I think my father has a gambling problem

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sawhorse
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I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by sawhorse » Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:43 pm

I visited my parents for 4 days, the first time this year, and my father spent two of those days at the casino. There were a lot of advertisements from casinos in the house and books on how to play poker and blackjack.

I confronted him about it, and he denied having a gambling problem. He said he does it for fun and isn't addicted. He said he doesn't have an addictive personality as he's never been addicted to anything in his life, which is true. He also said that yes he's lost a bit of money, but he gets so much free stuff from the casinos that he breaks even. Yeah right!

What should I do? To be clear, I'm not at all concerned that he'll come after my money as I don't really have money. I'm also not concerned about my reduced inheritance since I don't feel like I have an entitlement to his inheritance.

But I'm worried for my father's sake. I watched him work his butt off and live a frugal life for decades, and it breaks my heart that all the hard work is now being squandered by this awful activity. He has a good pension so he's not at risk of outliving his money, but I want him to be as comfortable as he wants to be in his retirement, not throwing away his money.

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Stinky
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by Stinky » Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:53 pm

sawhorse wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:43 pm
I visited my parents for 4 days, the first time this year, and my father spent two of those days at the casino. There were a lot of advertisements from casinos in the house and books on how to play poker and blackjack.

I confronted him about it, and he denied having a gambling problem. He said he does it for fun and isn't addicted. He said he doesn't have an addictive personality as he's never been addicted to anything in his life, which is true. He also said that yes he's lost a bit of money, but he gets so much free stuff from the casinos that he breaks even. Yeah right!

What should I do? To be clear, I'm not at all concerned that he'll come after my money as I don't really have money. I'm also not concerned about my reduced inheritance since I don't feel like I have an entitlement to his inheritance.

But I'm worried for my father's sake. I watched him work his butt off and live a frugal life for decades, and it breaks my heart that all the hard work is now being squandered by this awful activity. He has a good pension so he's not at risk of outliving his money, but I want him to be as comfortable as he wants to be in his retirement, not throwing away his money.
I also think your father has a gambling problem. And he won't change until he recognizes it himself.

You mention "parents" in your first sentence. Where is your mother on this issue? Does she go with him to the casino? Does she seem concerned about your father? Or is she just oblivious to the situation?

At some point, you might talk to your mother, just the two of you. Tell her that you're concerned about your father. See where it goes. In the best of all worlds, she'll be able to help show your father that he has a problem.

He's not getting back all of his gambling losses with "free stuff". There's a reason casinos have big buildings and give away free stuff - they make a lot more from folks like your father.
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magicrat
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by magicrat » Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:58 pm

How old is he? Is cognitive decline a possibility?

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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by sawhorse » Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:59 pm

Stinky wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:53 pm
I also think your father has a gambling problem. And he won't change until he recognizes it himself.

You mention "parents" in your first sentence. Where is your mother on this issue? Does she go with him to the casino? Does she seem concerned about your father? Or is she just oblivious to the situation?

At some point, you might talk to your mother, just the two of you. Tell her that you're concerned about your father. See where it goes. In the best of all worlds, she'll be able to help show your father that he has a problem.

He's not getting back all of his gambling losses with "free stuff". There's a reason casinos have big buildings and give away free stuff - they make a lot more from folks like your father.
My mother went with him to watch him at the table or to watch a show. I don't know if she goes with him every time. She doesn't gamble.

I mentioned to my mother that I'm concerned. But my mother is a passive and submissive wife who lets him dominate her. She would never speak up. Also I think she believes him when he says he doesn't have a problem. She's that type.

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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by sawhorse » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:02 pm

magicrat wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:58 pm
How old is he? Is cognitive decline a possibility?
He's in his 70s. He seems very mentally sharp, but I know that doesn't mean he doesn't have a gambling problem. I don't think he's showing signs of cognitive decline. He used to do a lot of yard work and woodworking, but he physically can't do that anymore, and he got bored. Casinos like to target senior citizens, and I think he got an offer and became hooked.

