Gambling addiction is a serious problem, and not a pretty sight to witness. How far do people actually go to satisfy their gambling needs, you may wonder. In this article, casino employees share the saddest case of gambling addiction they’ve witnessed.
[Source can be found at the bottom of the article]
20 years I worked as a cashier at a casino when I was around 19 and worked for around 3 years so I got to know the regulars.
Some of the things I saw that were awful didn’t have that much to do with the gambling more just to do with addiction in general.
The worst was a gambler on oxygen who had a lung condition she got from smoking (not sure what exactly). She finally got a transplant and told us about it and the freedom she now had, how she felt so much better. She was good for a while and then she took up smoking again! Back then you could smoke in the casino so we knew as we could see her.
Then there was a drunk woman who puked on her coat and tried to coat check it and then freaked out when security asked her to leave (coat check was beside the cashiers).
Overall, I just knew a lot of the regulars were wasting all their money, which was depressing because if used just for entertainment gambling can be fun.
Like 15 years ago my husband was a bar porter at a casino. He would bus his cart around for everyone in the middle of the night and get off in the morning. He says when he would come back the next evening some of the people playing the slots would still be there from the previous night. They would wear diapers they didn’t have to leave their machine.
I’ve worked in casinos for over a decade and the saddest thing I routinely see is young children standing around waiting on their parents to finish gambling. We track down the parents and make them leave but they always come back.
I worked in the restaurant of a casino. We had a mother and daughter who were regulars but not there every day – maybe once or twice a week they’d come in and spend at least 8 hours on the slot machines.
One time they hit it big, they won the jackpot which if memory serves was about 15k… they looked so happy and they were crying tears of joy. I was happy for them, they were really nice people. Instead of going home and enjoying their winnings they stuck around feeding more money into the machine.
They came back every day for the next week. Within that week the 15k was gone. After another week they were both banned for asking other guests for money to borrow so they could play…
Former casino employee, I saw a man come in on his 50th birthday with his kids. They ate at the buffet and then sat down at a machine. The man put a 100 in the machine, spun twice, won a 50k jackpot and had a heart attack and died. We tried to resuscitate but it didn’t work.
I was dealing blackjack one day, only one guy at my table. Looked to be about 45-50.
We had been playing for awhile, and the poor guy couldn’t win to save his life. He was playing right; splitting 8s and Aces, staying on 17s, the whole nine.
One hand I have an ace up, and open insurance. He looks at me, his nose a little red and his eyes wet.
“Are you alright, sir?”
He broke down crying.
The poor dude had just lost his wife to his gambling addiction earlier that day. She couldn’t take it any more.
I tried to console him; we have a program at my casino that will limit your gambling to help your addiction. He cheered up, and later visited to thank me, saying he got his wife back and turned his life around.
We had this guy who had just won a couple thousand on slots, he was super excited and said he would be back to collect after he smoked a cigarette. I was clocking off at the time but overheard one of the techs say “He better smoke two, reason being if you owe the government money for something like child support for example they can take all your winnings, which is exactly what happened. I got out of there before he came back inside.
I worked at one in one of the offices so I was there in the daytime.
We had multiple suicides at our property, which really freaking jolts you. I’d come to work only to learn the police were on scene investigating.
I can assure you that working at a casino is one of the most depressing places to work. I didn’t like to walk the casino floor because you saw people without joy just aimlessly walking around hoping their luck will turn around. Daytime brings out the real gambling addicts. As a hospitality professional I’d never encountered so many unfriendly grumpy patrons. Once I left I realized how heavy it felt working in that environment.
There are exceptions to the rule, and maybe nighttime gamblers are more of the fun party people you think of, but daytime just felt sad to see so many defeated people, especially senior citizens and people who appeared to not have the means to carry on that lifestyle.
One time I cashed a guy out for 3k worth of chips. He looked like he was trying not to cry and just said to me “I lost it. I lost everything.” I was sympathetic and said “Oh I’m so sorry.” When he left I pulled up his account to see his how much he had lost. It was just his third visit but on his first visit he lost 67k, the second one 50k, and on the last visit (when I cashed him out for 3k) he had lost 440k. He self excluded himself from the casino for I think six months after that and was caught at least twice that I know of trying to come back in to gamble.
I worked VIP reception at the hotel of a large casino. I’ve seen people win and lose. I’ve seen people come to check in for one night only to extend their stay for a week because they’re chasing their money. I checked a man into his suite for the weekend only to find him back at my desk a half hour later checking out because he had already lost $50,000.00. I’ve had wives frantically calling because husbands have cleared out their accounts and disappeared. I listened to a woman sob on the phone that her husband had taken their kid’s college savings. Stories of people defaulting on their homes trying to “turn their luck around”. Casinos are cities of vices and sometimes you see the lowest a person can get.
