Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ring of Fire

Somehow, maybe not, we are related. Distantly, if so. I don't know her name. We just seem to show up at all the same wakes.

This time she's got a baby with her. He's very well behaved, with a full head of hair and a sweet smile.

"He's got your eyes," I tell her.

"No." She replies a little bit too firmly, "He's got his father's eyes."

I look around for the boy's father but he must be in the other room with the throng of relatives. We chat some more about nothing, just passing the time until we can leave. And that's when she mentions that she's a single mom.

Something connects, and I look closer at the little boy.

Ten or so minutes go by, and my sister and mother and I have made it across the room to a quiet corner, and that's when I whisper to my mother what I've wanted to ask, "Is she the one? The one you told me about with the husband who..." She nods before I can finish the sentence.

It was a summer afternoon and we were sitting on the screen porch when talk got around, as it usually did, to casinos. "Those places are no good," my mother said. And then she told me a story.

It was the story of someone she knew - a grand-niece or a daughter of a friend, something like that - someone who wanted very much to have a baby. She and her husband had tried for years to get pregnant, finally, but successfully attempting IVF. The proceedure had been expensive. They got behind financially. Way behind. The woman, now pregnant gave her husband the cash to pay some bills one morning. But while she was at work, he drove to the Twin Rivers casino in Rhode Island, thinking he could take that bill money and turn it into more bill money - and lost it all. When he returned home, he realized he couldn't pay the bills or face his wife, and killed himself. He was laid to rest in a Middleboro cemetery. His baby boy was born several months later.

"Those places are no good," my mother repeated.

It had been a year since I'd heard that story. Sometimes I wondered if it were even real. But when I got tired, or discouraged, I'd remember it. I'd think about that little boy whose face I'd never seen, whose name I didn't know, and I knew I had to keep going. Because I'm never going see the face, or know the name of every child left without a parent, or neglected by one, or abused by one, if casino gambling comes to Massachusetts.

But they'll be there. And they'll be in other towns, further north and east and west, places where, right now, it takes too long for most people to drive to a casino.

How many times have I heard it, "we already have gambling addiction here..."?

I wonder if they said that when they built the first casino outside of Las Vegas. "We already have the problems, we might as well get the revenue." That's what they probably said. And then someone looked over at that casino and said the same thing. And so another casino got built. And now, when people say that there's already gambling addiction where they live, it's because of that last casino that went up. The one not terribly far to drive to.

Had there been no Twin Rivers, that baby's father might have driven to Foxwoods to find a reason to end his life. But he might not have. But if Twin Rivers and Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun weren't there, he'd be alive right now. He wouldn't have an excuse to lose the bill money, to feel like he'd failed his family. He'd be here showing off his beautiful baby boy to all the relatives.

"All that money's just going across the border," they tell us.

I look across the room at the baby and I think, let it go...

I am reminded of the map, the one with the circles showing the 50 mile radius of the people who'll be the most negatively impacted by a casino. A ring of fire.

I fell in to a burning ring of fire
I went down,down,down
and the flames went higher.

I recall someone ridiculing that map once - pointing out that Middleboro is less than 50 miles from Twin Rivers - and insisting that it had no impact.

Not for him.

His son still has a dad to teach him how to tie his shoes, and ride a bike, and throw a baseball.

"It's all about choice," they like to say. "It's my choice, if I want to gamble my money or not."

But where's that baby's choice? I think his choice would be to grow up with a dad.

I think his choice would be to grow up in a world that didn't make it so easy for his Dad to lose hope. That didn't use people's weaknesses to balance budget shortfalls. But he doesn't get a vote.

If a casino goes up in Middleboro, or slots in Plainville, who'll be next? The seemingly endless procession of casinos and slot machines, followed by addiction and broken lives, marches on, finds virgin territory, and leaves it's mark. Another 50 mile circumference on a map. Another ring of fire.

My Aunt Ginny comes over to say hello, and says she can't believe it's really me. I only recognize her from old pictures, but according to family lore, she was the one who took care of me when I was very young and my mother had to work.

Aunt Ginny, whose gravity-defying hair would make any iconic country western singer proud, left Massachusetts for Oklahoma back in the 70's. I have no memory of her, but love her instantly. She is very funny and cheerful and I'm grateful to have her sitting with us, taking our minds off the wake and the baby and casinos.

While we're talking, a woman stops by and says hello to my mother, who introduces us. A flash of recognition, and an eyebrow lifted superciliously.

"So," she says, "You're the daughter who's against the casino."

She says this as if she were actually saying, "So, you're the daughter who recently escaped from a mental institution."

They always manage to find me, apparently even at a wake.

Aunt Ginny laughs. "What's the matter with casinos? I love the casino! I've got one right down the end of my street. I've won big a few times there, too."

My mother leans in and whispers in my ear, "Ask her how much she's lost..."

But there's no need. Aunt Ginny is obviously a woman of modest means.

I get up to take my leave. I had a board meeting to attend in Lakeville that evening. Probably another shouting match. I'm tired, I'd rather go home, or out to a restaurant with my mother and sister and Aunt Ginny.

