NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
N G I S C Chicago Meeting, May 20, 1998
MR. JOHN GABCIK
CHAIRMAN JAMES: John Gabcik.
MR. GABCIK: Thank you. I'm the father of a 34 year old compulsive gambler. Let me tell you a bit about my son.
He graduated from a respected university here in the Midwest in May of 1995 with a 3.5 grade point average. My son was never an angel, but he had no trouble with the law, no trouble with substance abuse. It took him 15 months after he graduated, but he found the career job that he had dreamed of for years and years; he got it. The only problem was that in the meantime he had had some menial jobs that were no challenge to him and he became bored and as a result of this he started to spend time at riverboat casinos.
In the past two years since he started gambling, our son has gone through many jobs. He was fired from his dream job simply because he kept showing up late for work. He could not tear himself away from the binges he took at the casinos overnight and on weekends. Once he had exhausted all means of available credit to gamble, he began to write bad checks to fuel his addiction. This led to attention from various law enforcement officials, even the FBI.
His debts and obligations add up to many years of income at the scale of pay he now earns and he was jailed early last year for bad checks and is currently hoping to stay out of prison. He is left with few friends and has borrowed money from everyone he knows and gambled it away. He spent the first three months of this year living in a homeless shelter.
We love our son very much but we can no longer allow him to live with us, as our support only makes it easier for him to gamble. It is ironic to my wife and I that gambling is used to fund education. Although our children did not attend public schools, we have always supported the local education referendums. We and our son have paid for every cent of his non-public education. We are proud of our accomplishments and our sacrifice. No one ever had to win, lose, place a bet so that our son could go to school and graduate and become a man. Whatever good has been done by gambling money passing through our son's hands has been gravely offset by the damage to him, to our entire family and to society for the loss of what he now may never be.
Thank you for listening.
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Thank you.