Exposing the Dark Side of Gambling Addiction

Gambling Addiction


Michigan - A small-business owner, had just returned from a trip to the Las Vegas Strip's MGM Grand Tuesday when he allegedly killed his pregnant wife and three children (under 7 years old) before turning the gun on himself. In his Mich., home, police found a suicide note blaming gambling addiction - and $225,000 in shredded casino markers. His business was $500,000 in debt because he withdrew the money to cover his gamblling.
Las Vegas Sun 11/22/00 Las Vegas Review-Journal 11/23/00

LV - The issue of unattended children has gained attention since the May 25 murder and sexual assault (rape) of 7-year-old Sherrice Iverson of Los Angeles. She was left alone in the arcade of the Primm Valley Hotel in Primm, southwest of Las Vegas, while her father gambled into the early morning hours.
"Gaming group discusses unattended children in casinos"/By Angie Wagner/Associated Press/2.28.98

IL - A Naperville man wanted for questioning in the slaying of his ex-wife crashed his sport-utility vehicle into a semi truck on a rain-soaked road in rural Iowa Wednesday morning, killing himself and his 6-year-old daughter. John Scherer's history of drinking and gambling in part led to the collapse of his marriage, according to divorce papers filed in Will County.
"Father, daughter die in crash Manhunt for Naperville man wanted in wife's killing ends on slick Iowa highway"/By Mike Cetera & John Zaremba/Daily Southtown/7.11.02

IL - John Scherer intentionally crashed his Chevrolet Blazer into an oncoming semi truck, killing himself and his daughter, authorities said Thursday. Dr. Francis Garrity, Polk County, Iowa, medical examiner, ruled the crash a murder-suicide (history of gambling).
"Crash ruled a murder-suicide - Police believe father deliberately smashed into semi, killing himself, daughter"/Daily Southtown/7.12.02

VA- An 11-year-old Herndon girl died yesterday after initially surviving the slayings of her mother and brother and the suicide of her father, who authorities now say had defrauded area banks of nearly $2 million and had $10 million in gambling and other debts. Reha Ramachandran was grazed by a bullet that struck the back of her head as her father, Natarajan Ramachandran, killed his wife and 7-year-old son Sunday night. Reha died yesterday afternoon at Inova Fairfax Hospital after her brain swelled as a result of the injury. Sources familiar with the investigation said that before his death, Ramachandran had written nearly $2 million in bad checks in an attempt to cover mounting debt totaling more than $10 million, some of it from gambling losses at Atlantic City casinos. "It is a sad day when the love of money and the fear of failure drives a man to destroy his entire family," said Lt. Bruce Guth, a Fairfax County police homicide investigator.
"Lone Survivor of Father's Shootings Dies"/Wendy Melillo and Brooke A. Masters/8.6.98/Washington Post

IL- In a tape-recorded conversation played in federal court Wednesday at her trial on fraud charges, Dina Abdelhaq recalled how relatives gave her $380 in cash as gifts following the birth of her daughter Tara in 1995. "I figured I wanted to do something positive with her money, and that's what I did," Abdelhaq said in the conversation. What she did was use part of the money to buy a $200,000 insurance policy on Tara's life, "to be like a savings plan," as Abdelhaq put it in the tape-recording. Seven weeks later, Tara died of unexplained causes, and federal prosecutors have charged that Abdelhaq suffocated Tara to collect the insurance money to feed her out-of-control gambling addiction.
"SIDS TRIAL FOCUSES ON BABY'S LIFE INSURANCE"/Matt O'Connor/2.4.99/Chicago Tribune

IL- A woman bent on feeding her gambling addiction suffocated her 7-week-old daughter to collect on a $200,000 life insurance policy, federal prosecutors said. "She would do anything to get money with which to gamble - including the unthinkable,"...
"Feds: Mom Killed Over Casino Debt"/AP/1.23.99/Las Vegas SUN

IL- Fifteen months before 7-week-old Tara Abdelhaq's death, another daughter of the defendant, Lena, also died in her crib. Abdelhaq, 34, of Hickory Hills, insists that both infants died from sudden infant death syndrome. But in laying out the government's circumstantial case in opening remarks to jurors, Assistant U.S. Atty. Ronald Safer said the odds of more than one death in the same family from SIDS are one in a million. The one thing both sides in the case agree on is that Abdelhaq had a gambling addiction: Three days before Tara's birth, she was arrested on a riverboat casino for passing bad checks, according to Safer.
"MOM'S GREED, NOT SIDS, KILLED BABY, JURORS TOLD"/Matt O'Connor/1.23.99/Chicago Tribune