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DanMahowny
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by DanMahowny » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:07 pm

If he's mentally sharp, he should learn how to WIN. It's not that hard to have an edge over casinos. You need some specialized knowledge and lots of discipline.

Start here:

https://www.amazon.com/Advanced-Advanta ... ntage+play

https://www.amazon.com/Advanced-Tactics ... ntage+play
Last edited by DanMahowny on Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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dm200
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by dm200 » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:08 pm

Difficult to address if mother does not "see" the problem. One (of many) risks is that he will incur loans or debts to fund the gambling.

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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by sawhorse » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:10 pm

DanMahowny wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:07 pm
If he's mentally sharp, he should learn how to WIN. It's not that hard to have an edge over casinos. You need some specialized knowledge and lots of discipline.
I think he's convinced himself that he'll eventually get good at it. There were poker books in the house, and he started watching poker tournaments. Those shows make it look like anyone can learn to win at poker. But that's not true of course. Professional poker players are extremely rare, and they can lose too.

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whodidntante
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by whodidntante » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:11 pm

Compulsion is powerful but it doesn't sound like you have more than a suspicion at this point. How much money is he losing each year as a percentage of assets? What does he actually do at the casino? $100/hand blackjack is a lot of different than 1/3 spread limit hold'em. You'll gain more trust if you take an interest and don't treat him like a defective individual. You can talk to him about what he does or even go with him to get an accurate picture of his action.

It's reasonable to let him know you are worried but there isn't a lot of you can do if he doesn't want to hear you. I would think your mother would want to take steps to protect her financial future. I would plant that seed but acting on it is up to her. Are the marital assets an open book to her? Is she bothering to read the book?

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DanMahowny
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by DanMahowny » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:12 pm

Agree. Poker is the last game I would recommend.
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sawhorse
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by sawhorse » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:17 pm

whodidntante wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:11 pm
Compulsion is powerful but it doesn't sound like you have more than a suspicion at this point. How much money is he losing each year as a percentage of assets? What does he actually do at the casino? $100/hand blackjack is a lot of different than 1/3 spread limit hold'em. You'll gain more trust if you take an interest and don't treat him like a defective individual. You can talk to him about what he does or even go with him to get an accurate picture of his action.

It's reasonable to let him know you are worried but there isn't a lot of you can do if he doesn't want to hear you. I would think your mother would want to take steps to protect her financial future. I would plant that seed but acting on it is up to her. Are the marital assets an open book to her? Is she bothering to read the book?
I don't know what he's playing and how much he has lost. All I know is that gambling inevitably involves losses, and I don't want my father to squander the money he worked very hard to save up.

My mother pays the bills, but I don't know how much she knows about family finances otherwise. My mother isn't worried about her financial future even though she's younger than him because she thinks she'll die in the next few years as no one in her very large family has lived past 76. Meanwhile my father's family all live into their 90s-100s. That's another reason I'm especially concerned. He will inevitably experience cognitive decline, and I don't want that to happen while he's addicted to gambling.

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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by 123 » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:20 pm

Some casinos seem target specifc ethnic groups so that the gamblers that go there feel that they "belong" there. If he's going there because he's bored and enjoys the socialization perhaps your mother needs to get him direct to other social avenues, senior centers, churches, clubs etc.
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by EnjoyIt » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:26 pm

DanMahowny wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:12 pm
Agree. Poker is the last game I would recommend.
I disagree. Poker is the only game in the house that a player can have a real edge because the player is not playing against the house but against other players. it is also not that hard to be profitable in poker if one understands the math and learns patience. Without those two one can never become a good poker player. This is coming from an amateur poker player who has been playing poker for maybe 15 years while being profitable doing so. Yes, I keep a poker fund so I know exactly how much I have made/lost.

