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November 11, 1998 N.G.I.S.C. Las Vegas Meeting
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: I want to thank each and every one of our panelists. At this point we will open it up for discussion, any questions from our commissioners and even an exchange among yourselves if you would like to do that.
DR. DOBSON: Doctor Nora, yesterday Mitzi Schlichter made a passing reference to medication for her husband, Art who has been in the prison, that he can't get the medication that he needs there and she didn't elaborate and we didn't ask. Was she referring to lithium or haldol (ph) or what might she have been DR. NORA: Well, number one, of course, just listening to the story and not knowing the -- and having a direct relationship, we do have medications that we are trying right now. In general, pathological gambling is like one of the spectrum of obsessive/compulsive disorders and one of the breakthroughs in psychiatry is we have found medications that do take care of that. These are what we call your Prozak's, and so on and so forth. There is one medication that we tried when I was still in the New York area and actually I could give you the commercial name is Luvox, which seems to be promising but again, the weakness is there's only a few of us who actually have done Again, you need funding. You need staff time and you need all kinds of resources to do this but this has some promising effects. There is no magic pill. There is no vaccine for compulsive gambling. As we go through more of the developments of the biological explanations, even genetic, maybe NEAL R. GROSS
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at some point in the future we'll have something, but we're beginning to use it only if they have target symptoms.
DR. DOBSON: There's just no studies to this point to DR. NORA: We published one on the Luvox and we tried it clinically. It does not work for everyone. I mean, there are one or two or three but not enough to get -- DR. DOBSON: And just very quickly, Mr. Wishoff, were you able to get in the casinos before you were 21? MR. WISHOFF: No. No, I never had gambled really at that point but I do recall some instances when I was in there and I was asked to leave when I was in Las Vegas on the return from some of those vacations from -- when we would stop by here after.
I remember we had been in there and I was asked to leave, yes.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Commissioner Bible.
MR. BIBLE: Just so I understand you would have been in California then, you were 21 at that time? CHAIRPERSON JAMES: How young were you, Mr. Wishoff, MR. WISHOFF: I started gambling four years ago at CHAIRPERSON JAMES: 21. Commissioner Lanni.
MR. LANNI: Thank you, Chairman. Doctor Nora, I have a question. One of the comments that you made was I think that you thought the casino companies should be funding programs. I NEAL R. GROSS
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think you made that comment, did you not, as one of your DR. NORA: No, I hope I didn't get misunderstood.
The long history is we were initially in a condition where we were looked at being as adversarial with the casinos. That has changed quite a bit, not only here in our Las Vegas Nevada Council of Problem Gambling but I think almost all of the United States now in their board of directors include gaming officials, casino representatives and the funding that I'm talking about is if they cannot directly deal with the treatment or the crisis intervention, the most important contribution they could make is in public education and media and again, the sensitivity and awareness of the impact of a small but growing group of recommendation. I was only concerned that you were limiting it to casino companies because I would assume -- MR. LANNI: -- lotteries and parimutuels and states that are involved in the lotteries as well as Native American gaming should also be participating in such programs.
DR. NORA: Yes, I would think anyone who benefits from or directly works with issues relating to problem gambling.
MR. LANNI: Thank you very much, Doctor. I have another question if I may of Doctor Westphal. In Louisiana, I always find Louisiana an interesting state in itself and I notice you must not be from Louisiana or you've lost your accent.
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DR. WESTPHAL: No, I'm not from Louisiana. I've only MR. LANNI: Well, I'm not very well regarded in Louisiana because I've already said we should have some serious discussions with the French about taking it back. Having said DR. DOBSON: He said that because I was born there.
MR. LANNI: No, I point out that Doctor Dobson had the good sense of leaving Louisiana and he pointed out it wasn't his choice because he was four years old when he left.
MR. LANNI: Ten months, well, 10 months, four years is pretty close. You could probably gamble in South Carolina.
DR. DOBSON: But I couldn't keep the earnings.
MR. LANNI: Right, exactly. A couple questions; there's various forms of gaming in Louisiana.
MR. LANNI: One of the areas that just amazes me in your report, and I found to be very interesting, is that there's a pervasive aspect of video machines at truck stops and casinos.
