2018.10.09

B.C. Government Not Doing Enough to Help Gambling Addicts

Gambling addiction is more serious and common then we often realize. It isn't just about failing to control one's gambling habits; it is a far more severe mental disorder. Gambling addicts end up losing millions because of their unrestrained habits. Yet there is nothing they can do for controlling the urge to spend money on gambling even though they know it is harming them.

Gambling addicts have blamed the government for not doing enough to help such people. One of them is Lora Bertuccio, who has blamed the British Columbia government for failing to prevent severely addicted gamblers like her from losing their money to gambling. Bertuccio has gone on to say that the government makes money out of the mental disorders of thousands of gambling addicts.

The 47-year-old, who suffers from bipolar disorder and anxiety, has said that she has lost thousands of dollars to gambling and yet cannot do anything to control or stop herself. She says that the urge to put money in the slot machines is overpowering. Even though she knows it is ruining her she has been unable to stop herself from going back.

It has been estimated that Canadians spend almost $18 billion a year on gambling, but the government has not used any amount of that money to help gambling addicts. Bertuccio believes that casino loyalty cards should have spending limits that will prevent gambling addicts like her from overspending. The BC Lottery Corporation has said that it would introduce such a feature back in 2015 but even three years later no such provision has been made. Bertuccio has said that all the government ever does is talk, while people like her suffer without proper regulations.

Gambling addiction is defined as the urge to gamble repeatedly despite the losses. It is classified as a behavioral disorder. Like any other addiction gambling is also hard to control for those with a mental disorder. Bertuccio has said that sometimes she goes into a manic state and loses track of time or place. She ends up playing two or three slot machines at the same time causing her to lose significant money. She added that a change in medication is the reason behind the manic disorder, because of which she loses track of her actions. This is particularly dangerous for someone who is sitting as a slot machine.

For addicts, gambling often becomes the way to escape from their troubles and difficulties, much like a drug addict would turn to heroin or an alcoholic to vodka. When others try to bail out a debt ridden problem gambler, it only makes matters worse, because the money again goes into gambling. Isolation also drives many mental health patients to compulsive gambling. Marriages and families break down as a result. Problem gambling exists in every country, and with the rise in online casinos, it has only become easier for addicts to gamble away their money. 

Gambling addicts rarely ever win any money. All they ever do is lose money. Bertuccio has lost most of her money gambling, including the $20,000 settlement money she had got after she suffered an injury at work. Having gambled away all her money she is now on a disability benefit because of her bipolar disorder and back injury.

Check out our information on responsible gambling and where to get help should you find you have a gambling problem.

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