Instead we gather in the hall for hugs and goodbyes. We all agree that wouldn't it be nicer to get together somewhere besides funerals and wakes.

Across the street, in the quiet sanctuary of my car, I decompress. I let the wake and the family and all of it wash over me, flow away. All that's left is the little boy, who's real now. A little boy with a sweet smile, a full head of hair and his father's eyes.

If only his father could see them.


Anonymous said...

Bravo, again!
I've seen that sadness in Seniors who are being targeted by appearingly harmless bus trips to Foxwoods.
Rep. "Slots" based his argument on preserving Carney's business, kinda like a state bailout at the expense of seniors.
There is something morally wrong about funding a budget shortfall without making the necessary cuts by using a parasitic industry.

Nocasino said...


Thank you for your continued fight against this disease they call a "revenue source".

I am not naive, I can understand the politicians in Washington and Boston who need money from casino interests and unions to finance their next campaign and even local Reps who are interested in getting re-elected and don't have the courage to do what is right and risk losing their positions when defeated by unions that want these casinos.

However, I cannot understand local politicians who are not paid, and who should only be interested in doing what is best for all our citizens, could continue to support this knowing what we know now.

Our local selectmen are donating their time to serve our community,for this they should be thanked, however, I do not believe that they have taken time to really investigate the human impacts of having this casino in our downtown area.

Now that the main cheerleader of this project has left the scene, I ask the remaining selectmen to really STUDY the project and do what is right.

Kill the deal!


Hal Brown said...

You are right, gambling spread like wildfire and should have stopped at the Las Vegas city limits. The "they" that built the first big Vegas casinos were mobsters after World War II and there was nobody to say "we already have the problem let's build more".

Gambling as a source of revenue should never have moved to Atlantic City, the feds should never have allowed reservation casinos, states shouldn't have started using lotteries to generate cash. I truly mean this. It all was wrong from the start because gambling preys on a risky human characteristics and in a small but significant percentage of cases leads to addiction. If a new drug had a 5% rate of serious side effects you bet it wouldn't make it to market unless the benefits were life saving.

Unfortunately all this is hindsight. I don't know of any behavioral scientists and economists who predicted that the shabby bingo parlors on those Indian reservations would develop into posh casinos. It was a done deal that casino gambling would become a major industry once the mobsters, and later legitimate big investors, saw the profit and smelled more.

Like those early casinos, I don't think anybody realized that the first state lotteries would become a billion dollar industry. The first one was started in New Hampshire in 1964, but the slot machine version of the lottery, the scratch card introduced around 1974, turned the lottery into a cash cow and made for numerous problem gamblers and gambling addicts.

Lot's of people following the casino controversy think that those who advocate for the Middleboro casino are either heartless or just turning a deaf ear to the potent siren song emanating from those electronic slot machines. I went to the casinos myself and even on a slow late afternoon saw how many people were transfixed by those fake spinning symbols and the electronic sounds of a win. It's an indication of the power of this kind of gambling and the smarts of the machine designers that they so successfully weened people away from machines that actually made noise because you set gears in motion by pulling a lever, and the sound of winning was real coins dropping into a cup.

I went to people watch and to learn. At the slots and gaming tables I saw a variety of people, some genuinely seeming to be having fun but many either alone or in their own somber world chasing the big win. I wrote about it a year ago. I said that I believe many of them are lonely and some may be staving off clinical depression through gambling in a setting astutely designed to create the illusion of fun, good times and happiness. A few people in the pro group criticized me and said it was different at night. However this is what I saw. You can read it all here: My visit to Mogehan Sun and Foxwoods.

As Gladys says it's a common pro argument to say that we already have gambling addiction here, this as preface to explaining that we might as well make some money off of it.

I never said that. What I said was that we already have gambling addiction and it is not being effectively addressed so let's use the opportunity of what I did think was an inevitable casino to fund state of the art and science (and I used that phrase) gambling education and treatment programs. I regret now that I didn't at least to try to exert some influence as the only psychotherapist on the pro side to get more money in the IGA for this purpose. The amount in the agreement is way too small, and the ongoing $20,000 a year isn't even indexed to the cost of living.

The only part of the IGA I'd like changed is to add the funding for a full-time resource gambling risk teacher to be shared by area schools, an ongoing public education program, and a half-time gambling addiction therapist probably based at the Middleboro Counseiing Center. I would also like to see a significant amount donated to gambling research to help design both the most effective treatment and public education. Considering the millions involved the cost for this would be a drop in the bucket.

Eventually once the dust has settled and we know what the casino landscape of Massachusetts will look like, those of us who want to help people deal with the temptation of casino gambling ought to find common ground.

Hal Brown

Gladys Kravitz said...

"It all was wrong from the start because gambling preys on a risky human characteristics and in a small but significant percentage of cases leads to addiction."

Then, perhaps, Mr. Brown, a step in the right direction would be not to describe oneself as a 'casino-friend"

Hal Brown said...