MR. LANNI: But there was no reference in categories where pathological problem gambling might exist in a category there. You show these card games, you show skill games, you show casinos. Why wouldn't that have been a -- or why is that not a major factor? They're all over the state.
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DR. WESTPHAL: It is a major factor and it just -- it's the comparison I made. Some of this if for academic reasons. I compared it to this national sample. However, when we look at both the school sample and the juvenile detention sample, the highest participation rates in legalized form of gambling was the lottery. The second highest participation rates were in video poker and the third and lowest were casino And it was a significant factor and I actually had -- we broke down the age categories of participation in video gambling as a separate report and that's available. I just didn't -- because of time I didn't present it here but it is a factor and if you have an interest in that, I'll give you the MR. LANNI: I would suspect all the commissioners CHAIRPERSON JAMES: As a matter of fact, Doctor Westphal, if you could send us your complete study, do we have access to your cross tabs and all of the background information DR. WESTPHAL: I sent the complete copy of the papers to -- as background so all the -- both -- the full reports of both studies are in the background. This is just a summary.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: And we'll make that available to DR. WESTPHAL: But the video poker was a separate report I did for the State of Louisiana and I'll -- that was not NEAL R. GROSS
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included in the background material but I will do that if you're MR. LANNI: If I may, one last question relative to that; if I'm not mistaken in the gaming ages in Louisiana differ from place to place. For example, I think at a racetrack you can MR. LANNI: And I think the river boats are 21 years MR. LANNI: Video truck stops probably whatever the age is. It may not be terribly well enforced.
DR. WESTPHAL: That was increased to 21 a couple of MR. LANNI: But prior to that and for this study -- DR. WESTPHAL: Prior to that it was 18.
MR. LANNI: Is it not possible that when you took a look at sixth to twelfth graders, aren't certain twelfth graders DR. WESTPHAL: Yes, some of them are.
MR. LANNI: Did you discount them in this report or DR. WESTPHAL: Well, we also have the breakdown by MR. LANNI: That would be helpful also.
DR. WESTPHAL: And that was included in the reports.
We've got breakdowns by age also. A good proportion of the under-age gambling both lottery and video poker and casino were NEAL R. GROSS
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under 18. But some of them were 18, but it was a small percentage. But I can break it down by age also.
MR. LANNI: Can clearly even with these questions, please understand, I think one person who gambles under-age DR. WESTPHAL: I would agree with you.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Well, Commissioner Leone? MR. LEONE: I have a question of Doctor Westphal but anybody else on the panel who has any relevant information from other states or nationally would be helpful. What I'm trying to get at is evidence that the -- allowing for population changes, et cetera, the juvenile delinquency let's call it, detention in your definition has increased as availability has increased which is a different question from the percent of those in detention who have a problem gambling. Is there an increase, is there any evidence in Louisiana or anywhere else that anyone knows about that the number of kids who fall into that category is in any way correlated with accessibility to gambling, legalized DR. WESTPHAL: This is a very perceptive question.
It's the next question I'm going to ask. As far as I'm aware of, this is the only study that's been done in the United States looking at gambling disorders in juvenile detention populations.
And that's the next logical question. And we don't have the data to look at that yet. I will be able to answer that maybe in six NEAL R. GROSS
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MR. LEONE: Can I ask a related question which I know is outside the competence we're attempting to tap today but is -- several people on this panel are scholars in this field. What do we know about the changes in that kind of delinquent behavior that have been associated with changes in other related pathologies becoming more accessible? For example, drugs became more accessible in this country in the last generation than they ever were before, et cetera and so forth. Do we have other evidence of an increase or does it just change the character of -- and I'm allowing again for changes in economic circumstances and, you know, obviously, in the size of the teenage cohorts, but I just wonder do we know anything about that? DR. WESTPHAL: I would like to hear the other panel members address this also but in my understanding, there has been a significant increase in cocaine related arrests in that age group. When cocaine was introduced, especially the crack form that became more cheap, as it became more accessible, you had more arrests. I'm, you know, not a scholar on that but basically That when you introduce a new drug or a new situation, you do see more criminal arrests, especially in adolescents which tend to be experimenting and not have the maturity to handle the consequences, but I'd really like to hear if anyone else has information on that.