I really like whodidntante's advice above. Go with him, show interest and see what exactly is going on. If he is having fun and only losing a little then so what. If he is losing significant funds and those loses are compounding he very well may have a problem. Maybe ask him to create a win/loss ledger adding in all the "freebies" the casino gives him as well. At least he and you will know exactly what is going on and act accordingly. BTW, just about any gambling book will advise keeping a fund specific for gambling. If he is not doing that, then he is not following the good advice of those books.
Last edited by EnjoyIt on Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by Olemiss540 » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:29 pm

DanMahowny wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:07 pm
If he's mentally sharp, he should learn how to WIN. It's not that hard to have an edge over casinos. You need some specialized knowledge and lots of discipline.

Start here:

https://www.amazon.com/Advanced-Advanta ... ntage+play

https://www.amazon.com/Advanced-Tactics ... ntage+play
Dad?!
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by Raybo » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:30 pm

Not everyone who drinks is an alcoholic. Not everyone who gambles is an addicted gambler. Maybe he has a problem; maybe he doesn’t.

I agree with the suggestion that you offer to go with him and see what he does there. Who knows, you might enjoy it! If he bought season tickets to the local team and went to every game would you call him a baseball addict?

Ultimately, it comes down to how much money, if anything, he is losing. If it is “too much” then addict or no it isn’t a good thing.
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by randomguy » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:36 pm

EnjoyIt wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:26 pm
DanMahowny wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:12 pm
Agree. Poker is the last game I would recommend.
I disagree. Poker is the only game in the house that a player can have a real edge because the player is not playing against the house but against other players. it is also not that hard to be profitable in poker if one understands the math and learns patience. Without those two one can never become a good poker player.

I really like whodidntante's advice above. Go with him, show interest and see what exactly is going on. If he is having fun and only losing a little then so what. If he is losing significant funds and those loses are compounding he very well may have a problem. Maybe ask him to create a win/loss ledger adding in all the "freebies" the casino gives him as well. At least he and you will know exactly what is going on and act accordingly.
Poker is pretty much the only game you should be playing in a casino (handwave about advantage blackjack play). Gambling as a whole might involve losses but that doesn't mean every poker player loses. It is one of the few games where skilled players have a huge edge.

Few people go pro because it is
a) horrible boring (we are talking sitting at a table for 10 hours/day playing cards)
b) mental tough (i.e. staying the course when you are playing good but losing is hard)
c) and the pay is only good for the people at the top. You hear about the pros bettin 100k/hand and winning 1 million dollar tournaments. The average pro is grinding out 15/hr at some lowish stack table where they are playing out of town vistors who are drunk and suck really bad.

None of that means the dad might not have a gambling addiction.

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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by EagertoLearnMore » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:40 pm

I've seen this happen with seniors that are bored and are looking for something different to do. They are offered all types of "comps" and think they are getting a lot for free. Free meals, shows, drinks to lure them in more frequently. It would be good if you could find something to keep your father and mother occupied with other seniors in a different way. Tickets to the theater, classes at the local university in subjects that interest them, local evening school might spark some involvement. As others have said it will be difficult for you to keep your father away from the casino but you could try some distractions.

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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by Teague » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:47 pm

It's quite a leap to jump to a "diagnosis" of gambling addiction from the information you've posted. For the sake of family relations, I'd suggest keeping your young whipper-snapper trap shut unless you have substantial evidence, not just books and advertisements laying around. And get off my lawn!
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by RickBoglehead » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:48 pm

Assuming you have no access to their finances, beyond going to watch them gamble you have little power to change anything.

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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by delamer » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:49 pm

Raybo wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:30 pm
Not everyone who drinks is an alcoholic. Not everyone who gambles is an addicted gambler. Maybe he has a problem; maybe he doesn’t.

I agree with the suggestion that you offer to go with him and see what he does there. Who knows, you might enjoy it! If he bought season tickets to the local team and went to every game would you call him a baseball addict?

Ultimately, it comes down to how much money, if anything, he is losing. If it is “too much” then addict or no it isn’t a good thing.
I agree with these comments. Check out what he is doing yourself by going with him.

Without knowing how much money is involved, you are rushing to judgment.

Say he is losing $100/week on gambling. If he was spending $100/week in golf fees, would you say he was squandering his money?