I am not a casino friend in the sense you mean. I don't like casinos. I don't like gambling. This should be clear from the second page that I wrote for the website as it's about compulsive gambling. I am a "friend" of the Mashpee casino planned for Middleboro, not of casinos.

I'm not a gambling addiction therapist. However, that doesn't mean I don't have an understanding of how and why gambling addiction develops. I have a grasp of the psychology of gambling addiction. I know how operant conditioning works in people.

I have written about this on the (admittedly) unclearly named site. In fact someone who stumbles on the site thinking it is (without the hyphen) might wonder why I try to explain the tricks of the gambling business used to separate customers from their money.

Gladys Kravitz said...

A hyphen, Hal?

To discriminate between the gambling interests who take fathers from their sons, and those who would point out the tricks of their trade?

I have a good friend named Les Bernal, the force behind Stop Predatory Gambling and Freedom Players, who puts his money where his mouth is on that.

There is a respected researcher, Natasha Schull, from MIT who has devoted herself to the true study of 'gaming machines'.

Myself and so many others have sacrificed much in two years trying to convince the victims of inevitably that a 'done deal' is only as 'done' as you let it be.

I've met so many fine people all across this country who've worked tirelessly, who've expended their every effort, who've suffered the blows, merely to raise slingshots against Goliaths, in order to differentiate between that oh so slippery slope of 'friend' or 'foe'.

And you offer a hypen?

Anonymous said...

It would seem to me that a recognition of the devastation of predatory gambling and the parasites that are casino investors and slot machine designers, would compel a wise person to wholeheartedly oppose casinos, especially one in their neighborhood.

How one, much less one with professional credentials, could dismiss the issue with a proclamation of the need for more money to treat gambling addicts is baffling.

Much like Mr. Brown's slippery rhetoric accusing casino opponents of racism (or elitism), his rhetorical defense of predatory gambling successfully creates a foggy haze leaving the reader baffled.

The fantasy of Five Star Restaurants seems to have dazzled him into stupification.

Mr. Brown, I might suggest that you wipe the glitter out of your eyes, examine the evidence and cease defending a blood sucking industry.

From the destruction I've witnessed up close and personal, most gambling addicts don't seek help before they implode, commit suicide, destroy their families or enter prison for embezzlement.

Anonymous said...

Let me simplify:

1. Let's enthusiastically support a casino that will create a large number of gambling addicts

2. Let's demand more funding to treat those addicts knowing that most gambling addicts fail to seek treatment

Studies, not funded by the gambling industry indicate that the addiction rate is higher than normally accepted. It seems to me I remember Mr. Brown defending a study funded by the industry that was conspicuously flawed.

Sometimes, the word charleton applies.

Blogger Shark said...

Mr. Brown said, "I am a 'friend' of the Mashpee casino planned for Middleboro, not of casinos."

What is the freaking difference? A casino is a casino. Maybe he is the real racist or just a liar. No equal opportunity for the white (or black, brown or yellow) man. Only the red man should have a casino? Please, we should all be on equal ground. No casino for anyone. With friends like him...


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a butt scratcher to me.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Brown's sympathies always seem to be misplaced.
When the tribal leadership, after meeting with the felon, Abramoff, referred to him as 'The Rabbi,' a nickname widely used, Mr. Brown was offended by the suggestion of possible anti-semitism.
The conduct of 'The Rabbi's' lobbying efforts betrayed his professed religious beliefs, much as Mr. Brown's professed compassion betrays his support for wealthy international investors to suck the lifeblood from those easily addicted to slot machines.
Gambling addiction will suck the lifeblood from families in our communities who live next door. Abuse, bankruptcies, crimes, imprisonment, suicides will all increase regardless of funding for treatment.
Children wandering the lobbies of casinos advertise the costs of the addiction as child neglect.
To me, no amount of denial by Mr. Brown will diminish my outrage at the willingness of some to overlook the destruction.

Gladys Kravitz said...

With this post, I've attempted to bottom-line any casino project.

Because the bottom line has nothing to do with money.

The bottom line in this debate is that there will always be people who become addicted to a form of what other people consider a source of entertainment.

Or who will seek opportunity or fun or diversion, only to find hopelessness. For some, gone will be their family, self-respect, employment, trust, and savings.

And their family, friends and employers are also there, waiting on the bottom line - waiting for others to dismiss this argument as irrelevant or irrational. Waiting for gambling interests to tell you this is all an issue of revenue.

"It's all about the deal," I recall a certain ex-selectman saying, time and time again.

"It's entertainment," asserted our Governor. "Let the games begin."

It's all about the money. Ching ching. Bling bling.

But it isn't. This isn't a about a game, or rights or entertainment. It's about a boy who father wasn't even there to see him born.

A boy who isn't going to be alone if Massachusetts opens the door to level 3 gambling.

They say you can't legislate morality. Which is why, I suppose, we find ourselves bailing out wall street and the mortgage lenders and clueless car manufacturers.

So maybe we should reconsider legislating morality. Or at least reconsidering using the lack of it to balance a budget.

