Almost 50% of Problem Gamblers Are Women


October, 1999. Phoenix, Arizona. Women Problem Gamblers on the Increase

“Whether it’s in a casino or online, poker and other games of chance are becoming increasingly popular. It’s not just men who are addicted, a growing number of women are becoming compulsive gamblers, too. Early Show correspondent Hattie Kauffman takes a closer look at the troubling trend,” news anchor.

“The reality is the longer you gamble compulsively, which is what I was doing, the more you become a compulsive liar,” Melanie Morgan, former gambling addict.

“In the 1980s Melanie Morgan was a successful television anchor until her gambling addiction cost her, her job and nearly destroyed her marriage,” Hattie Kauffman, CBS national correspondent.

“I would lie about where I was going, what I was doing, who I was with, how much money I was spending,” Melanie Morgan.

“Even her pregnancy did not stop Melanie from gambling,” Hattie Kauffman.

“Of course I was in a terrible environment, smoke-filled rooms, hardly taking care of myself. I was gambling until an hour before I gave birth,” Melanie Morgan.

“After her son was born, she often left the infant with an assortment of babysitters,” Kauffman.

“I remember packing up the baby one day and driving around to each of the card rooms where I thought she might be and finally locating her and taking the baby in its carrier and putting the baby in the middle of the poker table and saying, ‘You got a choice. You want to play cards or you want to be a Mom?’” Jack Morgan, Melanie’s husband.

“I knew at that point I was in desperate trouble and I knew I was sick, sick, and needed help. And I still didn’t want to stop,” Melanie Morgan.

“You might think the opportunity to gamble non-stop would be limited to a trip to Las Vegas or Atlantic City, but the temptation is everywhere. Visit here in Phoenix and you’ll be greeted with the Arizona Casino guide, listing 22 casinos, dog racing, horse racing, bingo and more,” Kauffman.

“I won $10,000 playing bingo. It just hooks you right in,” former compulsive gambler.

“Slot machines,” another compulsive gambler.

“Mine wasn’t slots, it was draw poker,” another compulsive gambler.

“I sat down with three women in recovery from compulsive gambling: Shannon, Freda, and Vicki,”

“Do you have any idea how much you’ve lost to gambling?” Kauffman.

“I’ve lost $300,000. It was all of my retirement money,” Vicki.

“I have thought it was around $35,000 but my husband has stated that it’s around $50,000,” Shannon.

“It was around $115,000 to $200,000,” Freda.

“But Freda lost a lot more than that. She lost a year of her life when she went to prison after stealing cash to gamble,” Kauffman.

“The sick compulsive gambler will do whatever they have to do to gamble,” Freda.

“It makes me think about a drug addict who steals to get the drugs,” Kauffman.

“It’s an addiction. It is an addiction,” Freda.

“Psychologist Paul Good says that it used to be women used to gamble to escape their every day life, but now more are being lured simply by the action,” Kauffman.

“A sense of excitement, of being on the edge. You are literally holding your fate in your own hands at a poker table. For a women, that could be a powerful riveting experience,” Paul Good, psychologist.

“Is it a high? Is it a euphoria?” Kauffman.

“Oh yes. Oh yes it is. It’s like a drug,” Freda.

“Especially when you hear the bells ringing,” background voice.

“According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, in the 1980s just a handful of women sought treatment for gambling addiction. Today, almost half of those seeking help for gambling addiction are female,” Kauffman.

"You are going to see gambling take its place alongside alcoholism and drug abuse as being one of the most significant addictions of our time,” Paul Good, Psychologist.

“How hard was it for you to walk into a group and say, ‘I’m one of you?’” Kauffman.

“It was very difficult because it takes a tremendous amount of courage. I thought that I would find people who were filled with tattoos, they weren’t going to be like me but every body was like me. Every was just like me,” Freda.

“With treatment and regular attendance at the 12-steps program, all of these women have their lives back and Melanie Morgan has her broadcast career again. She hasn’t gambled in 14 years but she knows it’s just one day at a time,” Kauffman.

“One bet. That’ it. That’s all it takes and I could instantly be back in that place that I was in before,” Melanie Morgan.

“And in fact, every one of these women have relapsed at least once, even after hitting bottom,” Kauffman.

“Even not gambling after 10 years,” Freda.

“Despite the fact that you spent a year in prison?” Kauffman.

“That’s right,” Freda.

“So every day not gambling is celebrated,” Kauffman.

“Today I’m at day 100 day,” Vicki.

“You’re at 100?” Kauffman.

“100 days. Yes,” Vicki.

“Does she get an applause for that?” Kauffman. [EVERYONE CLAPS]

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