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:57 pm

I would need a lot more information than the presence of books on gambling, mail from casinos, and spending time in casinos to state that he had a gambling problem.

These 20 questions from Gamblers Anonymous would be a huge help:
http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/con ... -questions

Poker and blackjack are both games that can (not necessarily will) yield an advantage to the player. It would be an encouraging sign to me that he has acquired a library to try to learn to play a winning game, depending upon which books he has selected.

These days it is much harder than it used to be to collect enough comped benefits to offset one's losses. Even if he doesn't play a winning game, it isn't hard to find blackjack games where a player's expected loss is pretty low. The same goes for poker games--the right slow, low limit games make it difficult to lose a meaningful amount of money.

Even though there may be "better" ways for him to spend his time, I would gather more data before I panic about a possible gambling problem.

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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by jehovasfitness » Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:00 pm

Teague wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:47 pm
It's quite a leap to jump to a "diagnosis" of gambling addiction from the information you've posted. For the sake of family relations, I'd suggest keeping your young whipper-snapper trap shut unless you have substantial evidence, not just books and advertisements laying around. And get off my lawn!
This

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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:05 pm

Olemiss540 wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:29 pm
DanMahowny wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:07 pm
If he's mentally sharp, he should learn how to WIN. It's not that hard to have an edge over casinos. You need some specialized knowledge and lots of discipline.

Start here:

https://www.amazon.com/Advanced-Advanta ... ntage+play

https://www.amazon.com/Advanced-Tactics ... ntage+play
Dad?!
Son???

If I ever see you contributing to Eliot Jacobson's bottom line your inheritance is in real jeopardy! Nothing wrong with getting that book from the library though. Now get back to your schoolwork!

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JoMoney
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by JoMoney » Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:17 pm

Does he gamble money needed for bills, lie about going to the casino, miss family/friend events to go to the casino instead? Those would be problems. Doing it because he's bored and it's a convenient (maybe fun) maybe social (poker) activity doesn't necessarily make it a problem (even though it creates bad habits and enables problems others might have even if he doesn't).

It is entirely possible to find casinos where one breaks even considering comps and promotions if someone is VERY selective about what games they play, and what promotions are being offered. It's probably an excuse though. Does he keep a log book tracking his "play money" wins/losses?
Keeping track of it wins/losses is a way to make it less fun, point out big money sinks, and can actually be a necessity for taxes. If you thought gambling was a losing proposition on it's own, it can be really bad considering the tax complications of losing a standard deduction so you can itemize losses to offset a win, or paying federal and state taxes on the off-chance you do win.
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by essbeer » Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:19 pm

The troubling part to me is that, after a year away, you came to visit for 4 days and your father left for half of that to be at a casino. I kind of feel like whether or not he was gambling responsibly is beside the point, he chose visiting the casino (a place he could visit any day) over a rare opportunity to be with his family.

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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by randomizer » Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:20 pm

Sorry to hear it.
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sawhorse
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by sawhorse » Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:21 pm

Thanks a lot for your replies. I'm probably being too presumptuous in equating gambling with gambling addiction. I went once to Las Vegas and lost a shameful amount in just a few days. I couldn't believe how easily I got swept into it. When I'm back home without casinos around I don't get an urge to gamble. That's why I was taken aback by how easy it is to get addicted when you're in a casino.

Is there a way I can get him removed from casino mailing lists so that he won't be enticed by their offers?

I'll try to get him involved in other hobbies. He had to stop his previous hobbies as they were all physical in nature.

I just want the best for my father. He worked incredibly hard and sacrificed a lot to save up a good nest egg, and I don't want to see him squander that.