And that's the bottom line.

Hal Brown said...


You wrote that wrote:

"It's entertainment," asserted our Governor. "Let the games begin."

It's all about the money. Ching ching. Bling bling.

But it isn't. This isn't a about a game, or rights or entertainment.

Gambling isn't just entertainment, it's risky entertainment. It's more risky than any other legal form of entertainment than drinking. It's far riskier than any sport you can name.

Patrick's statement "let the games begin" which according to the papers was said jokingly, no doubt referring to the gamesmanship involved in political wrangling. But bringing gambling to Massachusetts isn't a joke. If it's to be done at all it must be done with a clear appreciation for the risks involved. Gambling treatment and education experts must be involved in the legislative process to assure that enough funding is included in any casino bill to fund the best possible education, research and treatment programs. Massachusetts, a national leader in higher education and medicine must also lead the way in these areas if we are to bring legal gambling to the state.

Anonymous said...

How having the sense not to legalize Class III gaming to create a human laboratory of family and community devastation Mr. Brown advocates?

The part he continues to overlook is that casinos make money by focusing on those who can't leave the slot machines and play to extinction. It is only the slots they're interested in because only the slots are cash cows for international investors.

carverchick said...

Yes Hal,

Massachusetts is a leader in higher education and medicine, yet you seem to think that casinos are the way to higher education and medicine for gambling addiction and suicide. Real classy....then again, why am I not surprised by you yet again. I mean, seem to think that casino jobs are a good fit for high school graduates, women and people of color because a biased study told you so....

You really are unbelievable.


Funny how RI is now thinking about bailing out Twin Rivers -- TR needs to be saved because the State relies on slots revenue. Correct me if I am wrong here, but doesn't that seem just a bit convoluted? RI taxpayers paying for a casino so they can keep revenue their State relys on....eek!

I thank God every day that my son has a father who loves him and who doesn't gamble. My son also has his father's eyes.

...and it burns burn burns...that ring of fire, that ring of fire....

Nocasino said...

Holding signs in support of the Wampanoag Casino in public is a sign of support of gambling. Plain and simple.

Mr Brown seems to want it both ways. He wants to support his "friends" the Wampanoags while playing with the lives of his fellow citizens, yet he wants to act like a concerned therapist who knows gambling is bad. The two positions do not make sense to me. I guess the uneducated like me just do not understand this special world of psychobabble.

Anonymous said...

So I guess Mr. Brown enjoys the luxury of picking and choosing which casinos he's opposed to.
He states he's against casinos, just not the one the Tribe wants to build in Middleboro? What's up with that Hal? You're either against casinos or you're not. Get off the fence and make up your mind. As a psycho-therapist you're making me crazy! What are you doing, trying to drum up business? Why don't you have a website called "Gambling Addiction-Friends" if you're so concerned, instead of promoting a casino on your other website. Hal, I'm worried that we're seeing the "Two Faces of Hal". Physician heal thyself!

The best way to fight gambling addiction is plainly obvious. DON'T BUILD CASINOS!

The best way to fight gambling addiction in Massachusetts is plainly obvious. DON'T BUILD ANY CASINOS IN MIDDLEBORO, PALMER, BOSTON, ANYWHERE!

Come on Hal. Leave the dark side and come towards the light. You can do it. You know its right.

Anonymous said...

Your statements are extremely duplicitous and hyprocritical. The position of therapists, much like doctors, is expected to be to "do no harm".

Gladys Kravitz said...

Thank you Smoking Owl. It concerns me that there is always an attempt to 'mitigate' or create a perception of a grey area where casino opponents are made to feel that they can't realistically oppose casinos on the moral or ethical grounds that they are bad for society and destructive to a communities quality of life.

And that weakens our movement. Casino proponents understand this. Which is why they continually make jobs, revenue, mitigation etc. the focus of the argument.

So, what makes our movement strong, ironically, is NOT MOVING.

No casino. Not no how. Not no way.

Anonymous said...

Smoking Owl,

I couldn't agree with you more!

carverchick said...

Hal leave the dark side? Never....they have cookies.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Brown-

You just can't be against casinos but FOR this one casino. And you don't understand why people are questioning your motivations?

Anonymous said...

That must mean that Mr. Brown is a member of casinofreemass and is actively working to defeat other casinos in the state, right?

Mr. Brown has discredited himself repeatedly and does so as he continues to post. A Sovereign casino, exempt from local and state regulations and control poses a far greater threat than does a commercial entity IMO.

It's time to move on, ignore the distraction and discuss the issues.

carverchick said...

But anon 1:23....Hal has to support this one casino because it is an indian casino. To do otherwise would be racist.

Gambling addiction is only a problem at those other casinos....not at the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe's casino - they mitigated that, remember? What was the figure??? 20K a year for gambling addiction?

Yeah...that should be plenty.

Anonymous said...


As usual you're right on target!

We all know that Mr. Brown isn't a racist, but we also know that he participated in the "Klan" meetings and activities to discredit and defame casino opponents and destroy their businesses. He posted numerous times on a site that made outrageous, untrue personal attacks on opponents, and continues to do so. His single-minded devotion to the casino has allowed him to ignore all others.

