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It is important to understand that the effect of expanded gambling on children is two-fold.

First, according to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission,

"Children of compulsive gamblers are often prone to suffer abuse, as well as neglect, as a result of parental problem or pathological gambling."

Second, by expanding gambling, the existing, serious, under-recognized youth gambling problems will worsen.

According to Howard Shaffer, Director of the Harvard Medical School Center for Addiction Studies

"We will face, in the next decade or so, more problems with youth gambling than we will face with drug use."

Learn More About...

The Effect of Parental Problem or Pathological Gambling

In Indiana, a review of the state's gaming commission records revealed that 72 children were found abandoned on casino premises during a 14-month period.

In fact, children have perished as a direct result of adult gambling problems. In Louisiana and South Carolina, children died after being locked in hot cars for hours while their caretakers gambled. An Illinois mother was sentenced to prison for suffocating her infant daughter in order to collect insurance money to continue gambling.

Problem gambling is linked to substantial increases in divorce, family violence, child physical abuse, childhood attempted suicide, and childhood depression.

More disturbing stats:
  • At least 10 percent of children of gambling addicts suffer physical abuse at the hands of the addict

  • children of pathological gamblers frequently reported feelings of anger, sadness, and depression

  • 23 of the spouses and 17 percent of the children of pathological gamblers were physically and verbally abused.

  • 50 percent of spouses and 10 percent of children experienced physical abuse from the pathological gambler.

Expanded Gambling's Youngest Victims

DE - Police that on Sunday at around 9 p.m. a security guard patrolling the parking lot at Delaware Park Racetrack and Slots spotted a 12-year-old boy alone in the car. Police say the boy's 33-year-old mother the boy in the car for more than two hours. According to police, the car was parked away from the main building and there was no way the boy's mother would be able to see the child from inside the facility. (Woman Arrested for Leaving Son in Car Outside Del. Casino 10/12/09)

BRITISH COLUMBIA - The 35 cases resulted in gamblers being barred for at least one year, according to reports obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, which provide a harrowing portrait of the social costs of gambling. In all, B.C. imposed such bans in 87 incidents of gambling-related child abandonment from 2004 to 2008. The cases include: A mother left her two children, aged 7 and 9, in the trunk of her burgundy Chrysler Intrepid on June 17, 2004, while she gambled at Boulevard Casino in Coquitlam...(B.C. sees record tally of gambling parents leaving kids in cars 10/5/09)

NY - A Brocton father was arrested after leaving his 2 1/2-year-old son in a car parked outside the Seneca Nation bingo hall in Brant for an hour while he gambled inside Thursday afternoon, according to the Erie County Sheriff's Office. The boy was sweating profusely when he was pulled from the sweltering 2004 Jeep Cherokee, but he was sent home after an evaluation in Lake Shore Hospital in Irving, the Sheriff's Office said Friday. The father, Jose Morales, 29, of Pullman Street, was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, said Dennis Rankin, chief of police services for the Sheriff's Office. Deputies know that the boy was alone in the car for 65 minutes because Morales checked in with a card provided to frequent bingo hall gamblers when he entered the building, Rankin said. (Gambling with a child's life, 9/15/07)

A 4-year-old boy was left in a car unattended in subzero weather while his father gambled inside Mystic Lake Casino. The boy was suffering from mild hypothermia and faced dire physical consequences had he not been discovered, authorities said. Olson added that such incidents at Mystic Lake happen "a few times a year, but not all the time." A casino patron found the boy wandering in the parking lot, police said. The temperature was minus-7 degrees with a minus-22- degree windchill at the time. . (Father charged with endangering son, 2/9/07)

SC - If anything sealed the fate of video poker in South Carolina, it was the sad tale of Joy Baker, a 10-day-old baby who suffocated in a car while her mother played the machines at a roadside casino in August of 1997. "Precious little Joy is dead because her mom is addicted to video poker," read the newspaper ad from the Palmetto Family Council.... (link to full article, June 2005)

WI - Prosecutors have charged a Neenah woman with a misdemeanor count of child neglect after they say she left her nine-month-old child in her car while she gambled at a casino. According to a criminal complaint, 40-year-old Julie Boone visited the North Start Casino in Bowler. Authorities say the child was dressed in a long-sleeve top and was covered with a crocheted blanket, but by the time deputies arrived, the temperature had dropped to 37 degrees. (Woman left baby in car while gambling, Wisconsin, 10/31/06)

NV - A 26-year-old Gardnerville woman was arrested Wednesday after casino security guards found a 2-month-old baby and his 3-year-old brother locked in a car with the air-conditioning and motor running. Deputies were called to Carson Valley Inn at 2:10 p.m. by casino personnel who found the car in the lot with the motor running, all the doors locked, the windows rolled up and the air conditioner turned on. The children were in their car seats. (Mom accused of leaving two tots in car, Minden, Nevada, 10/20/06)