IL - Virginia Williams lost eleven children in a house fire in 1981. Williams had left the children home alone while she was out gambling with their father in St. Louis. Virginia Williams went gambling and left 11 of her children alone in their home for 12 hours. The house caught fire, and all 11 children -- ranging from 10 months to 11 years old -- were killed in one of the deadliest fires ever in the St. Louis area. That was 20 years ago. Virginia Williams went gambling and left 11 of her children alone in their home for 12 hours. The house caught fire, and all 11 children -- ranging from 10 months to 11 years old -- were killed in one of the deadliest fires ever in the St. Louis area. That was 20 years ago. In the two decades since the fire, Williams has had six more children. They are now 10 to 19 years old. Court records and accounts by four of these children indicate that the patterns that produced the first tragedy have continued -- with bleak consequences. Two of these children are so damaged psychologically they may be dangerous to others, concludes one psychologist after reviewing information provided by the Post-Dispatch.
"Gambling with children's lives brings double dose of blame"/By Denise Hollinshed/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/3.26.01

The survivor of a stabbing in Mesquite will soon be leaving University Medical Center. Meanwhile, videotape (This is surveillance video inside the Casablanca Casino @ 1:19 AM) from the confrontation between the girl's mother and the stabbing suspects could help investigators pinpoint what happened the night two little girls were stabbed. 10-year-old Brittany Bergeron is improving. Her 3-year-old half sister died in the attack. Although she is paralyzed from the waist down...
"Mesquite Casino Surveillance Video Released Holding Clues to Stabbings"/by Atle Erlingsson/ klastv.com/1.31.03

Iowa - Where a 19-year-old college dropout, Jason Berg, shot himself to death in June 1994, despairing over a budding gambling habit.
Los Angeles Times 6/22/97

A Long Island teen who had a "death wish" because of a $6,000 World Series gambling debt used a $1.75 toy gun to force cops to shoot and kill him, police said yesterday.
New York Post 11/16/98

Pergament, depressed over $6,000 in gambling debts, got himself shot Friday night by threatening officers with what turned out to be a toy gun, police said. They call it "suicide by co -- and say they've seen it before.
The Associated Press 11/17/97

LA - A two-year-old boy died after his baby sitter left him in a van to play video poker.

GA - A 10-day-old baby left inside a car died while her mother gambled in a casino.
The Associated Press/9.4.97

IN - Westville, Ind., woman whose 2-month-old daughter was found unconscious in her car while she gambled.
"Children often left alone at Indiana casinos"/By Grace Schneider/The Courier-Journal/1.3.02

MT - Officers discovered a 3-week-old baby in the car, which had been parked in the sun. The mother, 27-year-old Angela Lauber of Bigfork, allegedly left the babygirl in the car for more than an hour while she gambled inside the casino. Officers said Lauber had, in fact, gambled with her daughter's life, as temperatures Wednesday topped 80 degrees. Temperatures inside a car on such a day can exceed 150 degrees...
"Bigfork woman leaves baby in hot car"/Missoulian/ 7.11.02

NC - man arrested after locking his 2-year-old and 4 year-old in a car while he gambled.
The Associated Press/9.4.97

NC mother left her 6-month-old daughter in a locked car while she gambled.
The Associated Press/9.4.97

ALTOONA, Iowa -- A Cresco, Iowa, man faces child endangerment charges after police said he left his 10-year-old daughter locked in a car while he gambled at Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino.
"Police say man left daughter in car while gambling"/ASSOCIATED PRESS/12.24.02

NV - A man on vacation from New Mexico left his 4-year-old son alone in a car outside a Las Vegas strip club Wednesday while he watched dancers inside, Metro Police said.
"Father leaves boy in car outside adult club"/By Timothy Pratt/LAS VEGAS SUN/7.25.02

AUBURN - A baby left in car outside Freddie's Casino on Thursday night was alone for more than 2-1/2 hours, according to police.
The Seattle Times/7.20.02