DR. NORA: Well, I'd like to comment that one of the major, major things we have to make sure, especially with the other lessons is the propensity for cross-addiction. And I think it's almost, I would say, negligent if somebody makes a diagnosis NEAL R. GROSS
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of pathological gambling and forgot to check on the other addictions. That includes over-eating, over-sexed, what have MR. LEONE: Can I ask just one more question? CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Certainly, Commissioner Leone.
MR. LEONE: One of the things that I'm trying to come to terms with and understand about pathological and problem gambling is that I assume that people get used up in this process because they run out of money and they become uninteresting to the marketers of gambling because they've used up their money, gone bankrupt. We've heard a lot of individual cases where people who have gone to extraordinary lengths to stay in the game and to try to get even or to reverse the odds, but again, I assume many of those examples must be anomalies, since while credit systems are not far from perfect and economics is far from In fact, people who don't have money aren't very interesting as gamblers and can't lose enough to be problems after a certain point. They become other kinds of problems or they become burned out. Do we know anything much about the pipeline? Do people get processed? These snapshots we're able to get don't, I presume, tell us much about whether there is another group that's already been burned out in the process or caught by their parents or something else has happened to them or used up all their money or just don't have access or have been denied. I mean, I don't know because I assume the long term problem group is a little bit like the most hard core group of NEAL R. GROSS
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drug users and alcoholics who can't function and become homeless There's another tier of people who keep it going and then yet another tier who rehabilitate. And this one strikes me and the gambling strikes me as something where the process might happen relatively quickly because from everything we've heard in the last year, people really plunge. I mean, this isn't like -- and they hit bottom fairly quickly once they go into this kind of behavior. They use up everything. There's no bottom, no stopping them until they hit bottom. And I just wonder if we know anything about the numbers of people processed, I guess is DR. STINCHFIELD: We don't know any information about kids, I don't think, that have hit bottom, just because they don't show up in the treatment system. We know about adults and what happens with them because they usually do show up in treatment systems particularly in -- like in Minnesota. It's basically a treatment on demand and even if they have run out of money, they'll still be treated. And in Minnesota they get about 30 new clients per month across the six treatment programs. And there's at least that many treated by private practitioners, if not more than that, per month every month in Minnesota.
DR. WESTPHAL: I think that one thing we'll be able to see -- I think there's also some socioeconomic issues. If you start with something to lose, you lose it and then you hit bottom, I think in -- you're right, in the snapshots that I just took of Louisiana about a year ago. If you have people that don't have a lot to lose, I think my data shows that you can turn NEAL R. GROSS
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to crime to finance your gambling and I think you get a certain core group of these people that go on and become in the criminal justice system. These adult studies show that the average person that goes into treatment is in their forties.
So there's a career there where a core group of these people will be involved in crime to get their money and then maybe in their thirties and forties burn out. Again, we don't have great data on that but if we track some of these, I think some of the kids that we're seeing in my study are going to be The issues that -- to repeat what the other doctor said, gambling is an addiction. They probably have alcohol and drug addiction, too and both of the addictions or all three of the addictions make the situation worse. So you have to treat all of them if you want to do something about it. But my guess is that some of these people will progress through at least early adulthood in sort of a criminal lifestyle before they burn out.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Commissioner Wilhelm and then MR. WILHELM: I very much appreciate this panel's testimony. I found this panel as well as the panel on sports betting yesterday to be quite powerful and troubling perhaps because it in many ways resonates personally for me and my family. I have two male children who, at least chronologically have recently escaped adolescence and they were both athletes in high school and before they were both heavily into sports betting NEAL R. GROSS
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In fact, they went to a relatively prestigious public high school in California and actually each of their grades had their own bookie, a fellow student, which was a phenomenon commented on yesterday with respect to colleges by the NCAA representative. And as they've gone off to college I've been particularly concerned about the intersection amongst drinking, sports gambling on campuses and credit cards because there's not a week that goes by where they don't get an unsolicited not only applications for credit cards but they actually get credit cards even though one of them is not gainfully employed and the other And they're not credit cards based on their parents either. They're just credit with their names on them. So all of that to me is intimidating and I am particularly appreciative of the suggestions that several of you have made both for further study and research that needs to be done in this area, as well as your suggestions for actual steps that need to be taken now even I would hope that those suggestions, both for research and for increased treatment opportunities and prevention activities would be important parts of the report that this Commission makes, and more than that, I think it's essential that this Commission try as a part of our report to identify not only what ought to be done by way of further research and treatment but how it's going to be paid for because I know that there's been testimony here about -- and I guess we'll hear more later today about efforts by the -- at least part of the gambling industry to generate research funds through the National NEAL R. GROSS
