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Casino gambling addiction

Posted August. 26, 2011 04:16,   


Kim Sam-bo, a resident of Cheorwon, Gangwon Province, is so addicted to gambling that he stays at home for just a couple of days a month. He lives with a good-looking woman 10 years his junior while gambling in the provinces of Gangwon, Hwanghae and Pyongan. He reportedly took his girlfriend from her husband by winning a game. This is from the short story “‘Mulberry” by Nah Do-hyang published in 1925. The countess appearing in Tchaikovsky`s opera “The Queen of Spades,” set in St. Petersburg, Russia in the late 18th century, is also a gambling addict.

Casino gambling addicts are everywhere. Many people have gambled away all of their life savings and fortunes. The prices of used cars selling in an American city renowned for casinos are the lowest in the country because of a glut of them put on the market by gamblers to raise funds to feed their habit. Quite a few Korean students in the U.S. are working at restaurants to earn tuition after having gambled away tens of thousands of dollars overnight.

The results of a probe released by the Board of Audit and Inspection Wednesday are shocking. Among 52,317 people who visited casinos in Gangwon Land, which was built in abandoned mines in Jeongseon, Gangwon Province, more than 13 times a year, 1,307 received government subsidies for their livelihood. Among them, 578 visited casinos as few as 13 times and as many as 1,277 times after becoming beneficiaries of subsidies. One of them lost 600 million won (553,000 U.S. dollars) over three years. If one loses around 1 million won (922 dollars) in gambling, quitting gambling is easy, but the larger loss, the more difficult kicking the habit is to do.

All types of addictions, whether gambling, drugs or alcohol, stem from the lack of ability to control one`s urges. When gambling, the hormone dopamine is secreted. If an addict stops gambling, he or she experiences withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and hand trembling due to decreased secretion of dopamine, according to psychiatrists. Gambling hurts not only gamblers but also those around them. Gambling addition is not a bad habit but a mental disease.

Editorial Writer Ha Tae-won (triplets@donga.com)