<< Dad, please don't gamble

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Gambling problems can affect anyone, no matter your age, your education level, or your income. Anyone who plays can become addicted. Gambling addiction is a progressive illness that can lead quickly to financial and personal ruin.

But if you do have a gambling problem, it is not because you are weak-willed. You have an illness, an illness that can be treated. HELP IS AVAILABLE.

With help, you can stop gambling, and stay stopped. You are not alone. Get help now for yourself and for your family.

Teens get caught up in gambling, too

You don’t hear too much about teen gambling. But there are twice as many teen gamblers as adult gamblers, according to Tom Tucker, executive director of The California Council on Problem Gambling, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping compulsive gamblers.
Although teens can’t do it legally, they go to casino Web sites, use campus bookies to bet on sports games, and bet on card games and coin flips at school. Teens’ gambling habits can lead to stealing from others and abusing their parents’ credit cards. "You can’t really stop them," said Tucker.

Four years ago, a high school student in New York bet on a World’s Series Game with the campus bookie, said Tucker. He lost and owed the bookie $6,000. His wealthy parents could have paid for it, but he was too ashamed to tell them. Instead he made a scene with the police. When he took out a gun and pointed it at his head, the officers shot him. Later they discovered the gun was plastic. In his pocket, he left a suicide letter apologizing to the cops for getting them involved. He also apologized to his parents and told them not to worry. Gamblers have the highest suicide rate of any addicted group, said Tucker.

One of the ways the council hopes to help teens with serious gambling problems is by raising awareness through education. Tucker described gambling as harder to cure than any other addiction. "Nobody talks about it," said Tucker.

The Council offers free books, videos and pamphlets to any teachers or teens who want to know more about problem gambling. To order call (760) 320-0234 or toll free 1(800) 322-8748 and the council will ship them for free.

Tucker suggested that teens who are affected by someone else’s gambling should remember it’s not their fault. "It’s not your job to make that person stop gambling," stated Tucker. If they were better friends, then they’d stop gambling.