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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by sawhorse » Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:24 pm

essbeer wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:19 pm
The troubling part to me is that, after a year away, you came to visit for 4 days and your father left for half of that to be at a casino. I kind of feel like whether or not he was gambling responsibly is beside the point, he chose visiting the casino (a place he could visit any day) over a rare opportunity to be with his family.
That's what made me suspicious. He's never done that before. He invited me to go along, and I declined. I got angry about him spending the time in the casino, leaving me in the house doing nothing, and I confronted him.
Last edited by sawhorse on Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Afty
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by Afty » Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:26 pm

essbeer wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:19 pm
The troubling part to me is that, after a year away, you came to visit for 4 days and your father left for half of that to be at a casino. I kind of feel like whether or not he was gambling responsibly is beside the point, he chose visiting the casino (a place he could visit any day) over a rare opportunity to be with his family.
I agree and can see why OP suspects a gambling problem.
Last edited by Afty on Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:27 pm

sawhorse wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:21 pm
Thanks a lot for your replies. I'm probably being too presumptuous in equating gambling with gambling addiction. I went once to Las Vegas and lost a shameful amount in just a few days. I couldn't believe how easily I got swept into it. When I'm back home without casinos around I don't get an urge to gamble. That's why I was taken aback by how easy it is to get addicted when you're in a casino.

Is there a way I can get him removed from casino mailing lists so that he won't be enticed by their offers?

I'll try to get him involved in other hobbies. He had to stop his previous hobbies as they were all physical in nature.

I just want the best for my father. He worked incredibly hard and sacrificed a lot to save up a good nest egg, and I don't want to see him squander that.
There are mechanisms for him to be removed from their mailing lists or even to self-exclude himself from casinos. I do not think there is any mechanism for you to do that. It would be outrageous if there were, imo. You can certainly write casino managers to request that they put him on their no-mail list, but it is more likely to alienate your father than to have an effect upon his gambling.

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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by Teague » Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:28 pm

sawhorse wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:21 pm

Is there a way I can get him removed from casino mailing lists so that he won't be enticed by their offers?
I doubt it. Nor can you commit him to a re-education camp. I don't think you got the message that this is not your "problem" to manage.
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by JoMoney » Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:28 pm

sawhorse wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:21 pm
...
I'll try to get him involved in other hobbies. He had to stop his previous hobbies as they were all physical in nature. ...
That sounds like a good idea. Be aware that some hobbies can also lead one to "squander" large amounts of money on gear, accessories,... green fees :mrgreen:
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by MathWizard » Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:31 pm

Were you visiting them, or just staying there and visiting old friends.
My sons do this, though they are younger than you would be.
If they are coming to see me, I'm at home, because I would like to see them, not
the inside of a casino that I can go to anytime.

When I have houseguests, I don't go off somewhere without them unless I have something
like a Dr.'s visit.

Is this a change in your father's behavior?

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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by ResearchMed » Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:42 pm

sawhorse wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:24 pm
essbeer wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:19 pm
The troubling part to me is that, after a year away, you came to visit for 4 days and your father left for half of that to be at a casino. I kind of feel like whether or not he was gambling responsibly is beside the point, he chose visiting the casino (a place he could visit any day) over a rare opportunity to be with his family.
That's what made me suspicious. He's never done that before. He invited me to go along, and I declined. I got angry about him spending the time in the casino, leaving me in the house doing nothing, and I confronted him.
We don't know - nor do you, yet - whether or not this is a "problem".

As pointed out above, if he spent a regular sum of money each week golfing, or even more traveling, would that be "problem behavior".
All of this assumes that there isn't an inappropriate amount, something that jeopardizes the future (or not any more than if it were golfing, etc.).

And... he INVITED you to join him!
He didn't "sneak off" to the casino.


How nice it MIGHT have been if you joined him, with a smile,
a) to spend time with him (after all, that's why you visited? and perhaps had your mother join you the next time?)
and
b) to SEE what he's doing (is he tossing $20/$50/$100 bills on the roulette wheel? is he playing minimum bet poker and maybe winning just occasionally, and having a blast? or is he out of control, getting mad or such?).

It might be that he's developing a problem (or maybe hasn't yet, but could still do so, as this seems new).
Or this could be his "hobby money".

How close geographically do you live?

RM
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sawhorse
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by sawhorse » Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:47 pm

MathWizard wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:31 pm
Were you visiting them, or just staying there and visiting old friends.
My sons do this, though they are younger than you would be.
If they are coming to see me, I'm at home, because I would like to see them, not
the inside of a casino that I can go to anytime.

