Based on recent statistics, Americans spend more money—roughly $500 billion a year—on legal gambling than they spend on groceries. But what's even more shocking are the results of a recent survey by Yankelovich Partners and the Home Testing Institute: An alarming number of those gambling—55 percent—are women. Seduced by the allure of luxury casinos, the rush of winning "easy money," or the convenience of state-run lotteries, increasing numbers of women are getting hooked. The following recounts one woman's struggle with gambling—and the impact it made on her life. &151; The Editors
I pushed the last of my red chips toward the dealer and tried to smile. But as he slowly turned over the cards, I knew I'd lost the last of the ten thousand dollars I'd borrowed in desperation.
"Better luck next time!" the dealer shouted, trying to cheer me up. I quickly turned so he wouldn't see the tears streaming down my face. I was thirty thousand dollars in debt, my twenty-year marriage was nearly destroyed, and my four children no longer trusted me. I'd hit rock bottom.
The casino's neon lights shined brightly in the midnight sky as I left to get into my car. I turned back for one final look at a building that represented what had become my obsession during the past three years. I finally realized what I'd become—a compulsive gambler. Three years ago, my faith and my family had been the most important things in my life. An elected city council member, successful owner of a hairstyling business, and activist who organized youth groups and volunteered at the local schools, I was well known for my boldness in proclaiming Christ. But I'd abandoned God's input in my life and pushed my husband and children aside so I could indulge in my addiction.1