Slots equal addicts

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Washington Jewish Week

In reply to Richard Greenberg’s article, “Slots a bad bet?” (WJW, Oct. 23), my response is a big “yes.” Although the legalizing of slot machines in Maryland might add huge sums of money to help its budget crisis, it would also produce a huge number of new gambling addicts whose addiction could destroy existing happy family relationships.

Both Jewish and non-Jewish Maryland residents who occasionally play the slots in West Virginia or Delaware, and new first-time gamblers, could find it easier to pull the levers at a Maryland gambling facility and increase their desires to “get lucky.”

As a senior, I have observed the growth of area gambling, recalling that many D.C. residents played the illegal “numbers game” during the ’40s, many of whom, I’m sure, became addicted. Unlike today’s legal lottery, which offers many different games, numbers gambling was confined to choosing three numbers, selected from the winners of designated races at arranged horse-racing tracks. Gamblers during this period would place their bets, not at lottery machine locations, but with individuals who recorded the bets on small pads. The “number writers” worked on commissions and turned the bets into selected backers.

Gambling has been around, and can be an enjoyable experience — but for those folks who engage in this “fun” too often, the result can be gambling addiction, which is not fun.



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