IN - It was 9 degrees outside when the Keisha Clark, 24, left her 16-day-old infant, 2-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son in a car while she went into an East Chicago casino Feb. 19., police said. The infant was discovered unresponsive in the car about 1:30 p.m. that day, authorities said. The baby was successfully revived and two other children in the car were unharmed. (Woman must take parenting classes, Crown Point, Indiana 9/2/06)

NJ - A Camden County couple accused of leaving their 3-week-old son alone in a car in a casino parking garage for several hours this weekend have been charged with child abuse and child endangerment. Security personnel at Caesars Atlantic City Hotel Casino found the child just before 1 a.m. Saturday after patrons reported seeing him in the backseat of the car. The officers remained until the child's parents - Jennifer Drake, 19, and Andrew Delano, 21, both of Clementon - returned to the car around 4 a.m. (Couple charged over child left in car, 9/2/06)

OR - Bonnie says she'd played bingo throughout her life but that her compulsive gambling began with video poker. Within two months, Bonnie says, she was stealing her son's allowance and paying frequent visits to her bank's cash machine. She'd return bottles to the grocery store just to get money to gamble. Three times she sold her blood plasma. (Oregon to offer inpatient treatment, 7/23/06)

OK - A Keefeton woman is being given probation after pleading guilty to leaving her 2-year-old granddaughter locked in a pickup truck last August while she gambled inside a casino. Loretta Webb was given a two-year deferred sentenced and fined 200 dollars for leaving the child inside the locked pickup while she played slot machines at the Creek Nation Travel Plaza. (Woman pleads guilty to leaving child in truck while gambling, June 2006)

NV - Two children were rescued Friday afternoon from a sweltering vehicle by Budweiser delivery men who noticed them locked inside, crying and one of them bleeding in a casino parking lot. McDonald said when they looked inside the dark tinted windows of a GMC Jimmy they saw a little girl with her nose bleeding and a baby boy in a car seat "covered in sweat." Ernestina Leon, 44, was arrested on suspicion of two counts of gross misdemeanor child endangerment and neglect and two counts of misdemeanor leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. Leon was baby-sitting the children while their mothers worked. (Children pulled from hot car, 4/29/06)

OK - Loretta Webb of Muskogee, accused of leaving her 23-month-old grandchild in a hot vehicle while she played the slot machines at a tribal casino, will stand trial. (Woman to stand trial for child neglect, 4/14/06)

CA - Sycuan Indian Reservation - Sheriff's detectives are investigating after a (6-month-old) child died yesterday, apparently while waiting in a car with his father outside Sycuan Casino while the mother was inside. The cause of death was unknown. (2/16/06 - Baby dies in vehicle waiting at casino)

Australia - Punted principal left $31,000 gambling bill - A battling primary school is being forced to repay the debts of a gambling-addicted principal who stole from it. Glen Devon Primary School in Werribee lost more than $31,000 to former principal Lisa Trowell's pokies (slot machines) habit. Now the school has been forced to pare extra-curricula programs it would otherwise have offered students, such as arts programs, because it is cash-strapped. (11/5/05 http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,17206960%255E2862,00.html)

OK - Gambling grandma, ... Loretta Lynn Webb, 43, went to the Creek Nation Travel Plaza in Muskogee and left her 23-month-old granddaughter locked in a pickup with outside temperatures reaching 88 degrees. ... Police said Webb won $265 while in the plaza, but we know no amount of money would have been worth the loss of her granddaughter. This incident adds a new dimension to the problems that can result from gambling. Not only will some people spend money in casinos instead of purchasing things their children need, but they will tell their small children to wait in the car patiently while they go get a soft drink and then not come out for a long time because they were ambushed by a slot machine. (8/26/05 Gambling Grandma should know better)

Tokyo - A six-month-old baby died in Japan after her mother left her in a car in the summer heat to play slot games and did not even return during a major earthquake, police said on Thursday. Police arrested Saori Konno, 27, for allegedly causing her daughter's death by leaving her in the car without air conditioning for two and a half hours on Tuesday in the northern city of Ichinoseki. The mother was half an hour into her game when an earthquake registering 7.2 on the Richter scale hit, but she did not return to the car, a police spokesperson said. (8/18/05 - Gambling mom charged with baby's death)

NV - A mother and her boyfriend are facing felony murder and child neglect charges in the death of a two-year-old girl found in squalor last month in a Las Vegas trailer home. Adacelli Snyder weighed just 11 pounds when she died June 29th. Authorities say she starved to death, and she had sores and insect bites on her body. Adacelli was born with cerebral palsy, and authorities say she and two sisters between the ages of two and five were found in a northeast Las Vegas trailer full of rotting garbage, human waste and vermin. Police say the mother, 28-year-old Charlene Snyder, and her boyfriend, 25-year-old Jack Richardson, spent the child's state disability checks on gambling. The other girls and Richardson's one-year-old son are in Clark County custody. Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com (Mother, boyfriend face murder charges in death of Las Vegas girl, 8/10/05)

