Exposing the Dark Side of Gambling Addiction

Forensic Center on Compulsive Gambling, Inc.


Dr. Valerie Lorenz is one of the nation’s foremost authorities on compulsive gambling. She has specialized in this field since 1973, conducting research, educating communities, training health and law enforcement professionals, and treating compulsive gamblers and their families. She is a prolific author and speaker, and routinely testifies before local, state and Congressional legislative committees. She serves as consultant on myriad issues relating to compulsive gambling.


Isn't compulsive gambling just an excuse? No, although uninformed people may take this position; rather, it is an explanation of a psychiatric disorder which leads to aberrant behaviors, including criminal acts.


Stealing is stealing, isn't it? In the legal sense, of course; however, the gambler is convinced that the next bet will result in a big win and that monies will be paid back or items will be recovered. The gambler is convinced that “stolen” money is really “borrowed” money.


Why not let the gambler get treatment in prison? There are no compulsive gambling treatment programs in prisons.


Why does one person become and alcoholic and another a compulsive gambler? Gambling is accepted and encouraged by state governments and today’s society, drunkenness is not. Gamblers also have unique and essential personality characteristics, such as being highly competitive, which is not necessary for becoming an alcoholic.


Alcoholics get DUIs and DWIs. Do gamblers? Many compulsive gamblers drive recklessly and at high speeds going to and from their gambling sites. In later stages they tend to have accidents which are often disguised suicide attempts.


What are the most common crimes among compulsive gamblers? Bad checks of all sorts, teenagers stealing from parents, adults resorting to fraud or embezzlement - typically non-violent crimes, but as often and as long as they are gambling. Sometimes they will embezzle from an employer for years.