Been in this spot many times

I am a 38 year old mother of a beautiful 16 month old girl. I have a partner who treats me like a queen and has no idea of my addiction. I became addicted to VLTs over 10 years ago. Everytime I get in and out of a financial pickle, I make a vow to quit once and for all. The longest I have gone without gambling is 4 months.

At the moment, the urge to gamble is strong. There is a pressure-type feeling in my chest. I have thoughts to walk over to the local bars to put $20 in the VLT machine. I went to the casino 2 days ago and blew $600. The following day, I tried $100 in a vain attempt to win back my losses. That is the kicker....trying to get back my losses.

About 2 weeks ago, I took $300 out of my partners account. I lost all of it that night, plus $300 of my own money. I cried with frustration, guilt, and shame in the truck. I felt terrible. Luckily, he didn't notice the money missing. Last week, I decided to try again. This time, I won $1500. I was so relieved because I was again using his money to win back the losses. So I won all the money back from the past 2 weeks. I put the money back into his account without saying a word.

Now with the loss of $700, the urge is so strong to return and try again. I hate this. At least my daughter has a roof over head and food to eat. But when I think of the hundreds of dollars that were put into the VLTs......I just don't know.

When I read other peoples stories on their addiction, I can relate. In 2011 I will be turning 40. I don't want to carry this into my 40s, 50s, 60s, etc. What is really crappy about the whole thing is that I like to play the VLTs, I don't want to stop but I have to. I don't know how many times I have written in forums and started off all charged up. Then when money comes into my hands, I tell myself that I will "play only for a hour". Of course you know that is not held up once I start playing.

On the outside, people would have no idea of my problem. There are times when I wish it was a drinking problem rather than a gambling problem. Sounds pretty messed up.

I am hoping to read more about women with VLTs addictions. Thank you.

prokopton's picture

You, like many others,

You, like many others, probably like the euphoria that gambling provides. Are there other ways to get that same feeling without gambling?

VLT addictions

Hi JustVisiting:

I am about the same age as you, and I have the same problem, but for less time (I have been gambling for 4 or 5 years) and a greater severity (lost $2000 last time I played the VLTs). I was just reading an interesting story in The Walrus about when VLTs were brought to Alberta. Three or four government representatives went to Las Vegas to investigate the possibility of bringing VLTs to Alberta. One of them was an economist. All of them supported the idea of trying to bolster Alberta's economy with these machines. Eventually the economist became addicted, and defrauded the government of $100,000 to support his addiction. Strange world.

Personally, I don't think that you stand a chance against your addiction without external constraints. You need to limit your access to cash. Cancel your credit cards. Reduce your bank limit. And above all, if possible, exclude yourself from the casino. Unfortunately, with VLTs you can still play them at bars, so restricting your access to cash is probably the only way that you can go. Come clean with your partner and get rid of your access to his account.

They say that problem gamblers are filling some kind of hole in their life. I am not sure that I believe it in all cases. I think that almost anyone can become addicted to VLTs and slots. I think that it is because the individual losses are insignificant (but add up) and the wins are very sudden and dramatic. I did not understand the appeal of these games at all until I tried them. I think that they should be banned.

If you can make it impossible for yourself to gamble, your life and thoughts will return to normal. It is really great for me to be banned and have a life again. But I remember the pleasures of gambling and I know that I would be back in a second if I weren't banned.