Online poker addiction may lead to suicidePosted by Guest Blogger on Mar 2, 2009 in Blog, Poker News | 0 comments
According to the Cumberland News, an online poker addiction had caused former Carlisle mayor, Jayne Prewitt, to steal and lie about a £60,000 debt to an online poker room. Prewitt recalls that at one point she had arranged her own suicide to free herself from a gambling addiction.
Prewitt made headlines this week as she pled guilty in stealing £38,000 from the South End Constitutional Club where she ran the pub. It is her hope that in sharing her story of addiction to online poker, others would be deterred from playing.
“It started at the beginning of 2007,” she said. “I don’t want to say too much about why it happened, but I started spending too much time playing poker on the internet. I was bored, basically.”
Prewitt notes that she had little skill when she initially began playing, but that the thrill of winning compelled her to continue. In the evenings – between 8am and 1 pm – she would spend hours at the computer, playing poker. Prewitt lost £3,000 at just one table.
“I had a couple of wins of that kind of amount, but as time went on the losses were mounting up. It made no sense, because at the social club where I worked I was always the first to clamp down on gambling,” she noted. “But I got a buzz when I won, and you end up chasing the money you’ve lost.”
After some time, Prewitt began to steal from the bar where she worked, and lie to her boss about where the money had gone. She stole under the understanding that the money would be replaced when she won. “I’m not a stupid person, but online poker became my obsession. I should have realized sooner what was happening to me. It’s ruined my life.”
Prewitt was checked into the Carleton Clinic after a suicide attempt. When she returned home, she “ripped the internet cable out.” Prewitt continues her message to the public, saying that her reason for sharing her story is to warn people of the dangers of internet gambling.
“Now I’m nearly 50 and likely to go to prison. I’ve let so many people down. I feel so sorry for that. The only reason I’m not going to kill myself is that I’ve promised my family I won’t.”
A former colleague of Prewitt, Craig Johnston said after her court hearing, “Jane was a first-class local councilor in this city. I can’t speak highly enough of her. What’s happened is tragic.”
Any person that gambles is aware of the risk of gambling, whether it is offline or on. As such, nearly every online poker room is committed to responsible gaming. Any online poker worth is weight and salt offers a self-exclusion policy to its players, where they may ask to be refused service for a designated amount of time.
The internet gambling industry has spent more on problem gambling research than most governments. Online poker sites usually provide a number of resources in getting help with problem gambling, including links and phone numbers to hotlines and a means of restricting the table and deposit limits.
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