I worked for a casino in Mississippi. A man from Illinois called and said he did a (voluntary) lifetime ban from all casinos in Vegas, but wanted to know if he could drive to Mississippi and gamble at the casinos here. I spoke with my supervisors and they said he could gamble in Mississippi… I went against my supervisors and told the guy that he was not allowed in any casino. I would have felt terrible about helping him relapse.
Currently working at a casino as a slot technician. This just happened a couple of months ago…
Some younger guy (early 20’s) came up to this casino town for the weekend. A bunch of my dealer friend’s had interacted with him during the couple of days he was here. Apparently in 2 days he lost around 13,000 at multiple casinos. Afterwards he walked to the parking garage and jumped.
I used to work in a casino as an EMT , but this is about a friend of mine. He gambled away all his money sold all his stuff and was forced to go live back at his parents. His parents had to take a short term loan to get him home. He gambled all that money away too. His parents got another loan but now they are getting evicted from their house. He still claims that it was 7/11s fault (where he worked at) for not paying him enough forcing him to gamble to make ends meet. He also claims that his parents need him to live with them because he takes care of them.
I mainly work on the slot machines with the jackpots, which can be a lot of fun when people are get excited over their win! However, we have a lot of regular customers that tend to get really irritable, frustrated or just don’t react at all when they win. This is usually because they’ve spent a lot more than they are winning. It’s probably not the dramatic answer, but it is the form of possible problem gambling that I see the most, so I find it to be the saddest thing about the job. Usually, there’s at least one person who is gambling there the whole time I’m on shift.
The list is endless. Here is one particular event that stuck with me.
An elderly woman who was completely disoriented after having a grand mal seizure was resisting the EMTs who were attempting to render her medical assistance. She began to get up and then she noticed one of the machines light up and flash. She made an audible groaning sound, and awkwardly ran towards it. An EMT put a chair behind her and sat her down. They continued their work while she mashed all the buttons, completely disoriented. Gambling addiction is real. It is deeply rooted in your brain. Even when she bit off a section of her tongue, and was barely breathing, she still wanted to smash every button on all the slot machines surrounding her.
Countless children sitting on the edges of the gaming floor waiting for their terrible parents whom have been arrested for child endangerment as a result.
A gentleman who grabbed a slot machine with both hands and very forcefully hit his own head on the large curved screen of a machine after he lost $100.
It just goes on and on.
I worked in a casino for over 5 years in the cage (Where you bring your tickets or chips to get cash). The saddest event that ever happened at the casino I worked at was by far a suicide.
An older couple had spent hours at the casino and spent (what the wife thought) was a reasonable amount of money. As they were leaving the wife had to go to the restroom and the husband proceeded out to the parking lot to get the car. Or at least, that’s what his wife thought. The husband went out to the car, grabbed a jerry can filled with fuel and doused himself. He got in the car and lit himself on fire. His wife came out to find the car and her husband in flames. He didn’t survive.
Work as a bartender that is a part of the gaming floor in Melbourne, Aus. The complex is open 24 hours, 7 days a week and the only days we close are Christmas Day, Good Friday and ANZAC Day. Even on those days the casino is only closed from 4am-12pm.
Was working an open shift on the morning of ANZAC day and witnessed a large crowd of elderly at the entrance of the complex waiting to come back in to resume playing on the machines. Was really surreal watching them shuffle in like cattle back to their regular spots.
I worked in Casinos for 6 years. I’ve seen people defecate themselves, completely sober, because they refused to leave their slot machine until it hit. I’ve seen grown men wearing tutus walking the slot floor. I’ve seen addiction so bad that a man burned through $150,000 in the space of 1 hour at a high roller blackjack table, the money was borrowed from the casino marker bank. The worst thing I’ve seen is children left in the casino bathroom and locked in the stall for hours while their parent(s) play the slots.
Ex Casino Dealer here. Oh my God the stories.
I don’t even want to get into all the ones that were sad for the players. I just remember this one time wanting to die so badly because this party of five middle aged women came to my table and kept winning, and one of them was winning a lot. None of them had ever gambled, which is always the worst kind of player because as they learn they all go though the same “witty comments” that I’ve heard a billion times. As the one lady was winning each time her friend would say in the most annoying, sitcom-like tone possible, “Oh my gaaawwwdddddd Gail!”
I got relieved of that table quick after telling my pit boss I was losing my mind.
I worked in casinos in Mississippi for quite a few years. This is a story from the craps table. The following incident happened back in the 90’s.
Several young (early 20’s) couples were playing on my table. They were having a good time, but seemed to know nothing about the game. Of course, we tried to teach novices while the game is underway, but sometimes (karma / fate / the capricious will of the universe / whatever you want to call this nebulous concept) outpaces the learning curve.
They were playing the sucker bets (mostly the field) and started to win quickly. Sometimes the dice just seem to want to give away money. Complicated explanations of things like “place bets” and “come bets” went right past their alcohol-soaked brains. (Yes, Virginia, there is a reason those drinks are free.) One young fellow in particular was winning hard and fast. While his friends were betting small amounts, he was pressing his bets aggressively. The whole group were whooping it up and having a high old time, but this guy and his fiance were clearly – and with reason – the most excited.
