Long gone are the days of playing Bridge with your friends. Women today are opting for the newest craze, internet gambling.
With Las Vegas' plans for new combination shopping districts and casino projects, the World Series of Poker with a $7.5 million pot, new casinos popping up in more suburban communities, and some toy stores offering 'game tables' for kids to play after school - gambling is going mainstream at an unprecedented rate.
But, it's gambling on the Internet with it's high-speed connections which 'allow online players quicker and easier playing and the most chance to win.'
According to CBN's Scott Presson, women gamble for different reasons than men:
"Debbie said, 'It was almost like having a lover, like having a boyfriend. As a matter of fact, my husband, when he started realizing there was some kind of a problem, he actually thought it was a boyfriend. He could not believe that it was gambling.'
Figures show that more than half of online casino players are now women, a statistic that has even taken the online gambling community by surprise. And the anonymity of the Internet makes it even more attractive to women.
Barrett Duke is vice president for Public Policy and Research for the Southern Baptist Convention and a board member of the National Coalition against Legalized Gambling. He said, "Women gamble to escape. Men tend to gamble for the excitement of it, for the challenge. They want to see who they can beat…and women tend to gamble generally as an escape mechanism."
Casino Watch reports that gambling brings an increase in bankruptcies, divorces, child abuse, and domestic violence, costing pathological gamblers $13,586 each per year. They also report that Elderly Addiction continues to increase, giving the details of casino marketing to senior citizens, which include cheap buffets, coupons and drug discounts.
How did this happen? Were we just asleep at the switch? How many are aware of the very real consequences involved in gambling?
According to Maine Gov. John E. Baldacci, “Problem gambling is a public health issue affecting people of all ages, races, and ethnic back grounds which plays a significant role in our societal and economic costs. We know that addictions are treatable and treatment is effective in minimizing the harm to both individuals and society as a whole.”
He is supporting the combined efforts of his state's Department of Health and Human Services Office of Substance Abuse Services, the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations, the Gambling Control Board and the National Council on Problem Gambling by issuing a proclamation declaring March 6-12, 2006 National Problem Gambling Awareness Week throughout Maine when communities nationwide are working to raise awareness of the consequences of problem gambling and the resources available for individuals whose gambling is causing disruption in their lives.
Ladies, don't be sucked in by this hottest craze. Forget the cute 'gambling motif' napkins, dishes and purses showing up on store shelves, or the 'fine dining and shows' offered by casinos, or the slick marketing promises online. Remember, it's all about taking your money, not about you winning.
Now, if you like losing money, well, that's another story...
Sharon Hughes - Sharon is the President of The Center for Changing Worldviews, and hosts Changing Worldviews TALK Radio which is heard on KDIA AM1640 San Francisco; KGDP AM660 Santa Maria, CA and WITA AM1490 Knoxville, TN, as well as online daily at Oneplace.com. Her column appears on several online news sites including CaliforniaRepublic.org, ChronWatch.com, Ediblog.com, chNews.com, NewsWithviews.com, RenewAmerica.us and others. For further information visit her: Website www.changingworldviews.com Blogsite http://changingworldviews. blogspot.comContact: firstname.lastname@example.org