MILWAUKEE -- A man was charged with leaving his 5-year-old daughter alone in an unheated car in 5-degree weather while he gambled at Potawatomi Bingo Casino.
"Man charged with leaving girl in unheated car outside casino"/Las Vegas Sun/1.28.03

A 10-year-old boy and his dog were left alone in a vehicle Sunday while his parents gambled at Blue Chip Casino.
"Child left alone as man gambles"/Nixon interactive/7.24.00

IN - GARY - Four children were left alone for at least four hours in a car parked at Buffington Harbor. The mother of the children, ages 2, 3, 9 and 16, was arrested late Tuesday after she emerged from one of the two casino boats there.Police found the youngest children clad only in diapers, crying because they were hungry and cold, police and witnesses said.
"Youngsters left alone in car as mother gambles"/By Steve Patterson

IN - Then, in July 2000 -- after a Virginia woman was charged with leaving six children inside a hot car with the windows rolled down at Caesars.
"Children often left alone at Indiana casinos"/By Grace Schneider/The Courier-Journal/1.3.02

IN - Those incidents, coupled with others statewide, make a total of 38 separate incidents in which 73 children have been left alone while adults gambled.
"Casino official syas no children allowed"/By Rhonda E. Sobecki/Nixon Interactive/7.27.00

GAFFNEY -- A Blacksburg woman has been arrested after police say she left her two toddlers (3-year-old and a 1-year-old) outside a convenience store while she played video gambling machines.
"Woman charged after toddlers left alone while she played video poker"/By The Associated Press/12.15.98

GARY - A day after she left five kids alone in a car in a casino parking lot, Rena Hitchcock walked out of the city jail.
"Mother who left kids in car while she gambled is released without charges"/By Steve Patterson/9.16.00

LA - A Houma woman left her 12-year-old daughter and the girl's friend stranded outside The Esplanade mall in near-freezing weather while she gambled into the early hours of the morning at the Treasure Chest casino, Kenner police said.
"Kids left in cold while mother gambles"/The Times-Picayune/12.25.98

LA - SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) -- A woman was arrested on two felony counts of crueltyto a juvenile after she allegedly left two children in a car with the windows rolled up while she played video poker.
"Children abandoned in car while woman plays poker"/The Associated Press/7.26.00

RI - NEWPORT -- A 33-year-old Massachusetts man was charged with child neglect Thursday after he allegedly left his 6-year-old daughter alone in an unlocked car while he was in Newport Grand Jai Alai for almost two hours.
"Man accused of leaving girl in car at Jai Alai"/BY SCOTT MAYEROWITZ/ projo.com-news.html/11.4.01

OR - Last Thursday Zelda Luann Schmid, age 27, allegedly left the children, ages 1, 2, and 3, strapped in their car seats as she gambled at Spirit Mountain casino for nearly 11 hours.
"Woman Gambles 11 Hours While Children Left in Van"/KPTV/Sept. 2001

IA - A Maxwell woman left her three children (ages 3, 10 and 21 months) alone in a car on New Year's Eve while she was inside Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Altoona, Polk County officials allege.
"Officers find three children in a vehicle in the parking lot."/By Tom Alex/ DesMoinesRegister/1.9.02

MONTREAL -- A couple has been fined $85 for leaving an 11-month-old baby alone in a parked vehicle while they gambled at the Montreal Casino.
"Gamblers fined for leaving baby"/Canio Limited Partnership/7.22.00

Canada - A London father who left his nine-year-old son alone in a car at night while he played the slots at Western Fair says he's a good dad and did nothing wrong.
"Dad tells his side of story about leaving son in car"/By RANDY RICHMOND/The London Free Press/8.2.00

New Zealand - Puao Faumuina left her baby in her car at Sky City Casino's underground carpark and took a lift up to the gaming floor, promising herself she would only spend a few minutes on the pokie Machines. More than three hours later she was still gambling and 7-week-old Neva - left unchecked in the suffocating heat of the car - was severely dehydrated. Ms Faumuina later tried to kill herself.
"Casino's pull and a near tragedy"/By TONY WALL/NZ Herald/12.22.01

BANGKOK, Nov 13 (AFP) - Four young children have been abandoned for the past six weeks at a hotel near a casino on the Cambodian border while their mother went on a gambling spree, officials and reports said Tuesday. The Nation newspaper said the children, aged six and 12,...
"Thai children dumped in hotel as mum gambles in border casino"/ Agence France-Presse/11.13.01