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Foundation for Responsible Gaming and some of the treatment people who have testified in earlier sessions have applauded those steps but it would appear that they're not remotely So I'm very grateful for all of that and I hope that we include all of those things in our report. I'm struck by a number of things that you've talked about that we really don't know. It strikes me that we really don't know particularly on a national basis much about the kinds of gambling, both legal and illegal, that are significant in this area. For example, I, Doctor Westphal had never seen the suggestion which is provocative but I'm sure you'd be the first to agree is not determinative that it's possible that more regulated forms of gambling such as casinos may contribute less to this problem than less regulated forms of legal gambling such as at least as I would see it, lotteries. And also, of course, there's the whole The testimony yesterday was that sports gambling in this country there's about two and a half billion dollars worth of legal sports gambling and somewhere between 80 and 400 billion worth of illegal sports gambling, depending on, you know, whose “guesstimate” you accept. Several of you have either said or inferred that there's a tremendous lack of knowledge in the sort of the relationship amongst these different kinds of abuses.
I know that when I was a serious drinker, I used to also gamble more and I would assume that phenomena like that need to be understood. And I also appreciated the comment that particular from you, Doctor George, that or the suggestions that NEAL R. GROSS
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this problem is not taken serious enough, that resonates in my family. In that regard, my own view is if the goal is to get our society to take this problem more seriously that statistics like 90 percent of kids have placed a bet in their lifetime aren't particularly useful because, you know, because Congressman John Ensign, who certainly is one of the more morally upright people I know, testified yesterday he places bets on golf holes.
Well everybody -- I mean, I want to know what -- the other 10 percent were probably lying. Everybody has placed bets.
So I think that your testimony is tremendously useful and if you have suggestions beyond the ones that you've made, both about research and about increased prevention and treatment and about where the money ought to come from, if you would care to elaborate on that either now or in writing, I personally would be And finally, I want to say, and I don't -- I'm hesitant to even raise this because it might sound like I'm crying over spilled milk or something but this Commission took an action in technically public session awhile ago by way of a conference call that I think was a lost opportunity and I don't raise it because I want to reconsider it because the money is being spent but I'm troubled by the fact that this Commission's national prevalence survey has a smaller sample size for adolescents than it does for adults.
When we asked our staff, "Well, what would be some of the implications of a smaller sample size for adolescents rather than adults," a couple of things that were pointed out that would be less discernible because of the smaller sample size for NEAL R. GROSS
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adolescents, are things that some of you referred to. As an example, we were told that we could tell less about the relationship of problem gambling amongst adolescents to a person's ethnic group because of the smaller sample size that We were told the same kind of relative lack of precision with respect to socioeconomic status. Those were two things that some of you mentioned. So I hope that at least in our recommendations, since we didn't see fit to do it in our research that we really focus very heavily on this problem and again, I'm extremely grateful for all of your testimonies.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Thank you. Commissioner Moore.
MR. MOORE: I would like to comment and I don't want Doctor Dobson to think that I'm taking over his place on this Commission but it disturbs me that when Doctor Westphal put his reports out and found that it started in the sixth grade, well, I knew that but it comes back to me it appears to the family and we're talking about education and how we're going to get this and how we're going to get it out to the people. You know, all the states and I have sort of followed California, Texas and Mississippi, in community colleges, we had a lot of community colleges in Mississippi. We didn't have money to have senior And the other two states had so many people they had to do something with them. Why would it not be a good idea to spend the money and let the states spend the money, why could not we have adult education programs at the community colleges. We have them in everything else at the community colleges. You pick NEAL R. GROSS
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up what they're teaching, you'd just be amazed at the number of subjects that are being taught in adult classes. Maybe for college credit if someone wants college credit but just for parents that need to go and learn about what their children are doing, find the signs and symptoms of pathological gaming.