Canada - Linda Resmini, a former nursing administrator at McMaster Children's Hospital, was sentenced to two years in prison this week after stealing $1,030,000 from a fund for newborns in need of reconstructive surgery for cleft lips and palates. The provincial agency that owns Casino Niagara ... But Teresa Roncon of Ontario Gaming and Lottery Corp., the casino's owner, says casino officials had no idea Resmini was playing with stolen funds and the agency is not required to make restitution. (Children's fund blown in casino should be repaid, say gambling foes, 5/4/05)

NM - "I deal with that all the time," Salazar said. "It's sad when I have to go and evict a family because ... the single parent who lives in the home has spent all the family income at the casino and they don't have any food and they can't pay their utilities, much less their rent. "It's kind of hard for me to go home and sleep at night when I know there are young children who don't have a place to sleep." (City officials see gambling's dark side 1/7/05)

AU - Criminals are recruiting problem gamblers to use as "shoppers" in a major fraud scheme aimed at Brisbane retailers. Gamblers, mostly young people in their teens or early twenties, are loaned money to pay their debts but are then told there is a simpler way to repay the money. They are provided with airline tickets to Brisbane and false credit cards and identification to enable them to buy goods. (11/18/04 http://www.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,11418743%255E3102,00.html )

NZ - A 25-year-old mother and a 41-year-old grandmother will appear in the Christchurch District Court after a distressed girl was found wandering around a casino car park. It is alleged the women drove from North Canterbury last night, parked their car leaving a six-year-old girl asleep in it and went to the (Christchurch) Casino. (10/13/04 http://home.nzcity.co.nz/news/default.asp?id=43994&c;=w)

MS - Mom faces neglect charges after child hit - A Hancock County woman faces neglect charges after she is accused of going gambling and leaving her 3-year-old son home alone to be hit by a car. Thuvan Huynh, 39, is being held on $150,000 bond at the Hancock County Jail. She is charged with three counts of felony neglect, Sheriff Steve Garber said. The woman allegedly left the boy and two other children alone at their mobile home Saturday to go to Casino Magic in Biloxi. Huynh's 5-year-old daughter then tried to walk the boy and the woman's 3-month-old third child to their father's house when the boy was struck by the vehicle. (8/16/04, Waveland, MS, http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040816/NEWS01/408160361/1002 )

WI - Surprise money from son clears mother's gambling debt - Waukesha - A woman who ran up gambling debts of $6,100 on credit cards she took out under her son's name while he was on a tour of duty with the U.S. Army in Iraq has been placed on probation for the crime and the debt has been paid by her son. (6/1/04,Milwaukie Journal Sentinal)

IL - Through a freedom of information request, ABC7 News has obtained the most recent statistics on unattended children at casinos. The Illinois Gaming Board says there have been 68 such cases since 2000. In Indiana, there are many more -- 215 since 1999. Horseshoe Casino in Hammond has reported 33 children left unattended -- the highest number in our area. The Empress in Joliet follows with 19 incidents in the past three years. Child welfare experts say it is abuse and should be prosecuted. (ABC Channel 7, Chicago May 15, 2003)

MN - A 4 1/2-month-old baby was left alone at a casino hotel for several hours, and child endangerment charges are possible against the parents, authorities said Monday. (Prior Lake, Minn. 1/4/00.)

IL - McHenry man faces two child endangerment charges for allegedly leaving his two small children in his van while gambling at an Elgin riverboat. Christopher J.Duca, 36, 5413 Euclid Ave.McHenry, was arrested Tuesday by Elgin Police.At about 6:30 p.m.security at the Grand Victoria Casino noticed a 1-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl sitting inside a locked white van alone and strapped into their car seats. (McHenry, Illinois, 5/16/03)

IA - After consuming Cognac and beer at the hotel-casino in (Meskwaki Casino) Tama, Iowa, Joy decided to go for a drive. She took her two year old daughter, Tyra, with her in the vehicle. She placed Tyra in her safety seat. There was snow and ice on the ground at the time and Joy lost control of her car while going around a curve. The car left the roadway and struck a telephone pole. Tyra was thrown from her car seat and suffered a fractured skull and a collapsed lung. She was airlifted to the hospital, placed on a ventilator, and remained in intensive care for over a week. Joy admitted she was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident. A blood test at the time of the accident showed Joy had a .109 alcohol concentration. (State of Iowa v. Brienne Laree Joy, Iowa Court of Appeals decision 6/9/04)

Bradford, England - A British father who has sold his 15-year-old daughter for �15,000 to pay off his gambling debts is being investigated by police.The girl, who lives in Bradford, contacted West Yorkshire Police three weeks ago to tell them that she had been sold and was to be sent abroad to be married to her new "owner". (5/9/04, News Telegraph,)

