Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tell Your Story

Please share any stories you have about gambling and how it has affected friends, family and those around you. Problem gambling is not something you can easily see and point out. Tell us your story so we can start truly documenting what is happening in our communities.

Comment on this post (anonymously works as well!)
It can be a sentence, a paragraph or a page. Let us know as much or as little as you want.

You can also email your stories to


  1. I use to work at a casino locally. I saw how the casino urged casino employees to gamble. People would end their shifts early, to go out to tables and "fill-in" empty seats so people don't leave their games. If there were empty seats, games had a higher chance of breaking up. This tactic would feed the gambling addictions of the employees. This sickened me.


    Check this out.

  3. I'm Filipino American, and gambling addictions run in my family. My uncle, who still lives in the Philippines with his family, almost lost his house and my parents here in the US had to bail him out. I have memories of my dad not coming home for a day or two or more because he was at the casino (I only found this out as I got older, of course). Oddly my clearest memory of how his addiction affected my family is how my mom would turn on the house alarm at night if he didn't get home by a certain time. So my siblings and I would be sleeping, and my dad would get home at 3 AM, and the alarm would go off. It's one of those really awful alarms - loud, piercing, you think you're going to have a heart attack, wonder if it's the smoke alarm, etc. And then after the alarm, the yelling - my mom yelling at my dad about staying out late gambling, my dad yelling at my mom about the alarm and waking the kids up, on and on. I must have been 10 or even younger. And I remember getting so angry at my mom: why is she turning on the alarm, it wakes everyone up, why can't she just let him come home in peace? I remember it was almost always my mom who was the target of my anger.

    My mom was so afraid of the gambling addiction that my siblings and I weren't allowed to have a deck of cards growing up. We eventually got one, somehow, and someone taught us how to play Pai Gow. My siblings and I would use candy or pennies to gamble with.

    But every year when I was growing up my parents would take their only vacation in Las Vegas.

    Sometimes I wonder how much money my family has lost to gambling. I try not to think about it, but I know it's at least tens of thousands of dollars (this includes bailing out my uncle) and maybe more.

    In college I dated a guy who was a part-time blackjack dealer. His mom was addicted to gambling too.

  4. I had a floormate my first year, an Indian guy, in college who gambled online a lot. One day he stopped by my dorm room, all scared and sweating, and asked us if he could borrow $3,000 from each of us. Apparently he had lost it big with some bad people, and really needed to get out of a bind. I heard they were threatening to break his legs.

    I think he found the money and got out of that situation.

  5. I'm Chinese-American and my father and his side of the family is addicted to gambling. Although my parents were immigrants and had very little, my father still went to the mah-jong house in Chinatown (LA) every night. Each chip that they gambled on was worth $100, so he could either lose a lot or win a lot of money. But for the most part, he would usually lose. This put a strain on my parents' relationship as my father would steal money from my mother to maintain his addiction. This eventually lead to even larger problems, my father became physically abusive towards my mother as my family had to file for bankruptcy, not once, but twice. I grew up in a house in Monterey Park, but since my father's addiction was growing worse and worse, we eventually moved several times and each time into a smaller dwelling; from a house to a condo, from a condo to an apartment, and each time into a shadier neighborhood. My father's gambling addiction was not limited to mah-jong, it grew into going to the race tracks and casinos (where he would lose our first house). Eventually, my father's addiction was so bad that he became abusive towards the whole family and my parents divorced and now he is living a lonely life as no one in the family talks to him.

  6. I live in Monterey Park, CA. The Indian casinos make it all too easy for my grandma to spend an entire day at the casino. I wish she would be like my friend's grandma who rides the free buses, takes the free lunch, and chats the rest of the time without ever gambling. =(

  7. I am a Korean male in my mid 20's, from the new york area.

    When I was 5 - 7 I remember my father use to sleep in this pool hall near the apartment building I lived, now this was a very, sketchy
    place, one of those places that had a lot of regulars and they use to gamble in this room by the cashier, my father would even sleep there
    sometimes, my mother use to ask me to go get my father from this pool hall for dinner, obviously this led to my mother eventually leaving my father when I was around 7.

    I would bounce back and forth between my mom and dad, and when I would stay with my dad he would actually take me out of school and go to
    Atlantic city to go gamble, I would stay in the complimentary hotel room and watch cable TV while my father would gamble, I remember one
    time my father had 10,000 dollars in a safe in the room, and the next day it would be gone, and we would head home.

    Eventually I stayed with my mother permanently and I haven't seen my father since those years of him gambling.

  8. I'm a second generation Chinese-American and gambling is a major issue in my family. My father always used to take me and younger brother to the local gambling dens in New York's Chinatown when we were kids. While he gambled on mahjong, we would be in this little break room in the back with some other kids and play Chinese checkers and cards with them. This gambling den was filled with cigarette smoke and beer was openly served, and was not a very nice place to hang around for kids but at the time I didn't think much of it.

    My dad would also take me and my brother to the local OTB (off track betting) to place bets on horse races after picking us up from school (which was a few blocks away; the place where he worked was just a block away as well). I remember not liking that place either due to the shady folks that hung out there (looking back, I was surprised they even allowed such a place to be operating that close to a public K thru 8 school; it's gone now).

    It got to the point that my parents got into increasingly-heated arguments about money and bills. And since we weren't very well-to-do to begin with, it put a serious strain on their marriage. I remember they blew up at each other over my dad maxing out some credit cards to feed his addiction and having lost nearly $10,000 in one instance. My brother and I feared that they were going to get divorced and break up the family because of how viciously they argued.