I write this only because Gladys is widely read around the country and it's important that others be aware of the organized tactics employed by proponents to force gammbling into unwilling communities and ignore the devastation of gambling addiction and crime.

My reading of RICO indicates that Mr. Brown participated in a prosecutable conspiracy. Maybe the feds will pursue it.

Gladys Kravitz said...

Hal, sometimes it just doesn't pay to post, know what I mean?

Anyway, while we are having a good discussion here, I think there is something you should understand.

Many people in Middleboro believed and still believe a casino is inevitable. But the great majority did not attempt to help it along.

I believe the antics of the fervently pro-casino advocates like yourself hindered beneficial public discussion about addiction and other social problems.

They created a three-ring circus more concerned with squelching public input, discrediting anti-casino opponents, intimidating critics and deflecting what little conversation there was towards 'the deal'.

Perhaps if you'd been as pro-active in raising awareness back in the day, more residents would have opposed the IGA. And that would have made a casino A LOT LESS INEVITABLE.

Anonymous said...

Quite right, Gladys!
Although the devastation caused by gambling addiction is a relatively 'hidden' problem, one of the carefully concealed issues of concern to me is the DUIs.
When you examine the numbers in CT, they're staggering [pun intended]. The "Sovereign Nations" allow customers to depart who are incapable of driving after being plied with free booze to continue playing. What's it to them? So they kill an innocent family on the way home? The drunk drivers won't effect the wealthy international investors who are exempt from any liability. Such a deal!
Were they commercial ventures, their liquor license would be pulled or lawsuits would ensue, forcing compliance with reasonable limits.
Not so a "Sovereign Nation" over which NO ONE has any control.
For a state that originated MADD because of the carnage caused by drunk drivers, it's been ignored.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, Gladys.
Hal can't tolerate criticism so won't post again, but he'll post criticism and his circular reasoning elsewhere in response, not that you'll ever see it. That's passive aggressive, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

A very well-written post, Gladys. The predatory gambling trade makes 90% of their profits come from 10% of the players. [(Pg. 184)] These out-of-control gamblers are the profit center for the casinos. There are many well-intentioned people who advocate for casinos who know virtually nothing about the trade's business model. Because if they did, they would be working right alongside us in our movement to stop predatory gambling. - Les Bernal

Anonymous said...

Right now there are no casinos in Massachusetts. We already have gambling addicted residents here, due to other forms of gambling that are allowed. What is the State's current record on helping gambling addicts? How much does the State currently spend fighting that social ill?

WHY on earth would we want to allow Class III gaming that is only going to further burden the State. Oh sure, casino proponents say the State will get money to mitigate gambling addiction. But something seems askew.

We have an existing social problem, gambling addiction. So we encourage more gambling to gain more funds to fight gambling addiction???


Only in Massachusetts can we find that screwed up convoluted mind set.

Its like saying, I'm gonna buy a case of beer. Drink it as fast as I can all at once until its gone. Then I'm going to go buy another case so I won't be out of beer. Gee, if I just had some self control the first case wouldn't be gone, and I'd still have beer, AND the money I spent on the second case.

Let's show some self control and keep casinos out of Massachusetts.

We haven't even mentioned the funds the State currently spends on all the other problems associated with gambling addiction. Why intentionally add to problems we already have? I thought State funds spent on social problems were meant to try to wipe out those problems. Casino proponents want to instead ADD to those problems. To me it just sounds like bad fiscal management.

Oh, yeah I forgot one other thing.

Casinos will bring jobs. Well from latest reports the unemployment rate is growing so quickly, any jobs a casino creates will be dwarfed by the number of people who are unemployed. Last night on the national news they showed states with 8%, 9% and in RI's case 10% unemployment rates. Guess what, a lot of those states also allow casinos. Michigan was one of them. How is Herb Strather, et al going to create jobs in Massachusetts again?

I brought a single drop of water to a man dying of thirst in the desert. It didn't matter, he still died.

Hal Brown said...

My impression has been that pros and antis currently rarely read each other's websites unless they find out there was a personal attack or something else written they could use to promote their own side. Between July 2 and Aug. 15, 2007 Casino-Friend published numerous letters from casino opponents who were willing to sign their real names, six pages worth.

But once that give and take ended I doubt many read what I wrote or published about gambling addiction and the way casinos use methods based on psychology to get players to spend as much as possible.

Using the search this site function and search "addiction" (on the left column) you come up with this list of pages and links on Google

This takes you to a Google page, not to You can just review the 18 two line descriptions there to get an idea of what is on the site about gambling addiction. Some are things I wrote about various aspects of gambling and others are letters from antis usually with my responses, and some are links like this one to a three page Salon article (hardly sympathetic to gambling interests) to articles about gambling addiction.

Knowing that my website was really read almost exclusively by casino proponents, this is how I choose to present the range of pros and cons of casinos emphasizing addiction as the primary con. I was attempting to educate a group who might want to deny the dangers of casino gambling.

