Big losses and Big lessons

Listening to former addicted gamblers can teach you a lot and that is exactly what Congress recently did through a recent hearing.  They heard testimony from many witness but the most shocking had to be Mr. Leonard Tose. The Rightside Advisors reported why:

At a hearing by the United States Congress into gambling, the most compelling witness by far was Leonard Tose. He reckoned that he had lost about $40 million through gambling, or it might have been as much as $50 million. He couldn’t be sure. The money had seeped away gradually though consistently, sometimes no more than $10,000 during a frugal night at a casino, sometimes as much as $1million… In one bleak run of ill-fortune he lost 72 nights in a row.

Gamblers like this are clearly not as common as the average addict who loses everything gambling; they just have more to lose.  But they do provide key insight into how quickly you can lose and what policies could best protect the public.  The article explained:

The politicians who listened in fascination to Mr. Tose’s account of how to lose money quickly were trying to understand the nature of gambling, and whether it should, or could, be controlled.

Mr. Tose was asked if he had any advice for Congress. “Don’t drink when you gamble,” he said. It sounded obvious, but it drew attention to the practice of some casinos that provide big-spenders with an unlimited supply of drink.

The problem of drinking while gambling goes well beyond the high-rollers as just offering alcohol to gamblers represents a tremendous risk for the patron and a promise for the casino.  Instead of regulations that expand drinking in casinos, we need to examine ways to decrease its dangerous effects, just take the $40 million dollar loser’s word for it.

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