Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock had a serious gambling machine addiction. Read the latest New York Times story on his gambling behavior. Electronic gambling machines were at the center of his life.
Yet news coverage continues to use terms like “professional gambler” when describing Paddock. He was not a professional gambler.
No professional gambler uses slot machines and video poker machines like Paddock did.The machines create the illusion of skill but a user is mathematically guaranteed to lose all their money the longer they play them. Once you press the button on the machine, there is no skill involved. The computer inside the machine (known as the Random Number Generator) decides whether you lose or win. The player has no control over the outcome.
The image below is from the landmark book investigating electronic gambling machines Addiction By Design (Pg 112):
The business model of casinos is based on people like Paddock losing over and over again. While he may have won occasionally, it’s a statistical certainty that he lost huge sums of money the longer and more frequently he played as the graph above shows.
Paddock was playing hundreds of hands per hour (about one hand every six seconds) for many hours straight. Almost day after day.
No credible gambling addiction expert unaffiliated with gambling operators and independently-funded would describe him as a “responsible gambler.” ‘Responsible gambling’ is little more than a marketing slogan made up by commercialized gambling operators and their partners. Its intent is to place the spotlight on the citizen and away from their predatory and fraudulent business practices.
Whether Paddock’s out-of-control addiction to electronic gambling machines was a central factor in what happened last Sunday will be determined by the FBI investigation. But news coverage and public discussion should not normalize Paddock’s single-minded obsession with gambling machines and the exploitive business practices used by the casinos to keep Paddock gambling continuously.
Les Bernal, National Director, Stop Predatory Gambling
Les BernalLas Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock was a gambling machine addict
Allowing government-sanctioned sports gambling across the U.S. would corporate gambling operators to offer wagers on virtually anything far beyond sports. O.J. Simpson will be out of jail soon.
OJ Simpson’s hearing in front of the Nevada Board of Parole is one example. The sportsbook Bovada.lv advertised to citizens to place bets on the outcome.
Under the proposition bet: “Will O.J. Simpson be granted parole in 2017?” the lines were “Yes” (-300) and “No” (+200). The means to make $100 on a bet for “Yes” you would have to risk $300 while a $100 bet for “No” would net you $200, making “Yes” a heavy favorite.
This study by the Nova Scotia Department of Health found that only 4% of net gambling machine (or so-called “video lottery”) revenue was derived from “casual” players, even though they comprise 75% of players. Meanwhile, 96% of the revenue was derived from under 6% of the population who were classified as “regular gamblers.” About 16% of these regular gamblers were “problem gamblers” and they alone generated 53% of machine revenues even though they make up under 1% of the total population.
The Columbia University School of Public Health, one of America’s leading public health programs, published a national investigation into the massive public health impacts of government-sponsored casinos and lotteries. Led by Elaine Meyer, this must-share article spotlights how predatory gambling is harming millions of Americans and the communities they live in.
Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, a legendary Las Vegas casino operator played by the actor Robert De Niro in the movie “Casino,” said this about gambling in a 1997 PBS Frontline interview: “I don’t agree with the premise or the concept it’s entertainment.”
Then why do human beings gamble? This study by Dr. John Nyman of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health finds that people gamble for two reasons: the possibility of getting something for nothing and the need to escape, which includes the human desire for an intense high or buzz.