NM - A 15-year-old girl who was abducted from the parking lot of the Big Rock Casino in Espanola and raped is suing the casino. Attorney Merit Bennett says the casino was negligent in not providing adequate security or lighting in the parking lot. Bennett says such measures could have helped prevent the February 2003 abduction. He says casino parking lots must be patrolled. Bennett also says casino officials refused to help the girl�s mother look for her daughter, who was at the casino to have dinner with family. The lawsuit alleges the girl, then 14, was abducted after three males invited her to listen to a CD in a vehicle. (3/27/04 KOB-TV, New Mexico http://kobtv.com )

Australia - A report is being prepared for the Department of Family and Youth Services after a three-month-old girl was left in a car in Adelaide's south yesterday afternoon while her father was inside a hotel, gambling. The publican of the Port Noarlunga Hotel was forced to use a spanner to smash his way into the car to free the girl who was distressed in the warm conditions. (3/21/04 - http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s1070325.htm)

MS - A Gulfport woman is in the Hancock County jail on felony child abuse charges after she allegedly left a 3-year-old relative in her car for about five hours while gambling at a local casino. (The Sun Herald, Mississippi, 11/17/03) OR - - A licensed day-care provider left three toddlers in a van at Spirit Mountain Casino while she gambled for 11 hours Thursday, authorities said. The two boys and a girl, ages 1, 2, and 3, were found soaked, soiled and dehydrated." (Statesman Jounral, Salem, OR, 9/15/01) Last Thursday Zelda Luann Schmid, age 27, allegedly left the children, ... strapped in their car seats as she gambled at Spirit Mountain casino for nearly 11 hours. ("Woman Gambles 11 Hours While Children Left in Van, KPTV/Sept. 2001, Oregon)

NV - Moments before his trial was to begin, 19-year-old Jeremy Strohmeyer pleaded guilty Tuesday to kidnapping, murder, and sexual assault charges in the death of 7-year-old Sherrice Iverson at a Nevada casino in May 1997. (CNN.com, 9/9/98)

CO - Central City, CO reported six times more child protection cases the year after casino gambling was introduced. (Long, Patrick, Jo Clark, and Derek Liston, "Win, Lose, or Draw?", The Aspen Institute, 1994, p.54)

NE - The record shows that in August 1996, Adrian was charged with child endangerment after leaving one of his daughters, then age 2, locked in a car while he gambled at a casino riverboat. (Nebraska Court of Appeals, May 27, 2003)

Children of problem gamblers are more likely to do poorly in school, have substance abuse problems, eating disorders, gambling problems, and depression (National Gambling Impact Study, June, 1999, p. 7 )

MO - Mom lost eleven children in a deadly house fire in 1981. She had left the children home alone (10 months to 11 years old) while she was out gambling with their father in St. Louis. In the two decades since the fire, she has had six more children. Gambling lies near the center of most of the mom's problems. She loses consistently and often uses her children's public assistance money and checks for their various medical disorders to gamble, her children said. Consequently, she and her children have frequently been homeless. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch 3/26/01 By Denise Hollinshed)

IA - Two people from Illinois are accused of leaving two children in a van while they went to Isle of Capri Casino in Bettendorf, Iowa. The children - ages two and six - were found by security guards in the riverboat's parking garage on June 23rd. The windows were rolled down and the keys were in the ignition. Temperatures that day were in the upper 80s to lower 90s. (The Associated Press, 7/14/03, Bettendorf, Iowa)

According to the National Council of Compulsive Gambling, one in four children of compulsive gamblers has behavioral or adjustment problems in school, abuse alcohol and other drugs, runs away from home or is arrested. (1/5/99 http://www.familyfirst.org)

MI - A Michigan City woman already facing criminal charges for allegedly abandoning her children outside Blue Chip Casino is accused of gambling away much of her parents' life savings. Currently, Cabanaw has a felony child neglect charge still pending for allegedly leaving her children, ages 2 and 8 months, inside her car outside Blue Chip Casino in December. (South Bend Tribune, 8/29/03)

Gaylon told Perkins as she sat trembling in her counselor's office. When asked what could compel her � a lifelong Mississippi Gulf Coast resident, devout Southern Baptist, stay-at-home-mother of five children � to give up everything for a hooker's life on the street, Gaylon replied, "Satan can appear to be an angel of light, and that's what those casino lights are for me." Gaylon pondered placing her teenaged daughter in prostitution to gain more gambling money. (American Family Association Paul Griffin Jones, II, Ph.D. 1.28.02 )

