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Top 10 Gambling Losers of History

Top 10 Gambling Losers of History

Author: Justin Mckibben

Gambling addiction is an impulse-control disorder, because there is a complete lack of control over the urge to gamble once it takes hold. Those who struggle with gambling addiction are in the grips of a behavioral health disorder that can destroy various aspects of their lives.

There are some infamous addicted gamblers out there, and some are fortunate to have the money to pay for it, but still looking at their recorded losses, it is enough to take heed how gambling can hurt anyone’s pockets. Here are the top 10 gambling losers of history, and how much they lost rolling the dice.

1. $2.25 Million- Robert Maxwell

In less than three minutes, the former media tycoon blew through more than $2 million by playing three different roulette wheels at Les Ambassadeurs casino in London. To make matters worse, there was no income to repay his debt as his successful publishing company went out of business several years later. He reportedly owed several million dollars, due to pension fraud, at the time of his death.

2. $3.15 Million- Jimmy White

Mr. White admitted to losing more than $3 million gambling, mainly on horse racing and blackjack, in addition to spending over $300,000 on drugs. Mr. White also admitted to having a severe alcohol abuse problem during the time he battled with drugs and gambling.. After losing the World Championship Finals in 1994, he admitted to spending his nearly $200,000 runner-up prize on drugs, horses, cards and drinking in only a 24 hour time frame.

3. $10 Million- Akio Kashiwagi

Akio Kashiwage was the sole principal of a real estate and investment business who reportedly made an estimated $100 million per year, the only problem was he gambled money away as quickly as he could earn it.

Reportedly during one particular gambling session in 1990 at the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City he made a deal to bet $12 million. But after blowing through $10 million, he reportedly left the casino claiming that they hadn’t held to their end of the deal.

He still owed casinos millions of dollars at the time of his death in 1992 when he was found murdered in his home.

4. $13 Million- Maureen O’connor

Maureen O’connor is a former mayor of San Diego who was once the wife of the Jack in the Box fast-food chain founder. O’Connor reportedly gambled $1 billion on video poker games throughout the 2000’s.

She eventually was in debt by $13 million through her gambling, which drove her to steal $2 million from the charity set up by her late husband in 2008-2009 to cover her losses, which resulted in the collapse of the foundation.

5. $20.5 Million- Harry Kakavas

Harry Kakavas was an Australian real estate salesman who blew through an estimated $1.5 billion at Melbourne Crown Casino between June 2005 and August 2006, primarily on games of baccarat.

In May 2006 he reportedly spent $164 million in less than six hours, and stole $286,000 to keep up his habit, which landed him a quick jail sentence at one point.

6.$40 Million- Archie Karas

This infamous poker player actually holds the longest-documented winning streak in gambling history. Karas started with $50 and miraculously wound up with about $40 million in 1992.

Any gambler would say to quit while you’re ahead, but Karas must not have got the memo, because he wound up burning through all the money by 1995 gambling.

7. $42.6 Billion- Kerry Packer

Kerry Packer was known as Australia’s richest man, and while he may be widely held as one of the top card players in the world of high-roller gambling, he is not above losing.

Packer gambled away $42 million between September 1999 and August 2000, including losing more than $21 million during a three-day baccarat-filled weekend in Las Vegas.

Packers losing streak didn’t end there, as he earned the largest gambling loss in British history after blowing through $17 million during a three-week gambling binge on blackjack in a London casino.

8. $65 Million- Omar Siddiqui

This unlucky gambler was a successful vice president of merchandising and operations for an electronics company, who eventually lost far more to his gambling.

Siddiqui lost around $65 million on blackjack, betting as much as $150,000 per hand, as if to throw the money away. He ended up spending $162 million in total over three years at the MGM Grand Casino and Sands Casino in Las Vegas.

9. $125 Million- Zhenli Ye Gon

Zhenli Ye Gon was raking in around $350 million over the course of three years as the CEO of United Pharm Chem. But gambling stepped in as a big part of his downfall, and between 2004 and 2007 Gon burned through around $85 million at The Venetian in Las Vegas and $40 million at several other nearby casinos.

Gon was also found guilty in august of 2014 of charges including organized crime, synthetic drug production and activities involving the use of illegal funds. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison as the leader of the operation after funneling a portion of his methamphetamine imports to the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico.

Mexican drug agents and American DEA officials raided his Mexico City home in 2007, where they made the largest drug-cash seizure of all time when they discovered $207 million sitting on the floor in U.S. hundred dollar bills.

