8,000 slot machines.  Scattered throughout the province in over 70% of bars and taverns there are 6000 VLT’s.  In addition, there are nearly 2,300 ticket lottery centres, 5 racetracks, and 3 racing entertainment centres.  Very few people in Alberta have to travel more than thirty minutes to “try their luck.”  Gambling in Alberta is so visible and so ever present that no one any longer even notices what a profound ethical transformation has occurred in such a short period of time.  In less than thirty years, Alberta was transformed from a province that scorned gambling as disreputable and undesirable to one that now enthusiastically promotes gambling as an entertainment.  This rapid change in public opinion was made possible by a skillful marketing campaign. The public’s previous understanding of gambling as socially undesirable was slowly and imperceptibly altered so that gambling came to be seen as a kind of indoor adult sport that is now euphemistically referred to as “gaming.”   
 
During the late 1990’s some citizen groups woke up to the social damage being caused
especially by VLT’s and lobbied for a provincial referendum.  They were not allowed the
referendum but were rather forced to petition for local plebiscites in each affected community where they were easily outspent by the pro-VLT Alberta Hotel Association.   
 
Pro-gambling forces presented themselves in these referendum campaigns as being not so
much interested in making money as they were in defending people’s freedom of choice.  The pro-VLT lobby played upon the fact that problem gamblers constitute only a small minority and framed the issue as one of civil liberties vs. censorship.  They conducted a campaign that asked “why should the majority suffer the loss of entertainment because of the personal difficulties of a few?”  The gambling industry succeeded in presenting itself as a relatively harmless leisure time activity that provided entertainment and public benefit.  
 
It was through the clever marketing activities of the gambling industry and the inaction of
the provincial government that a culture of gambling was established in Alberta.  The
government never properly assessed the social cost of legalized gambling before enthusiastically expanding it.  Also the government never adequately consulted with the people of Alberta as to whether or not they wanted legalized gambling on such a large scale.   
 
 
The Social Cost of Legalized Gambling
 
Dr. David Korn’s research at the University of Toronto concludes that 15% of Canadians
do not gamble, 80% gamble and experience either no difficulties or experience mild to moderate problems while the remaining 5% suffer severe problems.  This continuum is similar to AADAC’s analysis of the gambling population of Alberta, which classifies 5.2% of gamblers as experiencing serious difficulties.  The same AADAC research reveals, however, that those who play VLT’s experience much higher incidence of difficulties with 21.8% of VLT players reporting severe problems.  Sources with Gamblers Anonymous report that 80% of new attendees report VLT’s as their major problem.  AADAC’s gambling hotline also reports a similarly high percentage of those seeking help self-identifying as having problems with VLT’s (50%).
 
The severe problems that result from gambling are obviously caused by the loss of
significant amounts of money and the resulting anxiety, family stress, and inner conflict these losses create.  A 2002 study by the Alberta Gaming Research Institute using the Canadian Problem Gambling Index determined that gamblers experiencing severe problems were losing on average $700 per month.  If the average loss is $700 this means that half of these problem gamblers are losing more, some much more, than $700 per month.   
 
The impact created by losing $700 and more per month varies with a person’s income.  
For a person on welfare or receiving AISH or a person on modest means supporting a family losing this much money month after month will have a profound impact on their family’s welfare.  The poor who experience such ongoing losses pay a severe price.  The Vanier Institute on the Family similarly estimates that “4% of the population with a serious gambling problem contributed 23% of the revenues.”   
 
Dr. Garry Smith and Dr. Harold Wyne produced an Alberta Gaming Research Institute
study that describes problem gamblers as evenly divided male and female.  56% are between the ages of 30 to 50 years old.  There is a disproportionate number from both the low and high income groups.  Many are unemployed, working part-time, retired or homemakers and often suffer from other addictions.  The Vanier Institute reports that the personal cost of pathological gambling can include “bankruptcy, family break up, domestic abuse, assault, fraud, theft, homelessness and even suicide . . . up to 90% of pathological gamblers have considered suicide and 20% of those in treatment actually attempted it.”  The Canada Safety Council in a September 2006 report entitled “Canadian Roulette” concluded that suicide attempts are more common with pathological gamblers than with any other forms of addiction and additionally noted that gambling is a factor in 6.3% of suicides.
 
In summary, the population most severely affected by gambling constitutes a most
vulnerable minority.  This group of Albertans consistently loses large amounts of money.  They are disproportionately poor.  These people are not “gaming”; they are suffering.   
 
Similar analysis yielding similar results for the social cost of gambling has been
completed in the United States and Australia.  It is well documented and not seriously disputed that a vulnerable minority will suffer when a legalized culture of gambling, particularly one that allows VLT’s, is established.  
 