When I have houseguests, I don't go off somewhere without them unless I have something
like a Dr.'s visit.

Is this a change in your father's behavior?
I was visiting them and my sister who lives close to them. Due to my medical problems it's hard for me to travel, so I don't visit them often. He had already booked the free casino visit before he knew I was visiting, or so he said. I was supposed to visit a few weeks earlier, but my mom got sick and didn't want me to catch it.
ResearchMed wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:42 pm
How close geographically do you live?
5-6 hour drive

ResearchMed
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by ResearchMed » Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:53 pm

sawhorse wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:47 pm
MathWizard wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:31 pm
Were you visiting them, or just staying there and visiting old friends.
My sons do this, though they are younger than you would be.
If they are coming to see me, I'm at home, because I would like to see them, not
the inside of a casino that I can go to anytime.

When I have houseguests, I don't go off somewhere without them unless I have something
like a Dr.'s visit.

Is this a change in your father's behavior?
I was visiting them and my sister who lives close to them. Due to my medical problems it's hard for me to travel, so I don't visit them often. He had already booked the free casino visit before he knew I was visiting, or so he said. I was supposed to visit a few weeks earlier, but my mom got sick and didn't want me to catch it.
ResearchMed wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:42 pm
How close geographically do you live?
5-6 hour drive
Hmmmm... Despite what I wrote above... a bell just went off...

A "free casino visit"?

Unless he's going to some ultra high end black tie type of place, what's this about "free"?
The casino gets their money from enccouraging regular folks to gamble, not from "entry fees", as least last I ever noticed (which is not recent, so did things change?).

This sounds off, which might be worrisome.

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

sawhorse
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by sawhorse » Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:02 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:53 pm
Hmmmm... Despite what I wrote above... a bell just went off...

A "free casino visit"?

Unless he's going to some ultra high end black tie type of place, what's this about "free"?
The casino gets their money from enccouraging regular folks to gamble, not from "entry fees", as least last I ever noticed (which is not recent, so did things change?).

This sounds off, which might be worrisome.

RM
Sorry for not being clear. They gave him a free room and meals and maybe something else free, presumably to get him through the door so he would lose money to them.

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DanMahowny
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by DanMahowny » Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:11 pm

Doom&Gloom wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:05 pm
Son???

If I ever see you contributing to Eliot Jacobson's bottom line your inheritance is in real jeopardy! Nothing wrong with getting that book from the library though. Now get back to your schoolwork!
Funny stuff man.

I know Jacobson. And he hates me more than I hate him.
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Doom&Gloom
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:28 pm

DanMahowny wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:11 pm
Doom&Gloom wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:05 pm
Son???

If I ever see you contributing to Eliot Jacobson's bottom line your inheritance is in real jeopardy! Nothing wrong with getting that book from the library though. Now get back to your schoolwork!
Funny stuff man.

I know Jacobson. And he hates me more than I hate him.
Then I like you!

I've met him and played at a table with him. Despised him ever since--and that was before he went to the dark side.

delamer
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by delamer » Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:52 pm

sawhorse wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:02 pm
ResearchMed wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:53 pm
Hmmmm... Despite what I wrote above... a bell just went off...

A "free casino visit"?

Unless he's going to some ultra high end black tie type of place, what's this about "free"?
The casino gets their money from enccouraging regular folks to gamble, not from "entry fees", as least last I ever noticed (which is not recent, so did things change?).

This sounds off, which might be worrisome.

RM
Sorry for not being clear. They gave him a free room and meals and maybe something else free, presumably to get him through the door so he would lose money to them.
This is a significant new detail. Clearly, he isn’t just gambling $100/week if he is getting free room and board.

What does your sister have to say about it?

sawhorse
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by sawhorse » Sun Sep 09, 2018 5:01 pm

delamer wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:52 pm
sawhorse wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:02 pm
ResearchMed wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:53 pm
Hmmmm... Despite what I wrote above... a bell just went off...