    Luckily they stayed together and my parents weathered through the storm by settling the debts with the collection agency for much lower amounts to be payed back. We eventually moved out of our dumpy apartment and into a two-story house in a different neighborhood. Of course, my parents had to borrow a lot of that money from my uncle, who's a really successful dentist with a private practice. The neighborhood we moved into wasn't the best but it's been developing and has gotten better over the years. Since then, my father gets dirty looks from my mom as she controls most of the finances (and maintains separate accounts) and he handles just the day to day stuff (like groceries).

    My dad still asks me for money nowadays, claiming he needs help to pay bills and the mortgage on the house. Like a good son, I help out with a couple hundred bucks now and then but in the back of my mind I always wonder if he's really using that money to pay bills or if he's feeding his addiction again. He says he's kicked the habit, but I have had my doubts.

    My younger brother, on the other hand, he's a piece of work. He fell into the same addiction as our father, only his vice was poker and pro-sports gambling rather than mahjong and horse races. My brother didn't take long to max out all his credit cards trying to feed his own addiction (going to Atlantic City very often during weekend trips) as well as his jet-setting life-style (complete with trips to the Caribbean and the California wine country, a VERY high maintenance girlfriend - she sprung for the cosmetic surgery to alter her eyes to make them appear larger and “Westernized,” and fancy cars like a brand spanking new Acura TL).

    Whenever I visited his apartment, I'd always found him in the basement of the building gambling and holding poker games with his Russian friends (they definitely gave off a mafia vibe to me) as well as throwing a big Super Bowl party in 2008 for the Giants game (no doubt bets were placed on that too).

    My brother got in over his head and even applied for credit cards using my name and personal information (as we share similar birthdays - he's only a year younger than me too, similar SS #'s, and are close in appearance). Those were maxed out too. The breaking point was when he falsely took out two personal loans in my name with a major bank, both totaling $22,000. Yes, he committed major mail and bank fraud, all to fuel his gambling habit and his “me-first” instant-gratification lifestyle.

    And I found out all about these fraudulent accounts upon my return to the States from overseas (I serve in the military) and was absolutely floored when I was repeatedly rejected for apartment and car loan applications trying to settle into my new base where I was stationed. I couldn't understand it at first. I always paid my own bills and student loans on time.

    Talk about HELLA messed up, right? So I outed my brother to the entire family, and now no one trusts him or talks to him much (aside from my parents). His girlfriend left him (obviously he couldn't maintain their high life of “keeping up with the Joneses” for much longer after the bottom fell out from under him and the bill collectors started howling for his blood) and I ended up having to file charges and a police report against him with the local sheriff's department in order to get the fraudulent accounts off my name. I spent months and at least a few hundred dollars in mail expenses trying to clear my good name with the collection agencies and credit reporting bureaus. That was fun.

    So now my brother has an arrest warrant out for him in Florida. The next time I visit home in NY I've been toying with the idea of filing an official police report in NY so the authorities can actually do something about him (the Florida cops said the attorney general’s office there wasn’t willing to spend the money to extradite his butt) though my parents have begged me not to go through with this extreme route. The last I heard, my brother changed jobs in another state as well as apartments and got a promotion, and has promised to pay me back for all the crap he's put me through but, of course, I have serious doubts. He's constantly lied bold-faced to both me and my parents before (he's stolen money from them as well over the years, as he did from me when we were kids) and he'll do it again if we let him.

    I HATE gambling with a passion. I've seen what it's done to my parents and my brother, and how it affects everyone in the family. To this day I refuse to engage in any form of gambling, be it poker or sports betting. And I will NEVER forgive my brother for all the terrible things he's done to us. My parents continually push me to patch things up with him (“You’re blood,” they’d say) but I won't budge on this stance one inch. It's sad and I have every right to be angry at him.

    Gambling is evil. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. So please feel free to use my story as a precautionary tale to any and all Asians and Asian-Americans who thinks they can win it big gambling with the money, livelihoods, and trust of their families and friends.

  9. Thank you for this site!! We are not Alone!!!!

    My story is similar to the folks above. Thank you so much for sharing!!! My family is Chinese American and we have felt the same pain through the gambling halls and Atlantic City. Now they want to build a slots parlor in my city- Philly. The owners and politicians want to spread this disease, but we're fighting back, by sharing stories, by getting people to protest in city council, by campaign building, etc. and we need all the help we can get!

    Please send your love and any love donations to Asian Americans United.

    The People united and sharing stories can change the world! Thank you again for this forum!

  10. My dad's gambling has effected our family in many ways. He once tried to kill my mom and brother because we warned him about his addiction. I have no idea how much he spends, but we're in a huge amount of debt right now. He says we spend too much money on stuff when he gives his money to other people. What's worse is that my brother is autistic and we don't have enough money for him. While at the same time, he gambles my college money away. He is both mentally and physically abusive. I remember times when he would come home late and start arguing with my mother for many reasons. He's very defensive and blames everything on my mother.

  11. My brother who is 26 years old now has won over 17 million gambling in Las Vegas since 2008. This has amazed me and he has not lost any of it back now that it is 2012. He whole life has changed. He is living very comfortable and has provided very nice things for his friends and family. I have to say some people win and some lose. He has been kicked out of the Bellagio in 2010 for winning to much money and has been kicked out of the Encore for winning to much there. He has been asked not to gamble at those casinos. This a good thing I guess and I still can't believe the win he has had over the past 3 years.

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