Sunday, February 17, 2013

Gambling and the State of Addiction

When I first say this headline I thought it was a misprint. How could anyone, let alone the wife of the founder of Jack in the Box and the former mayor of a major American city, lose a billion dollars playing slot machines.

I knew Maureen O'Connor when she was mayor of San Diego, I had two friends on the city council and was a familiar face at City Hall. So it was sad to see that she had become the victim of a horrible addiction.

There is little difference between video poker machines and crack pipes. Both are media to deliver a mind numbing euphoria. The victims of crack tend to be young minorities while video poker victims tend to be the elderly. And, of course, pervading crack is a major felony while in many places offering video poker gambling is perfectly legal.

Maureen got in trouble when she started visiting the many Indian casinos in San Diego's back country. I've never opposed Indian gaming, not because I thought in a noble pursuit but because whites had been robbing Native Americans of their pride and property for two centuries and I didn't see a problem in them returning the favor.

But casinos are a curse. They victimize the vulnerable. In California, at least, Indian casinos are generally located on unlit, rural roads that become death traps when the casinos release their drunk and depressed victims to drive home.
A half century ago Rod Serling wrote a classic Twilight Zone episode on this subject. A slot machine obsessed Franklin (above), calling to him, following him, taunting him, bankrupting him, and driving him to suicide.


Anonymous said...

If she didn't steal from a charity to feed her addiction, I might feel sorrier for her.

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