What is only beginning to be documented is the effect that a gambling culture has on
youth.  Jeffrey L. Derevensky of McGill University concluded from research conducted in
2003/2004 that young people are especially susceptible to gambling addiction because it is the  nature of youth to be attracted to risks.  He concluded that in Canada, “4% - 8% of adolescents between 12 and 17 years of age gamble at a pathological level and another 10% - 15% are at risk of developing a serious problem.”  The risk to youth created by a gambling culture is even greater to youth than it is to adults.
 
Moral and Pastoral Reflections
 
Personal Morality
 
The Bible does not contain any direct references to the morality of gambling.  When what
appear to be gambling devices such as dice are mentioned in the Bible it is not in the context of placing bets but of making decisions.  The Bible does not offer specific moral teaching on gambling.
 
In a similar way, the Catholic Church has traditionally not developed a moral teaching
focused on gambling.  The Church regards gambling as a neutral act best evaluated in reference to other moral factors such as the gambler’s motives and the specific circumstances involved.  Gambling is viewed as morally acceptable when it provides relaxation, community involvement, and an element of leisure or fun.  The Church’s moral approach to gambling is primarily to see that the requirements of justice and temperance are maintained.  For example, if one cheats while gambling or wagers excessively then a moral issue is present.
 
The Catholic Catechism deals with gambling under the section dealing with the seventh
commandment.  It states:
 
2413.  Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers are not in themselves contrary to
justice.  They become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is
necessary to provide for his needs and those of others.  The passion for gambling risks
becoming an enslavement.  Unfair wagers and cheating at games constitute grave
matter; unless the damage inflicted is so slight that the one who suffers it cannot
reasonably consider it significant.
 
The Catechism simply summarizes the Church’s traditional morality of gambling.  
Catholics have generally only opposed gambling when it was obviously dishonest or hurt
individuals or their families.  That is why the Church in years past had no objections to
community fund raising events such as raffles and bingos.  They were viewed as leisure activities providing recreation, building community spirit and supporting a good cause.
 
Social Teaching
 
It is in the Church’s social teaching, most clearly presented in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, (2005), where one discovers a developed moral perspective that places the human suffering created by the gambling industry into focus. The principles of social justice found in the Compendium that are the most applicable to understanding the moral challenge of legalized gambling are the following:
 
?? The Principle of Human Dignity – every human being is created by God and redeemed
by Jesus Christ and worthy of respect. The Principle of the Common Good – society to succeed must act to see that all its members are treated justly and not exploited or victimized as this will destroy necessary
social harmony, and peace.
 
?? The Principle of Solidarity – structured injustices, unfair practices protected by law that
harm the good of one’s neighbor are to be opposed. Solidarity was described by Pope
John Paul II as a “commitment to the good of one’s neighbor with the readiness in the
gospel sense to ‘lose oneself’ for the sake of the other instead of exploiting him and to
‘serve him’ instead of oppressing him for one’s own advantage.”(#193)
 
?? The Principle of Preferential Protection for the Poor and Vulnerable – Jesus’ parable of
the sheep and goats in the Gospel of St. Matthew, 25:31-46 illustrates the critical
importance of a personal response to the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, and the poor.   
Preferential care and protection must be provided to those who in their poverty and need
embody for Catholics the presence of Christ.
 
It is clear that legalized gambling in Alberta is in very sharp conflict with the Catholic social
justice principles outlined above.  The minority victimized by legalized gambling is treated with little respect.  Their plight is ignored and for all practical purposes they are rendered invisible due to public indifference.  Deriving massive gambling revenues disproportionately from the poor does not support the common good.  The poor are not being adequately protected when we have solid statistical evidence as to how seriously they suffer in a gambling culture.  Solidarity with the poor requires the Church to oppose the current excesses of legalized gambling in Alberta.
 
Conclusion
 
In Alberta, government revenue from gambling is collected by the Ministry of Gaming,
and is distributed in two ways.  The first is when the government disperses money through the Alberta Lottery Fund to what are termed “Payments to other Ministries.”  This means that the government gives additional financing to various ministries such as health, social services, and education by depositing gambling revenues into their operating budgets.  In this case it is not practically possible for a hospital or a school board to sift out the revenues they receive that come from gambling and those that come from general taxation.  No one who analyzes this situation is scandalized that Catholic schools, for example, accept such monies, as it is impossible to separate them from their ordinary funding.
 
It is the second way gambling revenue is dispersed that is problematic.  In this case, a
group formally requests recognition from the Ministry of Gaming in order to directly share in the proceeds of, for example, a casino.   This means that Catholic institutions and organizations trying to achieve a good end, additional resources for children, are doing so by using clearly immoral means.  They are making a clear choice to profit from gambling. This is scandalous and compromises the religious identity of the institution or organization.  
 
