One Atlantic City gambler and her boyfriend lost $100,000 in just two days this past January. The woman also lost her job and now owes five casinos in Atlantic City $205,000 without any way to pay it back. The woman was so distraught, she called the vice president of her host resort, an individual responsible for keeping gamblers happy so they will keep coming back. The woman sounded desperate and he referred her to Arnie Wexler, New Jersey’s former head of the Council on Compulsive Gambling and former gambler himself. Wexler helped the woman get into a program for addicted gamblers and pledged to help her work out an agreement to pay the casinos back. According to USA Today, there are thousands of people in this same situation and Wexler travels across the country to give training sessions for all casino employees so they know how to spot possible compulsive gamblers and what to do if they suspect any. Wexler offers a variety of ways to intervene with potential gamblers at the casinos. From hands on intense sessions, he personally gives a more passive way such as providing brochures that show where you can get help for your gambling addiction. There are two main motivators casinos have for handling problem gamblers:
- The casino executives believe they have a strong moral obligation to not take advantage of them.
- Problem gamblers also make lousy customers because by their own nature, they turn into a bad debt.
Most casinos have implemented some sort of responsible policy on gambling. This can often be quite a tricky balance by an industry whose entire business model depends on gamblers who risk and lose money.