I believe that you could reach a tremendous number of people. We have a community college where I live, this doesn't sound like much of a thing, 3,000 people attending, I mean, all different types, art appreciation, all of this. This is more important to me than art appreciation and I have nothing against art. What would you think of something of that nature? And states have money. They get federal aid, federal money for adult education classes, to teach the parents about their children, how CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Any response from any of our DR. NORA: Well, I would totally agree with that but I also will tell you an experience that might elude to that.
The very year that the diagnosis was established, I was the medical advisor at that time of the New Jersey Council of Problem Gambling. People did not even have to have a course. We gave it to them for free but I would have six, 10, 12 people attend. I think the other states might go through the experience.
Only much later when we had all of this impact of well, research and demographics did it become more attractive but I certainly like the idea and, of course we would hope not only in the community colleges but any other ones that would have NEAL R. GROSS
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contact with -- I mean to say medical schools, nursing schools and everywhere else but yes, especially the parents.
MR. MOORE: Sure, but I'm talking about reaching people. You don't reach a million people in medical schools.
There's only 100 of us in a class and that's good. But in a community college you could have -- you'd reach a lot of people.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: I would ask Doctor Shosky if he could brief us on what he found out about South Carolina and then perhaps we could have our panelists and our commissioners engage in a little bit of a discussion on that issue.
DR. SHOSKY: Thank you, Madam Chair. Well, we tried to contact the Attorney General's office but it's a state holiday in South Carolina, but we were able to reach some well-informed lawyers who were working today and one of them, Dave Belding was particularly helpful. I guess the first maxim of law school is that nothing is easy but this is actually pretty straightforward.
The statement yesterday that you were referring to was from Doctor Frank Quinn and he said in his testimony that South Carolina law prohibits payouts to anyone under 21 years of age but it does not prohibit anyone under 21 from playing video poker. That statement is accurate. There's really three things to say about it. The first is that it is legal to play video poker if you're under 21. Number two, there are three types of -- three classes really of video games.
There's one class that's just what they call the flipper type at least in South Carolina. That just means that if you win, you get another play. There's a second class that pays NEAL R. GROSS
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out tickets. It's like an arcade and you get tickets and if you get enough tickets by winning you can get a bear or something like that, you know, some sort of prize. The third type actually CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Excuse me, John, these are all DR. SHOSKY: Oh, yes, in South Carolina, right.
These are the full range of classes right, in South Carolina.
A VOICE: And paid on the honor system.
DR. SHOSKY: Yeah. That's what they were told A VOICE: They should be counting the money on the DR. SHOSKY: Right. So in the third class, the final class, money is actually paid out but it would be illegal to pay the money out to somebody who is under 21, although someone who is 21 could play the game. We found out one more thing and that's that there's a state regulation that requires signs in public places and the wording in conspicuous view that would say something like this; there are variations on the theme but it would say something like this. "Persons under 21 not allowed on And there's an argument that no owner of a machine would let anyone who is under-age play because of all of the things that I've just talked about because they can't pay out.
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Pragmatically it wouldn't be worth it for them to do so.
However, legally someone can play regardless of age.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Certainly. Commissioner Bible.
MR. BIBLE: Do they also have a claiming statute that would make it illegal for somebody to claim a jackpot or a payout on behalf of another? So for instance if a child was in playing with an adult, that the adult could then claim the jackpot? DR. SHOSKY: I honestly don't know but I will find CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Commissioner Dobson.
DR. DOBSON: Just one clarification of that where the sign says that it's illegal for them to -- minors to be on the premises, I assume that those video poker machines are placed in places where children do frequent; is that right? In other words, if they're in convenience stores or so on, how can you have a sign like that when they can be in the convenience store for other purposes? I'm not sure I understand.
DR. SHOSKY: Well, that is one of the paradoxes. I'm not sure that it's understandable in the way that you put it. My understanding is, is that the video games can be placed away from all other types of games or convenience store activities in some sort of isolated location or they can actually be in the convenience store with other arcade games or in any other licensed location. So you do have situations where it would be very hard to distinguish based on location alone.
