Big Vegas Deal

People will be able to lose their lives,their financial and emotionaland physical lives, while looking at an app.NARRATOR: Jerry Bauerkemperruns a 24-hour gamblers’ hotline.BAUERKEMPER: We have people that answer the phone,in the offices, and then we have people in the eveningthat are doing it out of their home.We have multiple lines, and so you’renot gonna get a busy signal.In fact, I got the 2am call last night.And then we will immediately callconnect them with a counselor.And so, they will get someone who knows about gambling,who works with gamblers, absolutely that minute.ELIZABETH: I had a moment of crisis.I was thinking of committing suicidebecause I had ran out of money to pay rent.I had no money to pay my credit cards, my cell phone bill.I had written bad checks.So I felt hopeless, totally hopeless.I’m pulling my hair out becauseI just wanted to kill myself.I just had this awful feeling that I had to do it,and I had two ways to do it even,two ways that I was thinking of doing it.And then I decided to call the 1-800-BETSOFF.And they took me to the hospitalwhere I stayed for five days.(vehicle driving past hospital)NARRATOR: Elizabeth is an actuaryfor a major Nebraska insurance firm.

Her job is to mathematically measure and manage risk.ELIZABETH: Roughly 19 years that I’ve lived in Lincoln,probably didn’t go to the casinos at all,didn’t even know they existed out there.Kind of pretended like, big deal, I’d rather go to Vegas.NARRATOR: Total Rewards is the nation’smost popular casino and entertainment loyalty program.ELIZABETH: Got lured in with the coupons that they used to give you.You’d have to show up with them,and they would give you cashor tickets to put in the machines.And the amount of times that we went started to increase.The amounts that I started gambling withincreased from pennies, nickels, to quarters,to dollars, to five dollars, to $25 slot machines.(gentle, quiet music)A constant march to the casino,and I would go and play on this website in the middle of the nightafter everybody was asleep.I pretty much started dipping into my 401K at age 59 1/2.I’ll be 63 next month.So I’ve had a couple of years whereI’ve been able to drain that account,which probably had close to $500,000, if not more, in it.I also drained an annuity and an IRA.So probably close to $750,000, if not more.I was playing thousands of dollars,maxing out on my credit cards.

And if I won, I would put the moneyback in that week, and then go backto the casino the following week,and withdraw that same $2,000,or whatever cash allowance that I had,and put that back in the machine.Sometimes I would be able to pay it off,and sometimes I would not be able to pay it off.I am a Seven Star player.I got all of the VIP treatments,gifts, and things of that nature.I would get coupons for three nightsfree at one of the hotels.Then there would also be nights whereyou would win extra tier points,which can translate to cash later on.NARRATOR: With counseling, Elizabeth requestedself-exclusion from Iowa casinos.This lifetime ban is irrevocable,yet it does not include Iowa’s tribal casinos.ELIZABETH: Well, I first blame myself for being so stupid.Secondly I do blame the governmentfor making it a legal entity,which at this point in time in the historyof gambling is impossible to burn down.