The Globe and Mail has a new investigative reporting series called ‘Bad Bet‘ about problem gamblers. Besides the usual stories, there is an audio timeline feature and some interactive content created in Flash. Photo credit: John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail
October 2 - Casinos spend millions to make losers feel like winners. Lisa Priest chronicles the story of Paul Issacs who played machines, roulette and baccarat. It took him less than two years to lose over $1.2-million.
Casinos, in turn, rewarded Mr. Isaacs with Rolex and TAG Heuer wristwatches, theatre tickets and limousine rides. And when his home sustained smoke damage, he and his family stayed free at the Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls, Ont., for 21/2 months, meals included. It’s a card casinos play often. Government-owned gaming emporiums are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to provide gamblers with “comps” – from hotel rooms to hockey tickets to cruises – feeding players’ habits and leading some to financial ruin.
October 03 - A family man’s tragic transformation. There is also an audio/photo timeline about Mr. Hallet whose family estimate he lost over $380 000 and eventually committed suicide.
John Hallett lost his interest in reading and playing with his grandchildren. He began to drive without tags or insurance. All he wanted to do was go to the casino, Lisa Priest reports. ‘This is not my father,’ his heart-broken daughter said. And one day, even he couldn’t take it any more.
October 05 - The million-dollar club: Losing big, losing often:
High rollers are losing more than $1-million a year apiece and others are dropping hundreds of thousands of dollars at some Canadian casinos, according to documents that reveal for the first time the magnitude of gamblers’ betting habits.
October 05 - Wheels of fate not a … ways kind to seniors. This article features a number of statistical charts/graphs.
lutching the handle of his worn cane, Don Blair boards a bus that will transport him from the parking lot of a discount grocery store to another world – a glitzy casino a province away. It is not an easy journey for Mr. Blair to make with his aching back, knees and hips. But it is too good a deal for the 85-year-old to pass up. The coach picks him up in Brockville, Ont., and whisks him to Quebec’s Casino du Lac-Leamy for five hours of gambling – for $15, round trip.
October 05 - Losing big, losing often . Scroll down in this article to reach the transcript of the live chat entitled: “Problem gamblers and governments who love them”.
In Monday’s Globe and Mail, reporter Lisa Priest detailed the exploits of Canada’s top 100 gamblers in The million-dollar club: Losing big, losing often. After examining the data, Robert Williams, the Lethbridge co-ordinator of the Alberta Gaming Research Institute, said it is “very likely” a majority of those in the top 100 are problem gamblers. According to Mr. Williams, it’s “scandalous” that governments have not done more to identify and help them - a conclusion he reached after conducting studies that show the highest net losses are sustained by problem players.
October 06 - What to do when your best customers have a problem:
Problem gambler Barbar Maalouf signed a form banning himself from Ontario’s casinos more than six years ago, but he returned to Woodbine Raceway hundreds of times, driving up his total gambling debt to at least $1-million. So severe was his compulsion to bet that for five months he had no home, and at times the free casino buffet was the only meal for him and his wife Georgia, he said.
October 07 - Gambling-related suicides across Canada:
Quebec has the highest number of gambling-related suicides in Canada – some 225 of them over a seven-year period. But not all provinces compel their coroners to report gambling-related suicides, which often require investigation to disentangle the deaths from other causes. With no countrywide statistics, The Globe and Mail contacted each province to track the numbers of gambling-related suicides. Although the Canada Safety Council estimates 200 problem gamblers kill themselves each year, The Globe found only 46 such deaths were recorded in 2006 among the seven provinces reporting.
And finally, the interactive Flash features: Slot tutorial and Slot calculator
Game Planit, producer of products to educate consumers and operaters on ethical gaming, have developed the following tools in order to explain the inner workings of slot machines and similar games of chance to problem gamblers. They were developed by the President of Game Planit, Roger Horbay, who is a seasoned manager, electronic gaming machine expert, problem gambling specialist, trainer and researcher. He agreed to share them with Globe readers.