How Casinos Empower Gambling Addicts

Around the morning of Monday, August 13, 2012, Scott Stevens loaded a brown hunting bag into his Jeep Grand Cherokee, then went into the learn Bed room, the place he hugged Stacy, his wife of 23 yrs. “I love you,” he instructed her.Stacy assumed that her husband was off to your job job interview accompanied by an appointment with his therapist. Instead, he drove the 22 miles from their household in Steubenville, Ohio, into the Mountaineer Casino, just exterior New Cumberland, West Virginia. He utilized the casino ATM to examine his financial institution-account stability: $13,400. He walked across the On line casino flooring to his most loved slot equipment inside the higher-limit region: Triple Stars, a three-reel recreation that Charge $ten a spin. Perhaps this time it could fork out out adequate to save him.

Stevens, fifty two, left the On line casino and wrote a five-page letter to Stacy. A previous chief functioning officer at Louis Berkman Investment decision, he gave her mindful economic instructions that would permit her to stay away from duty for his losses and maintain her credit rating intact: She was to deposit the enclosed look for $four,000; shift her resources into a new examining account; drop to pay for The cash he owed the Bellagio On line casino in Las Vegas; disregard his credit rating-card financial debt (it had been in his identify on your own); file her tax returns; and Enroll in Social Safety survivor Gains. He questioned that she have him cremated.

He wrote that he was “crying like a child” as he considered how much he cherished her and their 3 daughters. “Our relatives only has a chance if I’m not all-around to bring us down any further,” he wrote. “I’m so sorry that I’m putting you through this.”He positioned the letter as well as check in an envelope, drove into the Steubenville publish office, and mailed it. Then he headed to your Jefferson Kiwanis Youth Soccer Club. He had raised cash for these inexperienced fields, tended them along with his garden mower, and watched his daughters Perform on them.

Scott stevens hadn’t always been a gambler. A native of Rochester, Big apple, he attained a grasp’s degree in small business and finance for the qq slot University of Rochester and created a successful vocation. He received the have faith in from the metal magnate Louis Berkman and worked his way up to the posture of COO in Berkman’s company. He was meticulous about funds, equally skillfully and Individually. When he to start with met Stacy, in 1988, he insisted that she repay her credit history-card credit card debt promptly. “Your credit rating is all you have got,” he advised her.

They married the subsequent 12 months, experienced three daughters, and settled into a snug lifestyle in Steubenville because of his posture with Berkman’s company: a six-figure income, 3 automobiles, two region-club memberships, vacations to Mexico. Stevens doted on his girls and threw himself into causes that benefited them. Along with the soccer fields, he raised funds to renovate the center college, to build a different science lab, and also to aid the French Club’s journey to France. He expended time on weekends portray the substantial-school cafeteria and stripping the hallway floors.Stevens bought his very first flavor of casino gambling while attending a 2006 trade show in Las Vegas. With a subsequent excursion, he hit a jackpot on the slot machine and was hooked.

Scott and Stacy soon began creating quite a few visits a yr to Vegas. She appreciated buying, sitting down because of the pool, even occasionally enjoying the slots along with her partner. They brought the youngsters in the summer and designed a spouse and children holiday vacation of it by traveling to the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam, and Disneyland. Back again property, Stevens grew to become an everyday within the Mountaineer Casino. Around the next 6 a long time, his gambling interest turned an dependancy. While he gained occasional jackpots, many of them 6 figures, he dropped a great deal more—approximately $4.eight million in only one calendar year.

Did Scott Stevens die because he was unable to rein in his individual addictive really need to gamble? Or was he the sufferer of the method cautiously calibrated to prey on his weak spot?Stevens methodically concealed his dependancy from his spouse. He managed all the pair’s finances. He kept different financial institution accounts. He utilized his perform address for his gambling correspondence: W-2Gs (the IRS sort utilized to report gambling winnings), wire transfers, casino mailings. Even his ally and brother-in-regulation, Carl Nelson, who at times gambled together with Stevens, had no inkling of his challenge. “I had been stunned Once i discovered Later on,” he states. “There was an entire Scott I didn’t know.”

When Stevens ran out of cash at the On line casino, he would go away, produce a corporation Test on one of many Berkman accounts for which he experienced Examine-cashing privileges, and return to the casino with extra funds. He from time to time did this a few or four occasions in just one day. His colleagues did not question his absences from your Business office, because his occupation included overseeing several providers in various areas. By the point the agency detected irregularities and he admitted the extent of his embezzlement, Stevens—the likable, dependable, honest corporation gentleman—had stolen just about $4 million.

Stacy had no clue. In Vegas, Stevens had always held ideas to hitch her and the girls for lunch. In your own home, he was constantly punctually for supper. Saturday mornings, when he told her he was headed in the Business, she didn’t problem him—she understood he experienced a great deal of responsibilities. So she was stunned when he called her with negative information on January 30, 2012. She was within the stairs by using a load of laundry if the phone rang.

Stevens by no means did appear clear together with her regarding how Significantly he had stolen or about how frequently he were gambling. Even right after he was fired, Stevens held gambling as usually as 5-6 instances each week. He gambled on his marriage anniversary and on his daughters’ birthdays. Stacy found that he was irritable more often than regular Which he sometimes snapped at the ladies, but she figured that it absolutely was the fallout of his unemployment. When he headed to your On line casino, he explained to her he was planning to see his therapist, that he was networking, that he had other appointments. When money appeared from his occasional wins, he claimed that he had been doing a little online buying and selling. Even though they lived off $fifty,000 that Stacy had in a very individual cost savings account, he drained their 401(k) of $a hundred and fifty,000, emptied $fifty,000 outside of his wife’s and daughters’ ETrade accounts, maxed out his bank card, and shed all of the $a hundred and ten,000 personal bank loan he’d taken out from PNC Lender.