Signs & Symptoms
- How much time is spent gambling
- Increase in gambling time and places
- Increase in size of bets (sudden and dramatic)
- Working up special occasions for gambling (canceling other plans)
- Intensity of interest in gambling (constant tension & excitement)
- Boasting about winning; evasive about losing
- Exaggerated display of money and other possessions
- Gambling when there is a crisis
- Drop off in other activities
- Frequent absences from home and work
- Excessive phone use
- Withdrawal from family
- Personality changes (increased irritability/hostility)
- Diversion of family funds
Q: What is the Louisiana Problem Gamblers Help Line FAX Number:
Q: What do you do?
A: The Louisiana Problem Gamblers Help Line is a toll-free, confidential information and referral line that assists individuals in the state of Louisiana who may be affected by gambling problems. This includes providing information to people who want help to stop gambling, family members who are concerned about a loved one, or a person in recovery from gambling who is searching for a GA meeting. In addition, we talk to individuals from throughout the state who have a question on any other addiction and direct them to the proper resource.
Q: How do I get someone banned from a casino?
A: First of all, another person cannot get an individual banned from a casino...not even a spouse or family member. However, individuals who desire a voluntary exclusion from a casino follow the following procedures:
If calling from the land-based Harrah's in New Orleans, use this guide:
- Have the customer go to the Customer Safety Podium located next to the Lucky Dog vendor.
- Have the customer ask for the Customer Safety Manager on duty.
- Tell the manager that he/she would like to be evicted or "barred from the premises."
- The safety manager will escort the customer to their investigation area and the customer will then sign a formal eviction from premises notice, after meeting with state police.
HARRAH'S LAND-BASED CASINO IN NEW ORLEANS IS THE ONLY STATE CASINO THAT HAS ITS OWN POLICE UNIT INSIDE THE CASINO.
For other riverboat casinos in Louisiana, use the following procedure:
- If the individual on a riverboat casino desires to be escorted off the premises of a boat, that is between the individual and that particular casino. The individual must ask the security detail on that casino to escort them off. The state police do not get involved. Once they are removed, they are interviewed or referred to the state police office that handles gaming issues. That phone number is 318-862-9730 and is headed by a Sgt. Cavanaugh. (He prefers we do not give out physical address).
- A telephone interview will be conducted to screen for pranks, etc. Should the state police decide the individual is sincere in his or her desire to be banned, an interview will be conducted and the narrative will be sent to headquarters in Baton Rouge.
- At that time, it will be processed to determine if the call meets the criteria for voluntary exclusion. If so, the application will be returned to that area of state police and the individual will be asked to come in to the office and sign an affidavit attesting to his desire to be banned.
- The individual must understand that this decision is taken seriously. It is not reversible unless they hire an attorney and go to court to have it "undone." This is in keeping with Article 2760, chapter 42 of the Gaming Control Policy per Sgt. Cavanaugh with the Louisiana State Police.
Q: Do you have a listing of the GA meetings in my area of the state?
A: Yes! It is updated often and verified. We will be glad to mail a copy to you!
Q: Is there someplace else a person can go to get help for gambling instead of a twelve-step group?
A: Yes! The state has counselors that are specially trained in compulsive gambling. We will be glad to give you the name, address and phone number of the counselor nearest to your area.
Q: Is there a treatment center that specializes in treating gambling problems?
A: Yes. CORE, Center of Recovery, is located in Shreveport and specializes in providing treatment for those whose lives have been adversely affected by gambling. It is the only state funded in-patient facility in the Nation. We will be glad to send you additional information on this center or give you the telephone number so that you may speak to them directly.
Q: Can you help me get my money back or loan me money?
A: No, but we can help you if you desire to stop gambling. We will be glad to talk to you and/or your family and send you information as well.
Q: I am visiting your state and have decided I have a gambling problem. Can you give me the name of a GA meeting in my area of the United States?
A: Yes, we have GA listings throughout the continental US.
Q: What exactly is GA?
A: Gambler's Anonymous is the outgrowth of a chance meeting between two men during the month of January in 1957. These men had a truly baffling history of trouble and misery due to an obsession to gamble. They began to meet regularly and as the months passed neither had returned to gambling. They formulated a relapse prevention plan based on certain spiritual principles utilized by thousands of people who were recovering from other compulsive addictions. The first group meeting of GA was held on September 13, 1957 in Los Angles, California and has flourished ever since. GA is based on the twelve-step modality and consists of two or more people meeting together to discuss their obsession with gambling and a method to stop.
