a) Declare bankruptcy
b) Stop going to the casino
c) Keep gambling until you hit the jackpot
d) Sue the casino owners
This man answered d).
In three years, Paul Burrell gambled away nearly $500,000 of his life-savings at Casino Nova Scotia.
Yet the former Cape Breton coal miner says he was never once approached by staff at the casino in Sydney, N.S., even though provincial law requires them to bar problem gamblers from the premises.
Day after day, week after week, between January 2000 and February 2003, he sat in front of the slot machines at the casino, where the staff let him keep on playing and losing, even though it was clear he was addicted.
He later lodged a complaint with the Nova Scotia Alcohol and Gaming Authority, the agency that enforces the casino regulations, but it was dismissed.
Burrell's banking machine receipts show he gambled away a $200,000 worker's compensation settlement, family savings of $80,000 and roughly $200,000 from his remortgaged house and personal loans.
It's much easier for a bartender to spot a drunk and cut him off than it is for a croupier to figure out who's gambling away his life savings and refuse his bets. The bartender knows what a drunk driver can do. The croupier doesn't know whether 20 grand is a high roller's pocket change or his daughter's college fund.
Casino operators do not have a social conscience and no one should expect otherwise from the sharks who run them. The business is all about taking big risks for the big payoff; it's up to the gambler to look at his own bank balance and personal responsibilities to decide whether he should take them.