Anyone is welcome to excoriate me for this decision thinking that as a therapist nothing short of joining CFO was acceptable. I didn't do this because I supported the casino.

I think I was more effective being a voice of caution about gambling addiction because the pros listened to me and took what I had to say seriously. I even was on Adam Bond's radio show where I discussed problem gambling. Part 1 and part 2.

I said that gambling addiction levels may be worse than the people on the anti-gambling side say. I said that not nearly enough money was allocated for gambling addiction education, research and treatment. I talked about how scratch tickets and slots used human reactions to random reinforcement worked to keep players playing.

For those who doubt that I understand and appreciate the risks and dangers of gambling addiction I'd respectfully ask them at least to listen to what I said on Bond's show before they attack my character.

Judge for yourself how I responded to Bond's pro-Middleboro-casino questions with the truth about problem gambling and how a nearby casino can effect the rates.

After you listen I'd be interested in whether you still think I'm a stupefied charlatan making a rhetorical defense of predatory gambling creating a foggy haze leaving the listener baffled.

I could easily have gone on for another hour on the subject and gone into far greater depth on this subject. Although I can't call myself as an expert in this field because I have no special training or experience I am willing to speak on what I do know about the subject to any group, anytime and anyplace.

I'd be glad to respond to any posts from those who have listened to what I said on Bond's radio show and to specific things I wrote on Casino-Friend elsewhere on the web.

carverchick said...

Sorry Hal, but you are a stupefied charlatan making a rhetorical defense of predatory gambling. You don't create a foggy haze leaving the listener baffled, instead you blather on and on as to why casino revenues are needed to fund compulsive gambling programs in this State while at the same time saying you are not a fan of casinos. Making comments like "I think that the casino revenue outweighs the downside of the greater bad for a much smaller number ..." is what leaves many of us baffled.

You can't have it both ways - either you agree that casino gambling is good for Middleboro/the State or you don't...there is no gray area here yet you somehow manage to create your own shades of gray and then get upset when people call you out for what you say. And why the sudden turn against your good friend Adam Bond? Is it because he left the board, called them out on questionable behavior or is it just because his public opinion about renegotiations hurts the casino-friend movement? (notice I remembered that oh so important hyphen).

BTW - believe it or not, many of us do read your website and have listened to what you have said on Adam's radio show. Your biggest problem is you are trying to appease both sides and it just isn't working. We don't believe that casino revenue is needed to fund anything in this state and in fact know that casinos will wind up costing us while hurting people and families at the same time.

There is a reason why it's called predatory gambling. Maybe you are the one who needs to do some listening.

Please do not feel the need to respond to my opinion - I really don't think I could wade through yet another lengthy explanation as to why you support the Middleboro casino....honestly.

Gladys Kravitz said...

Mr. Brown, one question: If a casino had been presented to the town of Middleboro as just another building project that could would create jobs and revenue, much like a mall or an office park, and was NEVER made to seem inevitable, would you still have supported it?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Brown, I thought Politicians and Attorneys were the only ones that were practiced in the art of deception, (double speak) but now I can add LSW's ? However, I do believe, when alone, in your quiet time, you are torn by the fact that even you, were hood-winked by the "dealers of destruction". It is time to set yourself free. Nocasino !

Hal Brown said...


I won't repost my answer to you since I put it on bogofree where you posted an anonymous. Obviously nobody forces anybody to wade through what I write.

Gladys Kravitz said...
Mr. Brown, one question: If a casino had been presented to the town of Middleboro as just another building project that could would create jobs and revenue, much like a mall or an office park, and was NEVER made to seem inevitable, would you still have supported it?

Most likely.


I make every effort to speak and write clearly and truthfully. If anybody want to take the time in pointing out specifics where they think I have engaged in double-speak, I will do my best to honestly assess whether I was using "language that has no real meaning or has more than one meaning and is intended to hide the truth".

Anonymous said...

Mr. Brown, with all due respect, I would like to hear your ideas on mitigating the residual effects of gambling addiction.

Home foreclosure, child abuse/neglect, divorce, alcoholism, drug addiction, bankruptcy, prostitution, drug trafficking, embezzelment, drunk driving, the list goes on and on.

Remember, when Pandora opened that box, a whole host of evils emerged. Is that what you're proposing for the residents of the State of Massachusetts just so our piss poor BOS and State Legislature can balance a budget?

We don't need a casino, we need strong local leadership.
Anyone who claims to try to educate people about gambling addiction, then in the next breath advocates for a casino, in my mind has a screw loose. I've been called crazy by some, but Mr. Brown, you are the walking definition of a NUT!

Listen to yourself.

Gambling addiction is bad, but I support a casino in Middleboro??


I'm opposed to casinos, but not one in Middleboro???


Mr. Brown, what do you have to personally gain from a casino in Middleboro? I've never met you in person but from your wishy washy stance on casinos I get the impression you have no scruples. Something is amiss here.

Gladys Kravitz said...