A "free casino visit"?

Unless he's going to some ultra high end black tie type of place, what's this about "free"?
The casino gets their money from enccouraging regular folks to gamble, not from "entry fees", as least last I ever noticed (which is not recent, so did things change?).

This sounds off, which might be worrisome.

RM
Sorry for not being clear. They gave him a free room and meals and maybe something else free, presumably to get him through the door so he would lose money to them.
This is a significant new detail. Clearly, he isn’t just gambling $100/week if he is getting free room and board.

What does your sister have to say about it?
She laughed when I brought it up.

Fallible
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by Fallible » Sun Sep 09, 2018 5:13 pm

I agree with those here who feel you do not have enough information to diagnose addiction, but it is good that you are following up on your concerns as best you can. This from Harvard Medical School, "When Gambling Might Be A Problem," may help', and there also is Gamblers Anonymous.

"Do you have a gambling problem?

To see if you might be struggling with a gambling disorder, try this quick three item screen:

-During the past 12 months, have you become restless, irritable, or anxious when trying to stop and/or cut down on gambling?
-During the past 12 months, have you tried to keep your family or friends from knowing how much you gambled?
-During the past 12 months, did you have such financial trouble as a result of gambling that you had to get help with living expenses from family, friends, or welfare?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should evaluate your gambling and how it fits into your life. There are many resources to help, and my colleagues and I have published an easily accessible book that can help you to evaluate your gambling and decide whether you might be a candidate for treatment. Some people need treatment to recover from addiction, while others recover on their own with no help from anyone."
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/whe ... 8020113202
Last edited by Fallible on Sun Sep 09, 2018 5:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Doom&Gloom
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sun Sep 09, 2018 5:17 pm

sawhorse wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 5:01 pm
delamer wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:52 pm
sawhorse wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:02 pm
ResearchMed wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:53 pm
Hmmmm... Despite what I wrote above... a bell just went off...

A "free casino visit"?

Unless he's going to some ultra high end black tie type of place, what's this about "free"?
The casino gets their money from enccouraging regular folks to gamble, not from "entry fees", as least last I ever noticed (which is not recent, so did things change?).

This sounds off, which might be worrisome.

RM
Sorry for not being clear. They gave him a free room and meals and maybe something else free, presumably to get him through the door so he would lose money to them.
This is a significant new detail. Clearly, he isn’t just gambling $100/week if he is getting free room and board.

What does your sister have to say about it?
She laughed when I brought it up.
So your sister thinks it is funny, your mother does not seem concerned at all, but yet you felt the need to "confront" your father about it (a couple of times IIRC from upthread)?

@ Delamer,

Not every casino is the Bellagio. Smaller casinos out in the boonies can send offers for rooms and meals for much less action than casinos on the LV Strip. Those offers are usually based on "amount wagered (over time)" rather than "amount lost."

BusterMcTaco
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by BusterMcTaco » Sun Sep 09, 2018 5:28 pm

delamer wrote: This is a significant new detail. Clearly, he isn’t just gambling $100/week if he is getting free room and board.
Not necessarily. I've received generous offers and barely set foot in casinos.

JackoC
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by JackoC » Sun Sep 09, 2018 5:29 pm

delamer wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:52 pm
sawhorse wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:02 pm
Sorry for not being clear. They gave him a free room and meals and maybe something else free, presumably to get him through the door so he would lose money to them.
This is a significant new detail. Clearly, he isn’t just gambling $100/week if he is getting free room and board.
Yes, means it's not a totally insignificant amount. But as per usual, people posting anonymously but still wanting to keep personal details out, we have no idea what nest egg the dad was frugal for years to build up. If it's big enough, getting comped the occasional room at a non-high end casino isn't necessarily a huge deal either if it's not a downward spiral to total addiction.

Personally I'm a little paranoid about addiction in my family probably because I dealt with parental substance abuse as a kid. I'm a little nervous when my grown kids have done any casino gambling, I've never done any. I don't think they have a problem, but I'd rather they stay away from it. Some people are more sensitive about this than others.