10. $204 Million- Terry Wantanabe

The biggest loser on the list is Nebraska-born businessman Terry Wantanabe, whose father founded Oriental Trading Company. Mr. Wantanabe reportedly burned through 9… count it, 9 figures in just a single year!

It was originally claimed he had lost $127 million in 2007, but in 2010 a close review of casino records determined that he had actually lost $204 million! Apparently his gambling was so prolific he was his own tourist attraction.

Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc. reported that 5.6% of its gambling revenue came directly from Watanabe himself for that entire year, and he was later caught up in a court case surrounding his gambling and debts in so much controversy he was at risk of spending 28 years in prison at one point!

Fortunately for him, the casino had indeed broken a few laws themselves, and a confidential deal was made between both parties, ending in his criminal charges being dropped.

Those are some seriously steep price-tags for throwing away money. The reality is, most people who suffer from gambling addiction end up spending far beyond their own means, and in the end the luck runs out. This kind of compulsive behavior can bring the world down on our heads, but it is not impossible to escape. Start betting on yourself and your future in the right way and get the help you need. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

Combo Breaker: Fighting Internet Gaming Addiction

Combo Breaker: Fighting Internet Gaming Addiction

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

I don’t know about you, but if you put me in front of a game, hook me up to the internet and tell me to go crazy- I’ll probably do exactly that, and a little crazier than you intended. So a week later when you peel me from the couch and scrape the junk-food off my shirt, we can talk about my thoughts on internet and internet gaming addiction. For years now there have been differing opinions in the debate on how internet addiction can impact people, and how to best treat those afflicted.

Some think internet addiction in connection to gaming is reaching new levels, especially with many people getting wrapped up into internet gambling. As always different theories promote different answers, and now we can take a look at two countries as they are attempting to treat a problem that seems to have the same effect in both, but the two approaches are very different.

American Internet Addiction Therapy

Since September 9th, 2013 America’s first hospital–based Internet addition program has set up shop at Bradford Regional Medical Center in Bradford, Pennsylvania.  First the patients undergo an extensive evaluation and a “digital detox” that prohibits phone, tablet or access to the internet for at least 72 hours. Then they’re admitted to attend therapy sessions and educational seminars to help them get their internet compulsion under control.

The program is run by Kimberly Young, a psychologist who began studying internet addiction in 1994.  In 1995, she founded the Center for Internet Addiction, and as the World Wide Web became more pervasive, her phone started to ring.

Young defined Internet addiction more specifically by the consequences of overusing the internet, rather than the number of hours spent online. She said there was a difference between people who depended on modern technology but could balance their online life with their offline life, and people whose obsession prevented them from functioning normally.

This facility is just one part of a growing field of study as far as the possible complications of internet addiction, and it’s relation to social media and smartphone technology.

Chinese Centers for Internet Addiction

There are currently 62 boys and six girls in treatment at what is known as China’s oldest Internet addiction treatment center in Beijing, but these individuals experience a rehabilitation program very much unlike the ones we use here.

The facility is run by military doctor Toa Ren, and in its time of active service the center has treated 5,000 people since 2004. The aim of this program is to break the habits of game-addicted teens through labor and military drills, while monitoring the effects of gaming on their neurological activity.

These drills and boot-camp style activities seem very close to the kind of “tough-love” approach that has been tried before in places like the Scared Straight programs in the United States. While some may felt these tactics were effective, the country as a whole seems to have considered the “tough love” style treatment to be discredited and actually harmful for teens.

Tao Ren believes that the rising problem is partly due to the high number of children without siblings who he says live in homes where they are home alone more often because parents work a lot. Stiff competition and economic problems in the region also contribute to the pressure on young people to do well at school, and online gaming can provide some of the needed connection and sense of community that these kids are missing in their isolation, but also an escape from the stiff demands of the world around them.

Center of Controversy

With approximately 632 million internet users and 113,000 internet cafes dispersed around China, including locations that operate 24 hours a day, experts estimate that 10% or 33 million Chinese people are addicted to the internet, some even calling it “electronic heroin”. When considering the evolution of technology and the fact the smartphones and WiFi are keeping people more connected than ever, that may even be a modest prediction.

The government has taken various measures to tackle the problem, including:

  • military-style detox centerswhich claim to “cure” them through therapy
  • medication
  • rigorous physical exercises
  • zero access to the web

But still, many of these facilities are privately run, and the people running them tend to have minimal healthcare experience. In addition, the living conditions can be extreme, and at times even life-threatening

China’s internet addiction treatment centers are highly controversial and in their history there have been a number of intense and disturbing incidences that make some wonder how effective these treatment methods could be in comparison to safety.