Ok Mr. Brown, another question,

If an economic development project was suggested for Middleboro, say a chemical plant of some sort, and you were aware in advance that, in addition to jobs and revenue, the plant was absolutely going to make some people sick, and that a percentage of them were going to die, would you support this project?

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that Mr. Brown was the one who got suckered into a disagreement in the Town Hall hall with an Out Of Town Plant he was too foolish to recognize as such.
That was the man with white hair who had to inquire in the Town Hall parking lot if the building in front of him was Town Hall.
The white haired man made a comment about "Indian Lovers," Hal foolishly bit and believed the stranger was connected with CFO.
My understanding is that a CFO person calmed the situation, recognizing the "Plant."
Instead of recognizing that he was suckered, Mr. Brown foolishly went on to make a big deal of the matter, blame it erroneously on CFO.
And, yes, Hal, we read ALL of the blogs and save most. Your site isn't worth commenting on, besides, IP addresses are revealed.

Gladys Kravitz said...

As an aside, publishing the IP addresses of visitors to your site is an excellent way to lose traffic, discourage potential commentors and cultivate fear and mistrust.

Anonymous said...

Following Hal Brown's logic, we should:

1. legalize crack cocaine
2. legalize heroine
3. legalize prostitution

As long as we tax each heavily, create a revenue stream and provide whatever meager warnings will absolve our conscience, it's justified.

Hypocrit come to mind.

Anonymous said...

How can this man support and promote a business that ONLY makes it money on addiction?
He minimized the human toll whenever he had a chance.
Casinos and slot machines only thrive on addicts.
You and I might be one of those were it not for our understanding.
I know plenty of smart people who got addicted and fought it off before they lost everything.

There but for the Grace of God ....

Hal Brown said...

I suggest to Smoking Owl and others that the way to engage me in online dialogue isn't to call me a "nut" or other insulting names. That hardly undoes prefacing a question by writing a pro forma "with all due respect."

The fact that I see no indication that a single poster here respects me does not change my determination to make a case for opening a line of productive communication so if a casino does come we can work together on the one issue we agree on.

In any case I've already answered the question about mitigation of the problems listed related to gambling addiction. The Casino Study Committee answered the questions about an increase in the other problems listed.

As to Gladys Kravitz's challenging question, I am hard pressed to answer it without a sounding to some like I'm engaging in psychobabble or obfuscation.

Gambling addiction can be prevented through proactive education. We need ongoing study as to how to do this more effectively.

People suffering from all degrees of pathological gambling can go into life-long recovery (I don't like the term cure, this is more like alcoholism). Treatment is available but there needs to be more of it closer to casino locations.

I think we all should advocate to get more addiction money directly to Middleboro from the tribe - at least $120,000 a year for a therapist, resource teacher and other education - and $1 million for appropriate institutions to conduct research

Advances are being made in treatment and will continue to be made. There's even a drug used to cut cravings in alcoholics that was recently shown to help as an adjunct to traditional treatment in compulsive gamblers.

That's why this isn't the same as a chemical plant that causes an increase in disease and death due to physical illness as opposed to an impulse control disorder.

I would be against such a plant despite the jobs and revenue it would bring.

And by the way, I haven't been offered a casino deal, no directorship of a gambling clinic or job as a gambling therapist.

Gladys Kravitz said...

"Advances are being made in treatment and will continue to be made. There's even a drug used to cut cravings in alcoholics that was recently shown to help as an adjunct to traditional treatment in compulsive gamblers."

But that day's not here yet, Hal. Is it?

"That's why this isn't the same as a chemical plant that causes an increase in disease and death due to physical illness as opposed to an impulse control disorder."

But this impulse control disorder still causes injury and death. Why do you deem them less important? I'm curious as to why the baby in my story who will grow up not knowing his own dad - who killed himself thanks to the proximity of a casino - is less harmed, or perhaps less valued than a child whose dad dies as a result of chemical poisoning?

"Gambling addiction can be prevented through proactive education. We need ongoing study as to how to do this more effectively."

People have driver's education and still get into traffic accidents, Hal.

People can read the smoking warnings on a package of cigarettes, but they still smoke - until smoking becomes inconvenient enough to try to stop.

Honestly, can you really claim that harm caused by a casino is different from a chemical plant? Because the chemical plant isn't entertaining? Or because you just don't want to admit, after going to all the trouble with the web site and everything, that you could be wrong?

How about when you add increased crime? Foreclosures? Bankruptcies? Environmental devastation?

Some of your colleagues are blinded by narcissism, greed, ambition, ignorance and/or lack of empathy. I get that THEY are incapable of demonstrating good judgment. But a man of your vocation?

No. I don't. I really don't.

Anonymous said...

Will God save us from this man?

This quote was rather interesting:

"By the way, one of Bond's main backers, Tony Lawrence, is associated with, whose editor and publisher, Hal Brown, has compared casino opponents to the Ku Klux Klan. " (Media Nation)

So, when you can't find a valid supporting argument for Predatory Gambling that will only profit international investors, compare the opposition to the KKK?

carverchick said...