In my judgment it is not morally possible to actively seek funds that one knows are
derived from legalized gambling as it is currently operated in Alberta.  Ignoring those victimized by gambling or even worse profiting from their suffering is foreign to the gospel.  Because Catholic institutions and organizations are closely associated with the Church’s mission to witness, to evangelize and to instruct, I am directing that, within a maximum of three years, Catholic parishes, schools, and other organizations cease to actively pursue revenues that are derived from gambling.  
 
 
Secondly, I am requesting that the faithful of the Diocese of St. Paul consider:
 
1. Contacting your Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) and ask him or her to:
 
a. Let you know if they share our concern that an injustice is being done to a
vulnerable minority through legalized gambling.
 
b. Promote the establishment of an impartial and open public review of legalized
gambling in order to see if the current and future benefits of gambling are not
outweighed by their costs.
 
c. Substantially increase the quality and quantity of counseling resources available
for problem gamblers.
 
d. Eliminate VLT’s and video slot machines or at the very least limit their access to
licensed casinos because they are by far the most destructive and addictive form
of gambling.
 
2. Examine your own gambling behavior and resolve not to contribute to a culture of
gambling.  Be especially conscious of the example you set for your children.
 
I have written this letter after much thought and prayer solely because the issue is so serious.  Church institutions cannot accept monies derived from the well-documented suffering of a vulnerable minority without compromising their mission and endangering their socially prophetic role.  I am counting on your faithful response in this matter in order to insure that our institutions and organizations are free to work for justice and to witness to the gospel.
 
 
 
 
 
??  Luc Bouchard
    Bishop of St. Paul
 
 
Ash Wednesday, February 21, 2007
 
 8  
Useful Resources
 
 
Alberta Catholic Bishops, “The False Eden of Gambling,” (January 12, 1998).
 
Canada Safety Council, “Canadian Roulette” (Internet resource: www. safety-council.org, 2005)
 
Henry, Bishop Frederick, “Decision Time:  on Gambling and Schools,” (Roman Catholic
Diocese of Calgary, June 20, 2006) (internet resource:  www.rcdiocese-calgary.ab.ca )
 
Moscovitch, Arlene  “Gambling with our (Kids’) Futures: Gambling as a Family Policy Issue,”
(Vanier Institute of the Family, Ottawa, 2006)
 
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church,
(Ottawa: Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2005)
 
Wynne, Harold J.  “Gambling on the Edge in Alberta”  (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health,
Gambling, the Electronic Journal of Gambling Issues, issue 1, 2000)
 
Smith, Garry J. and Wynne Harold J.  VLT Gambling in Alberta: Final Report (Alberta Gaming
Research Institute, 2004)
 
Alberta Gaming Research Institute: (University of Alberta)
 
 “From Summer Midways to Casinos and Slot Machines” Vol.1, issue 1, November 2001
 
 “From Vice to Popular Pastime: A History of Gambling in Alberta” Vol. 3, issue 1
November 2003
 
 “Public Policy Implications of Gambling Research” Volume 4, issue 2, January 2005
 
 “Best Practices for Determining the Socio-Economic Effects of Gambling Emerge at
Institutes Fifth Annual Conference” Volume 5, issue 5, July 2006
 
Journal of Gambling Issues, (internet resource, www.camh.net/egambling)
 
Horbay, Roger  “How Do Slot Machines and Other Electronic Gambling Machines
Actually Work?”  Issue 11, July 2004
 
Grant, Jon  “The Neurobiology of Pathological Gambling” Issue 15, December 2005
 
Korn, David  “A Public Health Perspective” Issue 15, December 2005
 
Messerlian, Carmen and Derevensky, Jeffrey “Youth Gambling: a public health
perspective” Issue 15, September 2005
we vnornm
8 years ago
David,

Your main point is a good one and it's not answered: do we really know if and how big a problem gambling is? The Bishop in Canada gives good reasons for it being a big problem in his diocese.

But in the USA, in your town and my town? I, too, haven't seen it within my personal and professional circle. But reading "professional research" suggests that it is a big problem. If we use a very lowball estimate of 1% of the populations, we come up with a figure of 3.4 milliion persons in America with a gambling problem.

You are right to question estimates given by others, even by "experts", if they seem way out of line with your own personal experience.

All of us have become aware of the use of "denial" through the description of how sexual abuse kept occuring in the priesthood.

Is a similar kind of "denial" going on with gambling, and I'm talking about "collective denial," just not you and I not seeing it on our own radar screens, where it may truly not be present, due to the particular people and situation we find ourselves in. Please, tell me what you think of the Bishop's letter. have a good Labor Day holiday, too-bill
we vnornm
8 years ago
David,

Many thanks for your reading of this and your thoughts. Your comments remind me to keep in mind the Hippocratic Oath, "Do No Harm."

Thanks again, bill

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