GA - A Georgia mother pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter after her 10-day-old baby died of dehydration in a sweltering parked car - while she played video poker for two hours in a South Carolina Casino. (New York Daily News, February 22, 2003) CA - Last month, the union released a UCLA survey of 199 cooks, bartenders, janitors and attendants at one of the Agua Caliente tribe's two Coachella Valley casinos that found that nearly half of the children of casino floor workers are enrolled in the state's Medi-Cal or Healthy Families programs for the poor. The report said the tribe saves about $1 million a year by offering a family insurance plan that many employees said they could not afford. (LA Times, April 2, 2003)

NY - The police began looking for him after questioning two girls - one 13, the other 15 - who were picked up in a sweep of prostitutes in the Bronx. The police said that the girls told them that Mr. Bradley... had forced them into prostitution. Mr. Bradley, was arrested...and was charged with promoting prostitution and with raping the two girls. The police said that when Mr. Bradley was arrested, he had 27 $5,000 chips from the Trump Taj Mahal Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. (Police Say Suspect Had 27 Stolen $5,000 Chips, Richard Lezin Jones/4.29.02, New York Times)

NV- Shannon said prostitutes now flock to Las Vegas because they can make $10,000 to $15,000 a week working on the Strip. And, many of the those offering sex are children, Shannon said. Since 1994, police have arrested 179 prostitutes under age 18, including two 12-year-olds, he said. (Detective predicts success for county's anti-prostitute zone" /Mike Zapler/10.22.97/Las Vegas Review-Journal )

Toddler left in car while parents are in casino. Tunica County sheriff's deputies were called to a casino parking lot early Saturday morning, where they found a child locked inside a hot car. The car had Tennessee license plates. That's that's how Tunica County sheriff's deputies were able to track down the parents who left their 3 year old child alone while they did some gambling. It was at least 80 degrees when someone found the child in the car at the Horseshoe Casino in Tunica. (WMC TV, 8/16/03 http://www.wmcstations.com/global/story.asp?s=1405297&ClientType;=Printable) />

IL - Dina Abdelhaq went on trial Friday on charges of insurance fraud, with federal prosecutors alleging she suffocated her newborn daughter in 1995 in an attempt to collect on a $200,000 life insurance policy. Fifteen months before 7-week-old Tara Abdelhaq's death, another daughter of the defendant, Lena, also died in her crib. Abdelhaq, 34, of Hickory Hills, insists that both infants died from sudden infant death syndrome. But in laying out the government's circumstantial case in opening remarks to jurors, Assistant U.S. Atty. Ronald Safer said the odds of more than one death in the same family from SIDS are one in a million. The one thing both sides in the case agree on is that Abdelhaq had a gambling addiction: Three days before Tara's birth, she was arrested on a riverboat casino for passing bad checks, according to Safer. (Chicago Tribune, Staff Writer, January 23, 1999)

IL- A woman bent on feeding her gambling addiction suffocated her 7-week-old daughter to collect on a $200,000 life insurance policy, federal prosecutors said. "She would do anything to get money with which to gamble - including the unthinkable,"..."(Feds: Mom Killed Over Casino Debt" Associated Press, AP/1.23.99/Las Vegas SUN)

LA -- A man accused of leaving his 13 month old son alone inside a sweltering minivan at Harrah's Casino was jailed on a felony charge.Joel Mesa, 23, of Bossier City. was arrested after someone spotted the toddler strapped in a car seat in the back of the van about noon Sunday, police said. Outside temperatures at the time were in the mid 90s. Mesa told police he had a gambling problem, police reports showed. (Shreveport, LA - Associated Press, July 22, 2001)

IN - Despite increased state oversight, some 80 children have been left unattended by parents or guardians at Indiana's 10 riverboat casinos during the last year and a half. In one incident, a 13-year-old girl had to have 27 stitches after injuring herself in a casino hotel workout room. The adults had left her and two friends to play by the pool while they gambled. (Courier Journal, 1/3/02)

MI - A small-business owner, had just returned from a trip to the Las Vegas Strip's MGM Grand Tuesday when he allegedly killed his pregnant wife and three children (under 7 years old) before turning the gun on himself. In his Mich., home, police found a suicide note blaming gambling addiction - and $225,000 in shredded casino markers. His business was $500,000 in debt because he withdrew the money to cover his gamblling. (Las Vegas Sun 11/22/00 Las Vegas Review-Journal 11/23/00)

IL - A Naperville man wanted for questioning in the slaying of his ex-wife crashed his sport-utility vehicle into a semi truck on a rain-soaked road in rural Iowa Wednesday morning, killing himself and his 6-year-old daughter. John Scherer's history of drinking and gambling in part led to the collapse of his marriage, according to divorce papers filed in Will County." Father, daughter die in crash Manhunt for Naperville man wanted in wife's killing ends on slick Iowa highway" (By Mike Cetera & John Zaremba/Daily Southtown, 7.11.02)