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DR. DOBSON: That's hypocritical it would seem to me, that they could be down one aisle but not down another. That's crazy. We don't even do that in Louisiana.
MR. WILHELM: That's because they haven't thought of CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Any other questions from Commissioners or interaction with the panel.
MR. LEONE: I just have a question. I'm struck listening to this by the extent to which the phenomenon we're talking about is about people's reaction to risk and is different from their reactions to other addictive behaviors. And I think it was somebody from Harvard who testified there was some evidence of more risk oriented behavior in the last 25 years by males in this country and I was just sitting here thinking about the extent to which the culture -- and maybe there's a way the Commission could get into this and maybe you can point us to some readings on this, the culture makes so much of risk.
I mean, think of how many movies are about some nuclear device counting down and about to go off and being disarmed at the last minute by George Clooney or whomever.
Swartznager (ph) just throws himself over it and smothers the blast. But we are capable of getting excited about risk even when we know it's all phony and we almost have a culture that pretends that there aren't real risks in the movies. There aren't real risks and you can't even make a good movie about a historical event. "The Day of the Jackel" was about an attempt NEAL R. GROSS
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to kill DeGaul, which we all know didn't happen, didn't succeed and yet it was a very exciting movie.
And it seems to me these machines attempt to reproduce and this activity attempts to reproduce that excitement for an individual, the kind of excitement that is part of sports and life and is different. And I don't think we, as a Commission except maybe probably a couple of people like Terry and John and others who've read a lot more and may understand it, have thought enough about how this is different. I think at least I have come to this with a model in my head that this was like drinking or like drugs and today is the first day I really, listening to you, began to realize it was about another kind of behavior that is, in fact, in my mind, highly associated with adolescent males, It may even be a survival trait that for the species, but is there anything we should be looking at or I'd love to get some reading suggestions from members of this panel.
DR. WESTPHAL: I have one suggestion and I can provide it, there was a paper in the American Journal of Psychiatry, I think it was about last year where they took little boys and they measured their risk taking behavior and they can do that like on a personality scale and then they measured their gambling behavior like three or four years later and they showed that it was correlated almost exactly.
So there is -- I mean, you're on to something that I think there's minimum research on it but there's some and I'd be willing to provide the copy of the paper. It was from Canada. I NEAL R. GROSS
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think it was Dirshavesky (ph). I'll find it if you're interested CHAIRMPERSON JAMES: If you could send it to the Commission office, we will send -- copy it and send it out to all the Commissioners and make sure they get a copy of that.
DR. GEORGE: I would also like to say that we did recently a survey of the research on adolescent gambling and I have that document in my office and I'd be delighted to forward that to Commissioner James and for the rest of the Commissioners.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: That's an interesting question particularly as we have heard some discussion about habits of adult gamblers as compared to adolescents and, Dick, that's a very interesting question you raise because later in life it seems that there are more women and when does that flip? When does that happen if in the youth the males tend to be the risk takers and when does that happen? Any insight in that? DR. WESTPHAL: I think that in terms of treatment, you're right, the female gambling tends to occur post-middle age and at least clinically that's been associated with more like feeling depressed. So it's a need for stimulation. It's like when you -- the later onset is associated with like a clinical disorder and the need for stimulation.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: So ours is because of clinical disorders and theirs is because they're risk takers; is that DR. WESTPHAL: Well, I want to clarify that. I need to clarify this. I'm not going to take this sitting down.
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DR. WESTPHAL: What I wanted to say is that's the classical model. Okay, if you look at my studies, you'll find that although males outnumber females in terms of gambling disorders, there's a significant percentage in the adolescent gamblers that are female. So that the picture is changing as the culture is changing and as accessibility is changing but there is that classical picture but in the next generation, this cohort, CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Well, I do think it's a phenomena to be understood and I'll be anxious to see that article.
DR. NORA: I'd like to add to that. Most of the women are enabled by their husbands, their relatives, whoever and there is a delay in seeking for help. Another thing is men tend to risk more, large amounts of money. I mean, immediately you'll know if the rent or the dental fees have not been paid. With women it could start very subtle, I mean the groceries and so on and so forth. And also the advent of video poker really It's women's choice so to speak. They're increasing in both but it's in your own universe, you're not at a table where everybody else is heckling you or making a lot of noises.
