Living with a gambling addiction

One central New York woman shares her story

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - It's National Problem Gambling Awareness Month and just recently, New York State has made it possible for you to put yourself on a list, essentially banning yourself from racetracks and casinos! It's all in an effort for troubled gamblers to take control of their lives. One woman says each day is a battle to keep herself from betting.

At the height of her gambling addiction, Joyce was spending thousands each day.
"I started off with some quarters and it got to the point that wasn't enough for me," said Joyce.
A member of Gambler's Anonymous, Joyce asked that we not share her full name or show her face.  
Her gambling addiction started off as many do: at a machine.
"When I was standing in front of this machine, very mesmerizing. It had my full attention," said Joyce.
She says it was her first win that sealed the deal.
"The worst thing that could've happened to me was win in the beginning," said Joyce.
As more casinos pop up across the state one addiction counselor has concerns.
"If you win, our belief is that gene is then triggered and you end up doing what we call 'chasing the bet,'" said Judi Rozsa, an addiction counselor.
That chase, whether it be a sports parlay, an online bet or at a casino can last all day every day.
"Gambling is socially acceptable and it is 24-hour accessible," said Joyce.

Del Lago Casino says it promotes "responsible gambling," meaning it's committed to keeping underage individuals and those on the exclusion or self-exclusion lists away.

There's a state hotline too. That number is 1-877-8-HOPE-N-Y or send a text to HOPENY.

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