VA- An 11-year-old Herndon girl died yesterday after initially surviving the slayings of her mother and brother and the suicide of her father, who authorities now say had defrauded area banks of nearly $2 million and had $10 million in gambling and other debts. Reha Ramachandran was grazed by a bullet that struck the back of her head as her father, Natarajan Ramachandran, killed his wife and 7-year-old son Sunday night. Reha died yesterday afternoon at Inova Fairfax Hospital after her brain swelled as a result of the injury. Sources familiar with the investigation said that before his death, Ramachandran had written nearly $2 million in bad checks in an attempt to cover mounting debt totaling more than $10 million, some of it from gambling losses at Atlantic City casinos. "It is a sad day when the love of money and the fear of failure drives a man to destroy his entire family," said Lt. Bruce Guth, a Fairfax County police homicide investigator. " (Lone Survivor of Father's Shootings Dies"/Wendy Melillo and Brooke A. Masters/8.6.98/Washington Post )

CA - The survivor of a stabbing in Mesquite will soon be leaving University Medical Center. Meanwhile, videotape (This is surveillance video inside the Casablanca Casino @ 1:19 AM) from the confrontation between the girl's mother and the stabbing suspects could help investigators pinpoint what happened the night two little girls were stabbed. 10-year-old Brittany Bergeron is improving. Her 3-year-old half sister died in the attack. Although she is paralyzed from the waist down..."(Mesquite Casino Surveillance Video Released Holding Clues to Stabbings"/by Atle Erlingsson/ klastv.com/1.31.03)

CA - A teenage murder suspect told police that he and his sister stabbed two little girls in Mesquite because he had been ripped off in a drug deal by the girls' mother and her boyfriend, authorities said Friday. Three-year-old Kristyanna Cowan died and her 10-year-old sister, Brittney Bergeron, was left paralyzed in the 2 a.m. Wednesday attack in a trailer at the Casa Blanca hotel-casino recreational vehicle park where they lived with Bergeron and Schmidt. Bergeron and Schmidt were in the casino at the time. (Sign on San Diego, January 24, 2003)

LA - A two-year-old boy died after his baby sitter left him in a van to play video poker. (Times-Picayune, 4.12.97)

WI - The man accused of leaving his child in a freezing cold car so he could go gamble was charged Friday with child neglect and possession of drug paraphernalia. Police said Bruce Clausing left his 5-year-old daughter in a cold parking lot while he gambled inside Potowatomi Bingo Casino. (http://www.themilwaukeechannel.com/news/1949979/detail.html , 1/31/03)

GA - A 10-day-old baby left inside a car died while her mother gambled in a casino. (The Associated Press, 9.4.97)

IN - Westville, Ind., woman whose 2-month-old daughter was found unconscious in her car while she gambled. "Children often left alone at Indiana casinos" (By Grace Schneider/The Courier-Journal/1.3.02)

MT - Officers discovered a 3-week-old baby in the car, which had been parked in the sun. The mother, 27-year-old Angela Lauber of Bigfork, allegedly left the babygirl in the car for more than an hour while she gambled inside the casino. Officers said Lauber had, in fact, gambled with her daughter's life, as temperatures Wednesday topped 80 degrees. Temperatures inside a car on such a day can exceed 150 degrees... (Bigfork woman leaves baby in hot car"/Missoulian/ 7.11.02)

NC - man arrested after locking his 2-year-old and 4 year-old in a car while he gambled. (The Associated Press/9.4.97)

NC mother left her 6-month-old daughter in a locked car while she gambled. (The Associated Press, 9.4.97)

IA -- A Cresco, Iowa, man faces child endangerment charges after police said he left his 10-year-old daughter locked in a car while he gambled at Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino.The car was locked and the motor running," Altoona Police Chief John Gray said.(Police say man left daughter in car while gambling /ASSOCIATED PRESS/12.24.02, Altoona, Iowa)

WA - Auburn police say a mother spent three hours inside Freddie's Casino, leaving her 13-day-old baby girl alone in a car in the casino's parking lot. (Auburn, Washington, KOMO-TV, July 19, 2002 )

WI - A man was charged with leaving his 5-year-old daughter alone in an unheated car in 5-degree weather while he gambled at Potawatomi Bingo Casino. (Milwaukie, Man charged with leaving girl in unheated car outside casino"/Las Vegas Sun/1.28.03) The National Gambling Impact Study Commission reported: "Children of compulsive gamblers are often prone to suffer abuse, as well as neglect, as a result of parental problem or pathological gambling. " (National Gambling Impact Study Commission (NGISC) Final Report, June 1999, p. 7028)

VA - On July 9, a Virginia woman was arrested after leaving six children inside a sport-utility vehicle while gambling at the Caesars casino in Harrison County. (Las Vegas Sun, July 18, 2000)

IN - The one Indiana case in which a child suffered trauma occurred in May 1999 at the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City. Diane Simac of Westville was arrested and charged with child neglect after leaving her 3-month-old daughter in a locked car with the windows rolled up. The infant was revived after receiving oxygen. (Las Vegas Sun, July 18, 2000)

