According to a BBC report, Mark Johnston lost $500,000 (£298,000) at a Las Vegas casino in a 17-hour session but he says he should not have to pay – because he was too drunk.
He has now sued the Downtown Grand for serving him drinks and lending him money while he says he was clearly intoxicated. Johnston arrived at the casino on 30 January and played at the tables for 17 hours.
Under Nevada law, patrons who are visibly drunk are not meant to gamble. Johnston says the casino served him 20 alcoholic beverages during his gambling session and this came after about 10 drinks he had consumed before getting to the casino.
Gambling addiction and alcohol abuse are wide-spread in the UK, too.
According to the NHS, there may be as many as 450,000 problem gamblers in Great Britain. The anticipation and thrill of gambling creates a natural high that can become addictive. The internet has made gambling more accessible, allowing more and more people to do it from home.
This is thought to be one of the reasons for the increase in the number of women gamblers. There’s also a link between gambling and alcohol abuse. Many gambling addicts are also addicted to alcohol, says the NHS.
And while only 5 per cent of gambling addicts actually seek help for their problems, hypnotherapy is an increasingly popular option.
Therapists registered with the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) will, during sessions with their clients, endeavour to address the addiction itself and any underlying problems which could have triggered the addiction. This could be anything like a trauma, stress, or depression.
So, are you a gambling addict? It is a big step between someone who enjoys an occasional bet at the races a few times a year and someone who seems to need to gamble daily. It’s passing that line between hobby and compulsion that makes it an addiction.
The earlier the signs are detected, the easier it is to be cured. If you find it hard to stop gambling, are defensive about the money you spend gambling, find yourself becoming increasingly reclusive and are starting to neglect relationships, this could be a sign that you have a problem.
As with all compulsive and uncontrollable behaviours, living with a gambling addiction can have a seriously negative effect on all aspects of an addict’s life.
Psychological dependence can often begin when the activity is the only thing that will either give pleasure or relief. The subconscious learns the behaviour and tends to resist any conscious attempt to control it and physical addiction can follow when the body’s actual metabolism changes.
If you think you need help, visit the NCH’s hypnotherapy directory to find a hypnotherapist near you. If you are working longer term with a hypnotherapist, it is worth meeting a few, or having a chat on the phone. It is of utmost importance that you feel comfortable and are able to relax and open up to your hypnotherapist.
Take advantage of any free first session or discussion with a hypnotherapist to assess how you feel when talking with them.
Back to Johnston. While the casino has refused to comment, beyond saying Johnston will be pursued for the money, his lawyer, Sean Lyttle, described this as an ‘extraordinary case’. He said: “Someone was blackout intoxicated where they couldn’t read their cards, and yet a casino continued to serve them drinks and issue more markers.”
Lyttle said his client had put a stop-payment order on the markers issued by the Downtown Grand, and was also seeking damages from the casino for sullying his name.