Exposing the Dark Side of Gambling Addiction

A Mother's Story

A daughter's gambling addiction results in divorce and causes strained family relationships when she steals from her parents' business to support her gambling habit.

"The discovery of this theft was devastating to our family. We could not understand how she could do this to the family that loves her."

I have never been in one of Missouri's casinos, and yet the presence of these gambling boats has had a profound impact on my life and the lives of other members of my family. I am sure that my story is not at all unusual for I have spoken to many people who have had their own families touched by this destructive presence which tries to represent itself as a harmless pastime akin to playing some sport, working on some hobby, or watching a video. It is not harmless entertainment. It is a malignant moral cancer in our lives.

Two years ago my twenty-five year old daughter's marriage fell apart. I knew they argued. I knew they always seemed to have money problems. What I did not know was what was at the root of these problems. When the marriage ended, she returned home to live with her father and me. We tried to help her put her life back together. My husband and I have a small family business, and to help our daughter with financial recovery, we had her work part time in our business office. For a while things seemed to be going well, until one day last summer when I discovered that our business was missing thousands of dollars. Unknown to us, our daughter had been writing checks to herself and stealing money from our company.

The discovery of this theft was devastating to our family. Oh, the loss of the money was not that important, though it made life more difficult for a while. We did not lose our business or our home as many others have. We did lose something much more precious. We lost trust in our daughter. This was our child that we adore. We could not understand how she could do this to the family that loves her. I understand now. The magnetic pull of gambling is so powerful. People constantly violate their own value system in order to respond to that desire to try one more time to win. This is what happened to the young woman I thought would not and could not do such a thing.

Our family is recovering. God is good and as Christians, we have His healing presence to depend upon. We will always love our daughter. We will always be there for her no matter what she has done or ever will do. But there is still pain, and there is now distance. At first she simply moved out of our home. But later she chose to relocate a thousand miles away in a state that has not yet foolishly decided to inflict the curse of gambling upon its residents. She is making progress, and her wounds and ours are healing. I miss my daughter. Please rid our state of this destruction before more marriages fail and other parents are missing their children as I miss mine.


Gambling - Good for Missouri, or a Bad Bet? - September 15, 1998