A three-part series about a young couple daunted by gambling addiction has been released on the “Death, Sex & Money” podcast. The first episode was released on August 4, 2021, followed by episode two one week later on August 11. It discusses the challenges and hurdles caused by gambling addiction an anonymous couple has been going through.
The podcast is hosted by the National Public Radio, an American is a privately and publicly funded non-profit media organisation which has been founded in 1970. Under the umbrella of financial therapy as general topic, the couple talks with financial therapist Amanda Clayman about the aftermath and consequences of a gambling debt.
Real names of the couple involved were not revealed and they were instead called “Cora” and “Garrett”, the latter of which amassed a debt of $18,000 through online gambling in the early stages of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The first part provides some details about the secret gambling addiction of “Garrett” while the remaining two episodes barely cover the topic anymore at all.
It is not entirely clear from the three special podcast episodes in which US state the couple is based and through which means the debt was created. However, Garrett mentions “in one hand I won $5,000”, essentially hinting at online poker or video poker. Other forms of gambling with jackpot wins may also be possible including blackjack.
The podcast certainly paints a dark picture of online gambling, which can quickly lead to severe consequences in the wrong hands. It all started with “Garrett” getting laid off his regular job and due to his alcoholic/addictive tendency, one thing led to the other. He replaced drinking alcohol with online gambling and funded the account with a credit card, which should have set off red flags with the operators.
After an initial winning start, the account of “Garrett” went into the red zone and it culminated in a suicide attempt, which he survived. A hospital visit followed and his partner then took control over the financial management. This extreme example appears to happen in just a few cases but gambling-related issues have certainly taken a toll during the ongoing pandemic.
All American states with legal online gambling offer various options for problem gamblers to seek advice and help, which was pointed out by the podcast at the end of each episode. They specifically mentioned the following hotlines and organisations:
- National Problem Gambling Helpline: 1-800-522-4700
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
- Online support for gambling issues: gamtalk.org
While this particular scenario raises more awareness towards problem gambling and the consequences that come along, it doesn’t paint the entire picture either. The podcast doesn’t necessarily mention the measures in place by the legal operators on US soil including options such as the possible self-exclusion, deposit limits and various other tools.
The revenue in the online gambling industry has increased significantly and the National Council on Problem Gambling conducted an intensive survey about the attitudes and experiences on this topic. All findings were released earlier in 2021 and one of the key findings concludes that “legal prohibitions or restrictions on gambling have minimal effect on gambling
The conclusion comes at a time during which many online gambling operators have ramped up their security and safety efforts across the board. Responsible gambling efforts have undergone a facelift and public campaigns on social media are running on a regular basis.