Gambling Addiction Basics

The coming age has brought with it numerous new pathological addictions, one of them being addiction to gambling. Pathological gambling was conferred with the status of a disease by the American Psychiatric Association back in 1980s. Robert L. Custer, M.D., is a pioneer in this field of problem gambling.

People who fall prey to this addiction are usually those who secure an income by means of blackjack, poker or other gambling activities. They are professional players who visit casinos not for fun sake, but to employ their skills and earn.

Based on their way of playing and the driving force behind it, gamblers can be categorized. For example, while professional gamblers are skillful and good in their game a casual gamblers plays merely for recreation.

The symptoms of gambling addiction are usually hard to identify. Since this disease is different from other substance related addictions like drug or alcohol abuse, the indications of this sickness are subtle. The nearest possible way in which the symptoms of this addiction can be stated is through the “Custer three Phase Model”. According tot his model, the gambling addiction can be characterized by three phases: the wining phase, the losing phase and the desperation phase.

In the wining stage, the compulsive gambler is ecstatic and overexcited with this earnings and is unwilling to quit gambling. Therefore, the addict usually increases his intensity of gambling . However, losing being the other half of gambling, his wining streak is short-lived. Nonetheless, recurrent losses do not deter him as he wants to win again and get his money back. Addicted gamblers suffer from financial stress, loss of sleep, and mental fatigue in this phase. They face problems at the family front. The patient also tends to borrow huge amounts or avail some money making schemes. As the gambler continues to face loss on every alternate day, he finds it difficult to stay away from gambling. Compulsive gamblers may resort to any means to raise funds for their obsession. They become desperate, with their debts becoming unmanageable. Loss of jobs, fight with friends and family, committing crimes or suicidal tendencies define this phase.

The question as to why does one gamble, can not be answered in definitive terms. One of the dominant reasons is the mental health of the gambler. For some people gambling serves as a n escape route from their lives. A compulsive gambler plays for kicks. He is just unable to stay away from it. Many researchers also blame the easy accessibility to casinos. The government and its lottery fund is also widely condemned.

Treatment programs and centers exist to treat this disease. Regular therapy and counseling is an effective and a widely used technique to cure this disease. Various support groups have also cropped up, where the addicts share their experiences and strengthen each others desire to quit gambling. Some groups that fund such programs include casinos and state lotteries. Some casinos lay stress on responsible gambling and have taken steps to make the people aware about his addiction.

However the first step, before undertaking nay treatment would be to acknowledge this disease. With very slight symptoms and effects this addiction is difficult to catch and acknowledge. Hence it helps to be aware to act wisely.

The VLT – It May Look Like a Slot, But It’s Not

So what’s the difference between a traditional class III slot machine, video poker machine and a class II Video Lottery Terminal? Read on:

Traditional Class III Slot Machines

All outcomes on these gambling games are controlled by a small computer chip called a random number generator (RNG) inside each machine. This device allows the unit to continuously roam through random number combinations at the rate of thousands per second. These combinations are mapped to a specific outcome. It will not stop to select a display until the spin button is pressed or the handle is pulled. Each spin is independent of the next one. They have no effect on one another.

The RNG is installed at the factory to the payback specifications requested by the casino. A chip in each individual machine allows for jurisdictions to order different payback percentages in the same family of machines. (The payback percentage is the total amount of money returned to players over time.) They usually vary between 85% and 98%. Penny machines usually return the lower % amounts while the dollar and up machines return the highest. Contrary to what most players think, a casino CANNOT alter the payback percentages on a machine. This can only be done by factory personnel.

Class II Video Lottery Terminals

Have you ever thought about scratching off about 600 instant lottery tickets in about an hour? Play a VLT at one of the New York State racetracks and you’ll be doing just that. In contrast to the aforementioned, a VLT plays a virtual lottery game that is linked to a central computer operated by the NYS Lottery in Schenectady, NY. They determine the outcome of each wager using an RNG, but with a pre-determined number of winners. The VLT operators can program the number of payouts in advance. Once you start play, the machine receives a virtual scratch off ticket.When the video reels stop spinning he results will be consistent with whatever is on the ticket. The payback percentages are controlled by the scratch off games. In NY the law requires a minimum 92% return.