IN - The Louisville Courier-Journal said its review of Indiana Gaming Commission records found approximately 72 children were left unattended in the 37 episodes since May 1999, when the state first began compiling such information. (Las Vegas Sun, July 18, 2000)

IN - In Indiana, a review of the state's gaming commission records revealed that 72 children were found abandoned on casino premises during a 14-month period. (Grace Schneider, "Children Being Left Alone While Parents Gamble," Louisville Courier-Journa, July 18, 2000)

Children have died as a direct result of adult gambling problems. In Louisiana and South Carolina, children died after being locked in hot cars for hours while their caretakers gambled. (Joe Darby, "Sitter Indicted in Toddler's Death," New Orleans Times-Picayune, May 23, 1997, p. B1; "Police: Baby Died of Dehydration in Car While Mom Gambled in Casino," AssociaTed Press, September 2, 1997.)

MI - Child neglect charges filed - A Marne man was arrested Saturday on charges of child neglect after he and his pregnant wife left a toddler in a car while they gambled in the Little River Casino, state police said. Police said the child was left in the car, which was not running, for up to 90 minutes until a patron noticed the 16-month-old crying uncontrollably in the car and notified casino security. (The Grand Rapids Press, 2/12/01)

CT - Cases of child abandonment at Foxwoods, the nation's largest casino in Ledyard, Conn., became so commonplace that authorities were forced to post signs in the casino's parking lots warning parents not to leave children in cars unattended. (Stephanie Saul, "Tribe Bets on Growth," Newsday, August 11, 1997)

A 10-year-old boy and his dog were left alone in a vehicle Sunday while his parents gambled at Blue Chip Casino. ("Child left alone as man gambles"/Nixon interactive/7.24.00)

IN - Four children were left alone for at least four hours in a car parked at Buffington Harbor. The mother of the children, ages 2, 3, 9 and 16, was arrested late Tuesday after she emerged from one of the two casino boats there.Police found the youngest children clad only in diapers, crying because they were hungry and cold, police and witnesses said. (Youngsters left alone in car as mother gambles"/By Steve Patterson, Gary, Indiana)

IN - Then, in July 2000 -- after a Virginia woman was charged with leaving six children inside a hot car with the windows rolled down at Caesars. (Children often left alone at Indiana casinos"/By Grace Schneider, The Courier-Journal/1.3.02) IN - Those incidents, coupled with others statewide, make a total of 38 separate incidents in which 73 children have been left alone while adults gambled. (Casino official says no children allowed"/By Rhonda E. Sobecki/Nixon Interactive/7.27.00)

GAFFNEY -- A Blacksburg woman has been arrested after police say she left her two toddlers (3-year-old and a 1-year-old) outside a convenience store while she played video gambling machines. "Woman charged after toddlers left alone while she played video poker (By The Associated Press/12.15.98)

IN - A day after she left five kids alone in a car in a casino parking lot, Rena Hitchcock walked out of the city jail. (Mother who left kids in car while she gambled is released without charges"/By Steve Patterson/9.16.00, Gary, Ind.)

LA - A Houma woman left her 12-year-old daughter and the girl's friend stranded outside The Esplanade mall in near-freezing weather while she gambled into the early hours of the morning at the Treasure Chest casino, Kenner police said. (Kids left in cold while mother gambles"/The Times-Picayune/12.25.98)

LA - SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) -- A woman was arrested on two felony counts of cruelty to a juvenile after she allegedly left two children in a car with the windows rolled up while she played video poker. (Children abandoned in car while woman plays poker"/The Associated Press/7.26.00)

RI - NEWPORT -- A 33-year-old Massachusetts man was charged with child neglect Thursday after he allegedly left his 6-year-old daughter alone in an unlocked car while he was in Newport Grand Jai Alai for almost two hours. (Man accused of leaving girl in car at Jai Alai"/by Scott Mayerowitz, projo.com-news.html, 11.4.01)

IA - A Maxwell woman left her three children (ages 3, 10 and 21 months) alone in a car on New Year's Eve while she was inside Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Altoona, Polk County officials allege. (Officers find three children in a vehicle in the parking lot."/By Tom Alex/ DesMoinesRegister/1.9.02)

MONTREAL -- A couple has been fined $85 for leaving an 11-month-old baby alone in a parked vehicle while they gambled at the Montreal Casino. (Gamblers fined for leaving baby"/Canio Limited Partnership, 7.22.00)

Canada - A London father who left his nine-year-old son alone in a car at night while he played the slots at Western Fair says he's a good dad and did nothing wrong. (Dad tells his side of story about leaving son in car"/By RANDY RICHMOND/The London Free Press/8.2.00)

