Suicide: The Hidden Tragedy Behind The Scenes of Casino Gambling
Beneath the glamour and excitement of casino gambling lies a little-known truth. While the vast majority of recreational gamblers find gambling entertaining and leave at the end of the day or night with their wallets and spirits intact, for some 3 1/2 % of our population (some 10 million people) gambling takes a tragic toll. Families are fractured, promises broken, careers shattered and, yes, lives are lost.
For a gambler who has tumbled from the highest of highs (while in the winning phase) to the lowest of lows (when all hope is lost), suicide is often seen the only solution. The dream world that the problem gambler lives in is gone and in its place, despair. Where once he/she found excitement, glamour in the casino life, often being given free rooms, air fare, unlimited access to alcohol, food, glamorous surrounding now there is nothing but despair.
So-called “freebies” at casinos are a charade…you are watched to be sure you spend a certain amount of time gambling or they disappear. As one owner of a top end casino in Las Vegas once said: “the only people who make a profit here are the casino owners.” So what happens when the dream world of the pathological gambler ends? He/she loses all hope. Not only is the money gone but most likely family relationships are ruined, debtors are applying pressure and jobs are lost.
Did you know that gamblers have the highest suicide rate, proportionately, of any addiction? While there are more drug and alcohol addicts (about 25 to 30 million in the US) as opposed to 10 million or so pathological gamblers, a larger percentage of Gamblers attempt or complete suicide. Why don’t we hear about the numbers of suicides in casinos? Because casinos only publish the numbers of dying by jumping, which is visible. The rest are discreetly removed via the back elevators so that the casino reputation won’t be tarnished.
Recently, we met with a potential client who was scheduled to arrive for treatment, but decided to sell his car instead and spend one last night at a casino trying to make his money back. He announced his intention to buy a gun a kill himself to his ex-wife. The casino involved was called to warn them they had a potential suicide but said they were unable to “help”. The result? Another body on the back elevator. Another person we could have helped.
Is There Hope for People Struggling with a Gambling Addiction?
Absolutely! The Florida House Experience has the most highly qualified, experienced and among best-known gambling specific therapists in the country. Under the leadership of Dick DiGregorio (Dick D), his partner, Sue Naversen, who have treated well over 1500 gamblers and dually diagnosed patients; and Arnie and Sheila Wexler, also world renowned marketers and educators in the field of pathological gambling, The Florida House Experience offers the prospect for a full and complete life of recovery.
Cutting-edge neuroscience techniques are also employed to help heal the brain. Solution based therapy along with cognitive behavioral therapies, family systems therapy, and alternative medicine are just a few of the modalities utilized in a residential setting to help patients deal not only with financial problems but more importantly help address issues and self-destructive behaviors by “scrubbing your soul” and addressing core issues.
At the Florida House Experience, we truly care about our patients and will do everything in our power to prevent another tragedy. But more importantly, we will do everything in our power to open the door to a new and bright future, free of despair and filled with hope.