Q: What is compulsive gambling?
A: Gamblers Anonymous members believe that compulsive gambling is an illness, progressive in nature, which can never be cured, but can be arrested. These individuals often believe they are morally weak or "no good." GA assists the individual in accepting that gambling addiction is a true addiction but they can recover if they follow to the best of their ability a simple program that has proved successful for thousands of men and women.
Q: What is the first thing a compulsive gambler should do to stop gambling?
A: The compulsive gambler needs to be willing to accept the fact that he or she is in the grip of a progressive illness and has a desire to get well.
Q: How can you tell whether you are a compulsive gambler?
A: Only the affected individual can determine this. Most people turn to GA when they become willing to admit that gambling has them licked. In GA, a compulsive gambler is described as a person whose gambling has caused growing and continuing problems in any area of his or her life i.e., family relationships, employment problems, financial problems and depression that accompanies any or all of these areas.
Q: Can a compulsive gambler ever gamble normally again?
A: No. The first bet to a problem gambler is like the first small drink to an alcoholic. Sooner or later he or she falls back into the same old destructive pattern.
Q: Why can't a gambler simply use will power to stop gambling?
A: Most people, if honest, will recognize their lack of power to solve certain problems including gambling. Many gamblers have abstained for long time periods only to be caught off guard and under the right set of circumstances, start gambling again. The defense of will-power alone gave way before some trivial reason for placing a bet. Will-power and self-knowledge will not help in those mental blank spots.
Q: I only go on gambling binges periodically. Do I need GA?
A: Yes. A compulsive gambler often experiences periodic binges. However, these intervals were periods of nervousness, irritability, frustration and indecision.
Q: Is it okay for a gambler in recovery to participate in an office betting pool?
A: For the compulsive gambler, gambling is defined as: Any betting or wagering, for self or others, whether for money or not, no matter how slight or insignificant, where the outcome is uncertain or depends upon chance or "skill" constitutes gambling.
Q: Isn't compulsive gambling a financial problem?
A: No, compulsive gambling is an emotional problem. Financial problems are created, as are marital, employment and legal problems as a result of this emotional problem. In reality, of the many serious difficulties created for a compulsive gambler, the financial problem will often end up being the easiest to solve...once that individual enters GA.
Q: What are some characteristics of a compulsive gambler?
- Inability and unwillingness to accept reality...escaping into the dream world of gambling.
- Emotional insecurity...a compulsive gambler is only comfortable when "in action." They feel secure when gambling.
- Immaturity...a desire to have all the good things in life without any great effort.
In addition, the following signs of trouble mean that a crisis may be on the horizon:
- A discrepancy between income and assets.
- Money or assets disappearing, or suddenly appearing.
- Secrecy about money.
- Vagueness or double-talk about assets, income and expenses.
- Unexplained bills, debts, or payments.
- Loans from legal and illegal sources.
- Urgent requests to family and friends for money.
- Decline in savings.
- Sale of stock with no reinvestment.
- Reports that equipment and jewelry are being repaired or have been lost or stolen.
- Mysterious and angry phone calls and messages.
Q: What can I do as a family member to help?
A: The self-help organization of GAM-ANON is for the spouse, family or close friends of the compulsive gambler. Gamanon's purpose is to teach acceptance and understanding of the gambling illness, to use the program and its problem-solving suggestions as an aid in rebuilding lives and to give appropriate aid to the gambler.
Q: How do I know if I am involved with someone with a gambling problem?
A: Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you puzzled because you are always short of money?
- Does this person sometimes borrow money to pay ordinary monthly bills even though there has been no known change of income or specific increased expense?
- Has anything of personal or property value mysteriously disappeared?
- Have you sold anything of personal or property value to pay debts?
- Is this person secretive about money?
- Does this person seem to be more reckless about money than other people and not really weigh his chances?
- Have you accidentally discovered secret loans?
- Does this person continue to acquire different credit cards?
- Has this person ever urgently requested you to cosign a loan?
- Do you have any reason to question whether this person has filed an accurate or for that matter, any IRS return?
- Has there been a change in the way this person handles money?
- Has this person reordered spending priorities?
- Has this person let health or life insurance lapse?
- Do you have to resort to subterfuge to get money you need from this person?(i.e., overestimating some expenses, under reporting your own income, stealing from this person).
- Do you suspect this person took money from you?
- Is this person seeking new ways to earn extra money, have a second job or work overtime?
- Is this person gambling with greater frequency?