Other VLT games that operate in Native American jurisdictions are virtual bingo games that are linked together, forcing players to compete against each other for the prize payout(s).

Video Poker VLT’s

There’s a big difference between the class III and class II games when it comes to video poker. A traditional class III machine deals 5 cards from a virtual 52 card deck. After you discard, your final hand is determined randomly from the remaining 47 cards. Your knowledge and skill are a big factor when trying to win.

In a class II VLT, your final hand will be whatever the virtual scratch off ticket dictates. Even if you make a mistake and discard winning cards, a virtual “genie” will appear on your screen and change your hand to the pre-determined winning result. No skill is needed to win. It’s not a 52 card deck. It’s nothing more than a slot machine.

I’m not trying to discourage anyone from playing VLT’s. You can win as well as lose. A 92% payback is a 92% payback. Whatever games you decide to play, you’ll always need a visit from Lady Luck!

Know the Brutal The Facts – Quit Smoking

Its common knowledge that smoking is an addiction but how much do we actually know about it? There are over 4000 known chemicals found in cigarette smoke. one of these such chemicals is known as nicotine. Nicotine is known to be more addictive than many illegal drugs, making it very difficult for the user to stop.

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the western world. In the USA, an estimated $80 billion is spent on medical costs relating to smoking illnesses.

Second hand Smoke

This is a mixture of smoke from the cigarette and the chemicals from the smokers lungs. many of these chemicals are known to cause cancer. It is known to cause lung cancer even in non smokers inhaling second hand smoke. less damaging symptoms of second hand smoking is irritation of the eyes, lungs, nose and throat. When inhaled through the lungs this can cause chest discomfort, difficulty in breathing, excess coughing and phlegm from the chest.

Children are most at danger of second hand smoke because their bodies are not fully developed. Their exposure to the chemicals within second hand smoke can invoke severe respiratory diseases and can hinder their lung development.

Although ventilation systems in the home can reduce the effects a little, it is not sufficient and children are still at the mercy of second hand smoke.

Statistics on the effects of smoking

Smoking causes 1 in 5 deaths in the USA

Each day, over 1100 Americans die from smoking related diseases.

Smokers are twice as likely to die of cancer than non smokers

Over 150,000 Americans contract lung cancer each year. The mortality rate is less than 10%.

170,000 more of the population suffer heart attacks as a direct result of the effects of smoking.

More than 50% of heavy smokers will die prematurely as a result of a smoking related decease.

80% of people with emphysema smoke cigarettes.

More than 2500 infants deaths are direct results of their smoking mothers.

More than 6 million people under the legal age use tobacco.

Children who smoke are 15 times more likely to use drugs.

Cigarettes are the leading cause of fire deaths in the USA

Tobacco is a bigger killer than Aids, drugs or alcohol abuse combined.

The dangers of nicotine

Nicotine is a drug found naturally in tobacco. It is known to be as addictive as heroin. Smokers are known to develop both physical and psychological dependencies to the effects of nicotine.

Nicotine is inhaled deep into the lungs and is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. Then it is carried throughout the other body organs. Nicotine traces can be found in breast milk and in the placenta and umbilical chord of newborn babies.

Nicotine produces a happy feeling when doses are increased which induces the smokes to smoke more. After a while the body develops an tolerance to nicotine. Eventually the smoker will be smoking just to cope with the physically withdrawal symptoms of nicotine and to relieve their psychological dependency.

Nicotine is a poison and makes the heart work harder. It can cause circulatory problems within the body, restricting the blood flow which can result in hypertension to the addicted smoker.

The longer someone smokes, the higher their tolerance and the more difficult it is to quit. Attempts to stop are often beaten by the withdrawals symptoms chapping away at their will power.

Luckily smoking is commonly known to be detrimental to health in the long term and their are competent courses out there to help fight this addiction.

Fox Lake IL Gaming Laws

As early as 2009, 3 years before Fox Lake adopted the 230 ILCS 40 (code for the new video gaming laws), Ed Bender, the then Fox Lake Mayor had seen both sides of the coin regarding the video gaming act. If enacted, he said it might bring the town a bad reputation but at the same time, perhaps it would also attract video gaming enthusiasts from neighboring towns and states where video gambling was illegal. Today, seven years later, video gambling has done more good than harm for Fox Lake and its community. And true to his words, many businesses have sprung up back to their feet. Business data shows that the enactment of this legislation has been good for the whole of Illinois and more local governments are adopting this new law.

