Are Casinos Responsible for Gamers’ Addictions?

Charlie Joon, CasinoIntensity editor

One of the most apparent qualities in an American is the inability to accept personal responsibility for our own reckless behavior. Just as tobacco companies force us to smoke and fast food industries force us to eat, online casinos force us to gamble. Recently, a Minnesota lawyer has filed a lawsuit against two casinos to the tune of $20 million dollars claiming that they directly contributed to her addictions.

After losing her law degree because she spent over a thousand dollars of her clients’ money at Atlantic City and Las Vegas casinos, Arelia Taveras decided she had had enough. She would sue. Taveras argues that she was neglected by the casino owners. She would spend business weeks at a time gambling without eating or sleeping, brushing her teeth with disposable wipes. She feels that this was proof enough that her mental stability was at stake and that she should have been cared for by the casinos facing charges. Apparently it was the duty of the casino to kick her out, clean her up and march her straight to a Gamblers Anonymous meeting, as well as to have Ph.D.’s in psychology. This way, if she were to return a few days later with more of her clients’ funding and a good night’s sleep, she would have won some money. These sue-happy "victims" would surely be singing a different tune if they had gambled successfully under such mental conditions. In fact, if they had asked her to leave, she’d have the legal grounds to sue for infringing on her right to be there. If this had presented a problem before she was disbarred, it certainly wasn’t apparent when she had spent years vacationing at Las Vegas resorts.

There’s another reason that online gambling ought to be legalized. If she had turned to an online casino, she’d have had no leg to stand on, and taxpayers wouldn’t have to fund frivolous court cases.

The question remains, is it honestly the gambling establishment’s responsibility to kick the habits of their clientele? Aside from the fact that many top online casinos do provide its members with resources for help centers, the truth remains that in the mental health field, gambling addictions are classified as an impulse control disorder. That is to say, if it weren’t gambling, it’d be something else. If the plaintiff succeeds in her efforts, does this open the door for addicts everywhere? Human beings can become addicted to anything: food, cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine, prescription medications, shopping, sex, etc. By Taveras’ theory,  distributors of these goods should come into legal question as well. That may have gotten Spitzer off the hook.

Perhaps its time as a society to quit pointing the finger every time we become a victim of a circumstance that we have created for ourselves. It’s no secret that gambling can have adverse effects on some people. The media has made us well aware of that. Gamblers know this when they walk in to a casino. It is not the civic duty of the casino workers to prevent customers from throwing themselves into financial ruin.

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