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Rolling the dice on America

A pair of dice on a craps table.
A pair of dice on a craps table.
@ alex/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

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From colonial horse racing to dog fighting, football pools and online poker, America has always been a nation of gamblers. But as states have come to rely more and more on gaming as a revenue source, we’ve seen a corresponding increase in casinos, slot machines and video poker – accompanied by a nationwide rise in gambling addiction. In 2007, Americans lost more than $92 billion gambling – about nine times what they lost in 1982. In its 2013 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the American Psychiatric Association will reclassify pathological gambling as a “behavioral addiction” akin to alcohol and drug addiction. If you or someone you know is hooked on gambling, you may already be aware of the havoc it can wreak on your family, your work, your finances and your life. But what about the larger picture – the destructive effect it has on society? In his new book, Sam Skolnik asks: what is the cost of our nation’s gambling sickness? What are the roots of this self-destructive behavior, and what is being done in the way of treatment?

If you or someone you know needs treatment for problem gambling, the government-sponsored treatment hotline is 1-800-522-4700. The California government's treatment program can be found at .


Sam Skolnik, author of High Stakes: The Rising Cost of America’s Gambling Addiction

Timothy W. Fong, M.D., co-director of the UCLA Gambling Studies Program