By 2012, Fox Lake was waiting for the Illinois Gaming Board to finalize its regulations for the state-run video gaming network so that qualifying business people in the village could apply for their video gaming licenses. Thus, Fox Lake is one of the towns in Illinois that adopted the new video gaming regulations as soon as the law was enacted. How has this affected business in Fox Lake? Many proprietors say they have benefited greatly as we will see later in this article.

At the time, many people thought it was good news – they were right

In 2008, the Illinois smoking ban had gone into effect and it had affected many businesses, with some tavern owners reporting up to 30% less business. However, there was a silver lining in the cloud with the enactment of the 230 ILCS 40 because it would bring back business and compensate the owners for the business they had lost since the smoking ban went into effect.

In a board meeting involving business people and Fox Lake leaders, 10 business people asked the leaders to vote in favor of adopting the new video gaming laws.

But the laws were not accepted from the word go without opposition. Mike Behan, the then Police Chief for Fox Lake had written to the board showing his concerns about the intended adoption of the law. Among his concerns was that legalized video gambling would cause more alcoholism, financial problems in the local families and drunken driving. He was also fearing an increase in embezzlement and fraud cases but he did say that the police would consent to whatever the board voted for.

So, after the adoption of the new video gaming law of Illinois in 2012, has Chief Mike Behan been proved right or has the former mayor been vindicated by an increase in business? All of the evidence available points to the latter. You can confidently conclude that the Fox Lake adoption of the new Illinois video gambling laws was well advised and that it has brought more financial benefits than harm to the locals.

October 2012 to October 2013

The state of Illinois passed the law legalizing video gambling in 2009. Under the new law, fraternal organizations, truck stops, bars, veterans groups and restaurants could set up to 5 terminals in their establishments. They would however have to get a license for each terminal from the Illinois Gaming Board. From 2009, it took a further three years to streamline the regulation but when everything fell into place, Fox Lake was one of the first places to get on the state-run video gaming network, in 2012.

In the first year of approving video gambling licenses in the suburb, the city officials had only budgeted for $12,000 but to their pleasant surprise, the amount of money that video gaming raked in for them was many times more than that, at a handsome $93,338. This revenue was used for funding the Pace Bus program and since then, video gaming revenue has been directed to huge improvements in the village. For a small place like Fox Lake to earn more than $90K in the first year of operation, it shows that there is a lot of potential in video gambling and that is what prompted the licensing authorities to license more establishments to host video gaming terminals.

Fox Lake establishments that have video gaming terminals

Many businesses have enjoyed the benefits of legalized video gambling. One of these businesses is Stella’s Place that offers restaurant services as well as video gaming services. But it is the gaming experience that you will get there that is so outstanding, with more than 40 of video poker games and slots. The beautiful ambience and the good food add to the warmth of the place, attracting more diners and gamers.

It is open every day from 8.00Am to 2.00AM and while it has many items on the menu, gaming is the main course. It is the ideal entertainment place for grownups who want to have a video poker experience to try their luck.

J’s Sports Bar and Grill in Fox Lake has also been a big beneficiary from the proceeds raked in from video gaming. The owner of this establishment once said that video gaming saved the business from closing. Video gaming with voucher payments is now one of the biggest attractions on the J’s Sports Bar menu.

Fox Lake Country Club has 5 gaming terminals, the maximum number that is allowed by the law. The total amount won here is $8,421,675.44 so far. This establishment offers an 18-hole golf course and because it is open to the public, it is a very popular venue for summer vacations and video gaming.

Hidden Point Bar & Grill offers video poker from its three video gambling terminals. This is in accompaniment to some of the tastiest Mexican pork tacos that you will ever taste in the world. The total amount of money won at these three terminals comes up to more than $1.5 million.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that the 2012 decision to allow Fox Lake to get on the state-run video gaming network was a good decision for all parties involved. Business has grown exponentially with some proprietors saying that having video gaming terminals in their establishments saved them from closing down. The local and state governments have also benefitted by getting more revenue to run community programs for the benefit of their citizens. With legalized video gambling in the state of Illinois, more income and better business opportunities have been generated.