NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Thank you.
Dominick. This is our first presenter who's asked to testify with a degree of anonymity, and I would like to remind the press and ask their indulgence with no pictures at this time.
DOMINICK: My name is Dominick M.
I'm a very grateful compulsive gambler. I just want to get one thing straight here. I'm strictly a union man and always was a union man. I'm not against gambling. I just can't gamble.
I'm one of 16 children, and my parents couldn't even read or write, and they raised a family that was second to none. I was the second one in combat in this country, and I see how my parent used to struggle. Four of us slept in the bed, a small room. Used to make a cake. Must have weighed about 20 pounds, but we ate it.
And I said at 35 years old I was going to retire, and I was always brought up to respect and respect others, taught to be a good son, a good father, and a good husband, and because of my gambling I lost all this hair.
I (inaudible) my house six, seven times. (Inaudible.) But for the grace of God, I could have been in jail or prison today. I used to rob my kids' piggy banks.
My oldest son was born with one of his intestines on the outside. You know where I was? I was a poker game.
I'm not against gambling, but I'm only speaking for myself, what gambling did to me, and I still think that there's a lot of denial in this here room, that we think we can get everything through gambling, but for the grace of God, I had to join the Army because of my gambling.
I was always running away, never honest with my wife, went to church and prayed for winners, and I got winners. I used to curse God until I came to Gamblers Anonymous over 31 years ago and realized I wasn't the only guy with this sickness. There was help if I wanted to get help. If I wanted to be a good son and a good father and the good human being I wanted to be, it was in a GA room.
I have a wonderful wife and three children who I neglected because gambling became my first love, and when I joined Gamblers Anonymous, I thought I was the only guy who was doing these things, hiding money in the shoes, in the beans. My wife needed money. I was always broker because that was my gambling money.
It's sickening. My brothers and sisters to my wife, I was no good, threw me out of the house. My father-in-law hated my guts because of what I did to my wife and his grandchildren.
That's what gambling did to me. You know, I'm not against gambling, but I just can't gamble. I go on speaking engagements in the high schools, and that's our future generation? I hate to see another 20 years what our country's going to be if we don't help these kids with their gambling because it is getting out of hand.
I am so grateful that I am a compulsive gambler because when I was gambling I'd robbed their Goddamn eyes out, but today to reach out and help somebody, it's the greatest pleasure in the world.
We started a group in Toms River three, three and a half years ago, just three couples. Do you know how many are in now? Thirty-five to 40 members. That's on a Thursday and a Saturday. So it makes us feel good that we're doing something.
I'm not being criticized or getting into any controversy with this Committee, but if nobody ever attended a GA meeting up there, how can you really understand the pain and the suffering that we go through? It is impossible.
But I would like to see maybe at the meeting that we can hold a meeting for one hours so that I can really tell you the pain and suffering that I really went through.
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Dominick.
DOMINICK M.: Thank you for listening.
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Thank you very much for being here.