I take the points above about certain casino situations being different (poker and in very limited cases other games where the casino doesn't require all customers to be patsies eventually). But for the great majority of people at casino's it's a way to *spend* money, and with a potential slippery slope to a bad place that doesn't apply to most other hobbies where you spend money.

InMyDreams
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by InMyDreams » Sun Sep 09, 2018 5:39 pm

DanMahowny wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:07 pm
If he's mentally sharp, he should learn how to WIN. It's not that hard to have an edge over casinos. You need some specialized knowledge and lots of discipline.
I took statistics from a professor who was rumored to be banned from playing blackjack at LV casinos (card counting). I learned a lot about gambling that quarter. He also taught Gambler's Ruin. He would not have agreed with your opinion. Probably this one:
"The result above is a corollary of a general theorem by Christiaan Huygens which is also known as gambler's ruin. That theorem shows how to compute the probability of each player winning a series of bets that continues until one's entire initial stake is lost, given the initial stakes of the two players and the constant probability of winning. This is the oldest mathematical idea that goes by the name gambler's ruin, but not the first idea to which the name was applied."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambler's_ruin


OP, I wonder if the link to Gambler's Anonymous might offer you something - the link to Gam-Anon. Unfortunately, family members don't get to make choices for the addicted. Gam-Anon may help you with recognizing what's going on, and how to deal with your own feelings.
http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/con ... ly-friends

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bottlecap
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by bottlecap » Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:23 pm

essbeer wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:19 pm
The troubling part to me is that, after a year away, you came to visit for 4 days and your father left for half of that to be at a casino. I kind of feel like whether or not he was gambling responsibly is beside the point, he chose visiting the casino (a place he could visit any day) over a rare opportunity to be with his family.
This is what crossed my mind. There is nothing wrong with going to a casino for entertainment. But to choose that over your son or daughter visiting is strange.

Did you confront him about it before or after it happened? That’s a good way to tell. If you told him you came all that way to visit him, not people at a casino, and he still left to go to the casino without you, that is troubling. Maybe could be a gambling problem, could be a relationship problem.

If you only confronted him at the end of you stay, why? That's strange, too.

If he does have a problem, there are no easy answers. I would contact gambling addiction help groups.

Good luck,

JT

J295
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by J295 » Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:26 pm

You confronted. He denied. You talked to your mom. She denied.

I see these as your options:
1. Do nothing. Your parents are both adults and you have had dialogue about your concerns
2. Continue to confront him and your mother, push the idea that he has a gambling problem, suggest he see a professional, etc. thereby likely irritating them and creating more friction
3. File a court action to have a guardian appointed. Presumably, that would have a little chance of success and really irritate both of your parents and create substantial friction. This, of course, does not seem like a realistic option

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Stinky
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by Stinky » Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:45 pm

J295 wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:26 pm
You confronted. He denied. You talked to your mom. She denied.

I see these as your options:
1. Do nothing. Your parents are both adults and you have had dialogue about your concerns
2. Continue to confront him and your mother, push the idea that he has a gambling problem, suggest he see a professional, etc. thereby likely irritating them and creating more friction
3. File a court action to have a guardian appointed. Presumably, that would have a little chance of success and really irritate both of your parents and create substantial friction. This, of course, does not seem like a realistic option
There is a fourth option. Wait six months, go back and visit again, observe the situation and see if it's gotten worse / better, take action accordingly.
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Golf maniac
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Re: I think my father has a gambling problem

Post by Golf maniac » Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:50 pm

OP, you need to go with him to the casino for a few days and really see if it is a problem. If he has a problem you will know it. Right now you have no idea if he is spending a lot or a little when he goes. I spend about $100 a week on golf and if my kids told me they think I have a problem I would tell them where to go. He is bored and this is an activity where he can go and see familiar faces and spend some time. It is probably no big deal if it is something he is doing to keep active. But you will never know unless you go with him. Act excited about spending a few days with him, who knows maybe he is pretty good at poker and winning or minimal losses.

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