  • In 2009 a 15 year old died less than a day after his parents sent him to a camp in the southern Guangxi province. Deng Senshan was allegedly beaten to death by a teacher, and this was not the first reported death at this facility.
  • Ministry of Health recently banned the use of electric shock therapy at another facility

Internet addiction is consistently becoming more understood and acknowledged as a hazardous compulsive condition, and there are theories as to how to take preventive steps and how to identify the more unhealthy behavior. A few countries are trying on a few treatment methods, and they are offering some very different perspectives. Time will tell how much we can learn about the full extent of symptoms and risks associated with internet addiction, and hopefully more productive and effective treatment will come to light.

There are so many forms of compulsive behavior that evolve into devastating and dangerous addictions. Internet addiction and dependence on social media is being linked to the more common forms of addiction like drug abuse. Regardless of what it is that is pulling you down, there is a whole world of healthcare devoted to changing your life. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, do not hesitate any longer. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help. You are not alone!

New Jersey Study on Internet Gambling Addiction

New Jersey Study on Internet Gambling Addiction

Author: Justin Mckibben

Addiction is not a word that is limited to drugs and alcohol. Addiction is a powerful and illusive illness that comes in several forms, which include behavioral health issues that sometimes can fly under the radar as a result of being more socially acceptable.

Gambling addiction is an impulse-control disorder, because there is a complete lack of control over the urge to gamble once it takes hold. Those who struggle with gambling addiction are in the grips of a progressive illness, and a recent study is being done in New Jersey that hopefully can make some notable conclusions regarding the way it affects the general public.

New Money in New Jersey

Since November 25th 2013, internet gambling has become legalized in the state of New Jersey. With internet gambling in the state of New Jersey beginning to generate a considerable amount of discussion, not to mention a lavish payout of more than $102 million in increased tax revenues. The new gambling income has shown a significant amount, though also considered less than the $200 million predicted by the New Jersey Department of the Treasury and Gov. Chris Christie.

Eight other states have legislation pending that would allow Internet gambling. Delaware and Nevada began offering some online gambling this year, but New Jersey is considered the first true test case because it allows a full range of casino games, not just poker, and its much larger population allows for a more in-depth look at how the internet gambling market will be able to flourish.

This new industry has created a growing community of Internet gambling in New Jersey, and that community was launched by the state as a means of aiding the state’s faltering casino industry, which has been in decline since 2006.

Four casinos in Atlantic City, including the Trump Plaza, have actually been closed for business this year. Internet gambling is also legal in Delaware and New Jersey, though neither state has launched any studies to determine the impact of the decision, positive or otherwise, of increased access to betting on its constitutes.

New Study in New Jersey

Rutgers University is now making a considerable attempt to measure the impact of Internet gambling on addictive behaviors. Funded by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement and health department, the three-year study will generate an estimated cost of around $1.2 million, but Lia Nower, professor and director from the Center for Gambling Studies at Rutgers’ School of Social Work, says it will allow researchers to,

“identify what type of person chooses this very private form of gambling, who develops problems, and how those problems are different from other forms of gambling,” 

The survey will initially interview:

  • 1,500 adult New Jersey residents by phone
  • 2,000 residents via the Internet

The interviews will collect information from the citizens about their personal gambling behavior and Internet gambling. After which the Center for Gambling Studies at Rutgers’ School of Social Work will then provide four yearly reports to Governor Christie based on statistical analysis of betting behaviors.

The Underlying Issues

With the results of this new study still pending, and the market not making as much money as initially anticipated, the question may be does this new internet gambling industry have a potential to create a surge in gambling addiction, and if not, what about internet addiction?

Even if the revenue is not there on the books of these online casinos, is this new wave of internet gambling going to help contribute to the growth of the underlying issues here, which are not only gambling addiction, but internet addiction as two separate behavioral health problems that in this capacity can feed off of each other.

More is being done elsewhere so that internet addiction is being taken more seriously while ‘Generation D’ texts, tweets and tags its way through social media and online entities. With gambling addiction already being taken into consideration, what more will be discovered about the developing habits attached to these from the New Jersey statistics?

Impulse-control disorders like compulsive gambling addiction usually go hand in hand with other addictions or compulsions, and it is a wonder if online gambling will also contribute to internet addiction. Often times those who have a gambling addiction can also abuse alcohol and other substances, all to deal with more personal issues. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 

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