It's very private, isolated paradise and it's more suited to the CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Commissioner Wilhelm.
MR. WILHELM: As a former young male I thought the evidence was already in that we were disordered, but I think Richard's point is extremely provocative and I hope that we'll find some way to either look at that or at least in the report NEAL R. GROSS
November 11, 1998 N.G.I.S.C. Las Vegas Meeting
point to the direction of the need for understanding that better and it also reminds me of another area in which I think we need to make sure as we approach our report that we're not looking at -- that we're not in a way that is misleading and inaccurate isolating the subject of our examination too much.
I don't know how much work has been done, if any, you know, we've had some jocular remarks here about the culture in Louisiana but more broadly it seems clear to me that the legal forms of gambling that we're charged to examine clearly have their roots as well as their levels of receptivity in a culture about gambling that has nothing to do with legal or illegal. To me one of the things that's intriguing about the South Carolina situation that we've learned about a little bit yesterday and today is that it almost sounds to me sort of -- and I grew up in Virginia. I know a little bit about the culture of the South.
And contrary to what outsiders sometimes think you know about the sort of relative moral conservatism of the South, the fact is that gambling open and technically -- open though technically illegal has been a part of the culture of the South as it has been a part of the culture of other areas, particularly the Midwest and the Northeast for a very long time. And it almost sounds to me like South Carolina is kind of a halfway house between illegal gambling and legal gambling because it's sort of been legalized. But it has a lot of the characteristics of illegal gambling such as the notion that the take on the machines is reported by the honor system. Well, that's -- you know, that's not really legal gambling in the normal sense of the term and I hope that we're able to take a look at the NEAL R. GROSS
November 11, 1998 N.G.I.S.C. Las Vegas Meeting
relationship between the broader culture of gambling or again at least point for the need for this to be looked at and legal As an example, I'm not a big fan of lotteries but the point was made quite some time ago to this Commission that one things that lotteries have done is to diminish the illegal numbers racket in a number of urban areas. Now, you can make all kinds of arguments about, you know, which is better but I think Richard's point is extremely important and I hope that it reminds us that we need to look at the overall environment in which we're examining these forms of legal gambling and not look at them as though they're isolated, because they're not.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Thank you. Commissioner Lanni.
MR. LANNI: Just one last thing, I know Mr. Wishoff, we didn't ask you a lot of questions but we don't have too many occasions to ask these learned people with Ph.D.'s at the ends of their names. Maybe you'll have one one day, but I think your testimony was very compelling. It was very helpful and I appreciate the fact that you took the time to do that because I'm sure it's not a very easy thing to do but hopefully that's part of your curative process as it goes on. So thank you for making MR. WISHOFF: I also had one last comment I wanted to add. I recall back on those vacation times when I was in adolescence probably about 14, 15 years old, at the hotel we were staying at there were -- since I'm a slot machine fan, that's basically my - - what I play. There were some slot machines in the lobby there and I remember while we were checking out, I kind NEAL R. GROSS
November 11, 1998 N.G.I.S.C. Las Vegas Meeting
of just wandered over on my own and I remember it was probably I had put a nickel in just out of curiosity and I do remember I got a payment back of maybe five or six nickels or something like that, but I think that early exposure may have CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Thank you. I want to thank each of our panel members for being here. This has been a very, very provocative and enlightening discussion. I would dare say that this is one area where there's a great deal of consensus among the Commissioners and among those who follow these issues. Our job is not done in this area yet and we would ask that you would stay in close contact with the Commission. We're looking for receiving your information over the next few months as you get it in. Doctor Westphal, we're most anxious to receive the rest of the information that you will send to us and we would ask that you would be on standby to help us as we begin to draft this particular portion of our report, and I do want to thank you.
And Mr. Wishoff, you said you're 24.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Gainfully employed.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: And you're on television. He'll be in the back corner. We're going to take a break right now and we'll get back together at about 10:35. Thank you.
NEAL R. GROSS

Source: http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/ngisc/meetings/11nov98/p091111.pdf

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