The guy had bought in for $100. In about 15 minutes, he’d racked up about $20,000 in cheques (“chips” interlock when stacked, cheques do not). Then the dice began to turn. His packed rail of cheques began to slowly shrink. When it got below ~15k, the fiance started trying to get him to leave. I recall her informing him at one point that he had “a down payment on a house” in front of him. Of course, the big and easy wins had him convinced that he was playing the genius strategy and just needed to hold the course through this dry spell.
It took him about another 15 minutes to blow through it all. As the bankroll shrank, the fiance became more and more agitated. She yelled at him, tried to pull him away by the arm, screamed at him. Nothing got through. When he was down to a few thousand, she became hysterical, clawed the ring off her finger, threw it at him and stalked off screaming between her sobs.
Looking subdued and resigned, he played back the rest of his winnings until he left the table with nothing.
I was a casino driver part time for awhile. Driving premium gamblers home after a day at the tables.
I’ve met people from all walks of life, high rollers to that 80 year old granny who’s there to play slots because she has nothing to do.
The saddest story I’ve come across was this guy… let’s call him Joe.
My initial contact with Joe was when he took my car back to his place. His family in tow. He had just won big. I sent him to one of the high value estates in my country. Smiles all over. Tipped me $500 bucks. Spoke to him while on the road. Investment banker, married with 3 young kids, owned a few properties. I asked him if he came to the casino often, he said just once a week to cool off and eat good food. Prim and proper with a nice shirt and pants.
I took 3 shifts in a week (Wed, Fri, Sat). And, I always see Joe at 10:30pm Friday. Wife and kids in tow. It came to the point where I call him Joe and know his kid’s names. This happens over the next few months. He tips me well. Once I even brought him and his family to this late night joint to eat. I waited outside for him to finish.
Something changes after the first few months. I still see Joe, but family no longer in tow. He’s alone. Ahh the kids are sick. Or, ahh the wife is over at the mums. Send me to xxx estate he says. That’s not the original estate that he was living in. I reach and see his wife waiting outside the house. I let him down and drive off. No tips
The next few months is more of the same. The estates that he lives in gets worse and worse. I saw the wife once and she glares at me. From a huge mansion to a small apartment complex.
One day, my friend calls in sick. Asks me to take the shift on Thursday. Get there by 8:30pm. It’s chill. You literally go in and do nothing as there’s low traffic on the floor. When I reach, I see the hottie that works there. Stopped to be all cool and such. Was smoking halfway with her when I bump into Joe. We make light conversation, he’s here to cool off after an argument with the wife. Okay bro good luck.
A few hours of playing FIFA, I get called by my manager. There’s a guy out there. It’s 04:30am. I walk out to the car…. and it’s Joe. He had been gambling since 8:30pm. He’s drunk. A security guard is holding him up. He got angry at a bad deal and threatened the dealer. I scanned his casino card, it was suspended. He lost his premium chauffeur services. I called my manager, he told security to call a cab. I said nah, let him chill in the break room, I’ll cab him back. My manager says that’s not allowed. After some back and forth, my manager says fine. The security guy tells me, this is not the first time.
In the cab, he’s still drunk. There was a vomit smell in the air. He breaks down. He’s broken. I tell him to stop gambling. He says he will win it all back. The cab stops. No wife outside. He’s too drunk to get to his flat. I carry him up. I realized it was a rental flat. No sight of kids, no sight of wife. The place is in a mess. I put him in bed and got out.
I never saw Joe again.
Friend used to work at a casino in Las Vegas. He said one day, a woman came in and gambled away about $30,000 which was her family’s life savings, all their money, and also her daughter’s college fund.
Few hours later, my friend stumbles on the lady and her husband in the parking lot, and the husband is absolutely LIVID. He’s screaming at her, calling her every name in the book, saying he’s taking the kids and leaving, and she’s just bawling and begging him to stop yelling at her and saying that she’s sorry.
My friend had to call security when the guy started getting physical with her.
When they arrived, though, he was already gone and the wife, blood just gushing out of her nose, was shrieking for him to come back.
The first casino I worked in was small and had a little mezzanine on one end of the building. This area was filled with pretty tightly-packed rows of slot machines. One night, an ambulance came and took away a patron. They were fairly quick and quiet, which is unusual for such a situation. I was later told by a co-worker that a man had fallen off his stool onto the floor, dead. Other patrons had walked over or around him for almost an hour before an employee went up there to hand-pay a jackpot and found him.
I asked the casino general manager about it a couple of days later. He and I were pretty friendly, so I think he told me the truth. He said they’d reviewed the camera footage. Nobody had checked the guy for a pulse, or tried to help him, or even called an employee. The EMT’s thought he was probably dead when he hit the floor. I really hope they were right.