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Gambling has become
increasingly legitimate and socially acceptable. Most states have
legalized it in some form, and its one of the nations fastest-growing
industries, already attracting more customers than baseball or movies.
Credit requirements have been relaxed and facilities are more
accessible. Gambling expenditures have more than doubled since 1975. One
in two adults bought a lottery ticket and nearly a third visited a
casino in 2003. States depend on lotteries to fill their treasuries, and
casinos are the main source of income on some Native American
reservations. Technological advances continually supply easier and more
enticing ways to play; the latest is the Internet. Inevitably,
out-of-control gambling is on the rise. Its now recognized as a
psychiatric disorder and a challenge for mental health treatment.
Compulsive gamblers are constantly thinking
about past bets, planning the next one, and finding the money to support
the habit. They increase the size of their wagers and struggle to quit
or cut back. Unable to tolerate losing, they immediately try to recoup.
They gamble when they are disappointed or frustrated; neglect their
families; lose jobs, careers, and marriages to the habit; sell personal
property, borrow, beg, lie, steal, and write bad checks to finance
gambling or pay their debts. Often they are repeatedly bailed out by
their families. The American Insurance Institute has called gambling the
main cause of white-collar crime.
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2004 Online Casino News Archive