New Zealand - Puao Faumuina left her baby in her car at Sky City Casino's underground carpark and took a lift up to the gaming floor, promising herself she would only spend a few minutes on the pokie Machines. More than three hours later she was still gambling and 7-week-old Neva - left unchecked in the suffocating heat of the car - was severely dehydrated. Ms Faumuina later tried to kill herself. (Casino's pull and a near tragedy, By Tony Wallin, NZ Herald/12.22.01)

Fatal statistics

Reasons 171 children died in closed, parked vehicles from 1994 to 2002.
  • Forgotten by caregivers: 39 percent.
  • Children playing in unattended vehicle: 27 percent.
  • Left intentionally by adult:20 percent.
  • Undetermined:14 percent.
Source: Injury Prevention
Heat related deaths to young children in parked cars: an analysis of 171 fatalities in the United States, 1995-2002

The effects of gambling proximity on youth gambling

Public officials promoting expanded legalized gambling should pause, do some independent homework and re-think the consequences. Independent studies consistently demonstrate long term costs easily outweigh short term benefits by $3 to $1. (Gambling in America-Costs and Benefits by Earl Grinols, 2004-summary on line)

The National Gambling Impact Study Commission (NGISC-1999) provided evidence that more money is spent on college campuses on gambling than on alcohol. They cite a study by former Attorney General Scott Harshbarger that minors as young as 9 years old were able to purchase lottery tickets 80% of their attempts, 60% of minors were able to place bets on Keno machines and 75% of high school seniors report having played the lottery.

The Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery reports 80% of those between 12 and 17 say they have gambled in the last 12 months and 35% report they gamble at least once a week.

Robert Goodman, in The Luck Business (1996), reported evidence that gambling is the fastest growing teenage addiction, with the rate of pathological gambling twice that of adults.

A McGill University review of the literature (Youth Gambling Problems-2005-on line) cites research revealing adolescent problem gambling leads to delinquency, alcohol use, criminal behavior, depression and suicide. They confirm that 4% to 8% of adolescents (compared to 1% to 3% for adults) have very serious gambling problems, while another 10 to 15% are at risk. These statistics are alarming.

Problem gambling has become legitimized, destigmatized and is socially invisible. Gambling addiction, unlike smoking and alcohol use, is promoted by government. Increases in gambling opportunities, will double the number of problem gamblers, according to a study done by the NGISC.

Public officials unwittingly accept the distorted message that the economics of gambling will support educational funding. In most states, legislators reduced educational allotments from the general fund by about the same amount raised through gambling revenues. Gambling ultimately destabilizes the economy. (Kindt, p. 135 and 43)

The school's greatest problem with the "casino culture" is a conflict in thinking, behaving and values. Schools are expected to foster student attitudes that are not about luck, materialism, winning and instant gratification but about equal opportunity, doing the best you can (win, lose or draw), sharing, hard work, financial responsibility and long term thinking. Maladaptive behaviors, as well as adaptive behaviors, are learned from family, friends, school teachers and the cultural values of the environment. Youth learn to gamble in the same ways they learn to smoke, to drink, to over eat or to acquire any other self defeating behavior.

Young people today are the first generation to grow up with video games, computers and in an environment in which gambling has been legal their entire life. They are particularly vulnerable to its lure. Public officials should not minimize this.

There is no means to confine the impact of legalized gambling to adults. A Rutgers University study found that teens are twice as likely to be heavy gamblers if their parents gamble (Table 2.14). Teens are one-third more likely become pathological level 3 gamblers if their parents gamble (Table 3.5).

A University of Delaware study found that almost one-third of 8th and 11th graders in that casino state had gambled in the past year. Those Delaware teens gambling over the past month were two to three times more likely than non-gambling peers to smoke, binge drink, steal, or use illegal drugs. Student test scores drop. High school drop out rates increase.

The Gaming and Alcohol industries both face the problem of having to market to a demographic which includes those who are legally prohibited from participating. And just as underage college students manage to find ways to get hold of alcohol, they will find a way to get into casinos. In fact, it's already happening and causing a regulatory problem for the gaming industry.

However, a study by Platz, Knapp and Crossman titled Gambling by Underage College Students demonstrated that for students residing in an environment affording opportunities to gamble, age is no impediment.

The study revealed that...
  • 59.8% of 18 year olds,
  • 72.8% of 19 year olds, and
  • 86.1% of 20 year olds
...admitted to gambling in a casino because a casino was readily available.

And making things worse, according to the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling, "Teenagers have a problem gambling rate of 10%-17%, a rate 2 to 3 times higher than the general population."

College students who become problem gamblers will spend money they don't have, max out their credit cards, steal money or credit cards from others, resort to other crimes to pay off their gambling losses, lie, borrow and steal from family and friends, do poorly in school, lose jobs and scholarships, and eventually become depressed and suicidal.

And many casinos offers free drinks - sometimes around-the-clock. How many college students wouldn't drive ten or twenty minutes for that?