The Atlantic, a monthly magazine covering news and analysis on politics, business, culture, technology, and national and international events has a story in their upcoming issue entitled, “How Casinos Enable Gambling Addicts.”
The story starts with the tragic story of Scott Stevens, an Ohio man who first gambled while attending a trade show in Las Vegas in 2006. That began a downward spiral that resulted in Stevens stealing from his company, lying to his family, draining virtually all of their money and ultimately taking his own life.
The story goes on to examine slot machines and other other electronic gambling machines, that seemed designed specifically to get gamblers hooked, and keep them gambling until they eventually lose everything.
Please take a few minutes to read this powerful piece about these potentially devastating machines. When you do you will realize that Florida does not need more gambling – that is the wrong social and economic policy for Florida.
By John Rosengren, December 2016 issue
On the morning of Monday, August 13, 2012, Scott Stevens loaded a brown hunting bag into his Jeep Grand Cherokee, then went to the master bedroom, where he hugged Stacy, his wife of 23 years. “I love you,” he told her.
Stacy thought that her husband was off to a job interview followed by an appointment with his therapist. Instead, he drove the 22 miles from their home in Steubenville, Ohio, to the Mountaineer Casino, just outside New Cumberland, West Virginia. He used the casino ATM to check his bank-account balance: $13,400. He walked across the casino floor to his favorite slot machine in the high-limit area: Triple Stars, a three-reel game that cost $10 a spin. Maybe this time it would pay out enough to save him.
It didn’t. He spent the next four hours burning through $13,000 from the account, plugging any winnings back into the machine, until he had only $4,000 left. Around noon, he gave up.
Stevens, 52, left the casino and wrote a five-page letter to Stacy. A former chief operating officer at Louis Berkman Investment, he gave her careful financial instructions that would enable her to avoid responsibility for his losses and keep her credit intact: She was to deposit the enclosed check for $4,000; move her funds into a new checking account; decline to pay the money he owed the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas; disregard his credit-card debt (it was in his name alone); file her tax returns; and sign up for Social Security survivor benefits. He asked that she have him cremated.
He wrote that he was “crying like a baby” as he thought about how much he loved her and their three daughters. “Our family only has a chance if I’m not around to bring us down any further,” he wrote. “I’m so sorry that I’m putting you through this.”