Hal, my me when I say I have never posted as anonymous on bogo's blog or anywhere else. I like you, stand by what I say and feel absolutely no need to hide behind anonymomitity. I am not sure what post you are talking about, but apparently it hit a nerve...good for them.

And for the record....being called a "nut" is a hell of a lot less offensive than being called a racist. But that is just my humble opinion....

Gladys Kravitz said...

And for the record, I don't actually read the other blogs or message boards.

Sometimes someone sends me a snippet that I may be concerned about or interested in, or am directed toward something by a colleague, but otherwise I just don't really see the point in hearing the viewpoints of people who lack empathy or are driven by their own ego, greed, ambition, ignorance or feeble mindedness.

Of course, I might have been, except for the contests, the Vegas Val, the blatant misrepresentation, the inane obsession with Clarke CT, the labeling of anti-casino activists as racists, liars, pedophiles, and terrorists, the publishing of my children's names, and then of course that epic discussion of my weight, attractiveness, age and bosoms. And I'm sure there's more I am forgetting. Thank goodness.

I mean, why would anyone go back to high school if they didn't have to?

Anonymous said...

Most of us have witnessed lives destroyed by gambling.
Since this became a "Middleboro" issue, I have had friends step forward and tell me how they "almost" became addicted. That's why they oppose a casino. They recognized it was an "Almost me."

One friend, who is a counselor, said she realized her life was revolving around the days when the whatever jackpot was being drawn.

I LOVE slot machines. I can see myself becoming addicted. I don't want them near me or in my town. I can see myself spending a few hours, winning a few small wins, running up the credit card and forgetting where I was, until hours passed, and I lost track of the tally. Man! You just love those lights, the images, the bells and whistles of the winner!

And those free drinks ???
Is there anyone who believes they're "FREE" ?

That's the way they're designed!

Most of us have the sense to recognize the potential. Most of us recognize that we are our brothers' keepers and we need to define a Predator in our midst.

Slot Machines are designed to keep you playing until you have NO MONEY --- PLAY TO EXTINCTION.

It seems we have a counselor in our midst who would like to carefully cloak the human tragedy in carefully worded rhetoric that is circuitous and nonsensical.

This is what he wrote -

Lives totally destroyed?

Quite an assumption there if you mean that otherwise perfectly healthy individuals with no predisposing mental or emotional impairments will have their lives, and hence their families, totally destroyed because of a casino in our midst.

Blogger Shark said...

Man sticks a sharp object into his mouth and gets cut. Man goes to the doctor. Doctor treats the man and says, "Don't stick sharp objects into your mouth." Man leaves satisfied with treatment.

Others hear of the man's experience of sticking sharp objects in his mouth. Some find it entertaining. They do the same and visit the doctor to be treated. Doctors tells them, "Don't stick sharp objects into your mouth."

Meanwhile sales of sharp objects rise. Manufaturers, seeing the profitablity, advertise sharp objects to stick into your mouth. Sharp object manufaturers build factories and create jobs.

More people find it entertaining and buy sharp objects and stick them in their mouths. Doctor visits increase. Doctor can't treat them all.

The state finds this facinating and sees the added revenue stream from the sales of sharp objects to be lucrative for increasing state revenues and creates jobs. Sharp object manufacturers donate time and money to state lawmaker's campaigns. Lobbying increases.

State sets up a commission to study sticking sharp objects into one's mouth. Sharp object manufactures supply research and economic impact data of promoting sharp objects. State realizes that someone could get cut by sticking sharp objects into one's mouth, but believes benefits of increased revenue out weighs the negative impacts. State commits to setting aside some funds to pay doctors who treat cuts in a person's mouth due to sharp objects. State promotes sticking sharp objects into one's mouth as a means of entertainment, job creation and for increased revenue.

The doctor accepts funding from state to treat people who stick sharp objects into one's mouth. Doctor expands his practice. Doctor sees more patients. Tells them, "Don't stick sharp objects into your mouth."

Most patients continue to stick sharp objects into their mouths.

Raymond Tolosko said...

Mr. Brown,

Sorry, I haven't been able to read any of your comments....I'm still blinded by the flash.

Anonymous said...

OMG! Blogger Shark, you took the ...ah ... sharp words right out of my mouth!

Brilliant analogy!

Anonymous said...

I am truly proud to know all of you and consider you my friends.

You have fought casino investors who sent paid "volunteers" into town to wave signs, create havoc, pretend to be CFOers and call people names.

Those who blind themselves to the greed and the penalties paid by those least able to afford it, ignoring the consequences of abuse, neglect, embezzlement, crimes and shattered lives should be condemned.

This counselor who keeps posting shouldn't be treating people because of his disregard of the human cost to enrich investors and conceal the failure of legislators to manage the state's coffers. Maybe eliminating some of the hacks and waste would go a long way to preventing this kind of prostitution of the soul.

Anonymous said...

This counselor who is tippy toeing around gambling addiction, casinos are bad except this one issue, I don't know, but found this quote irksome-

"I noted that many bankruptcies don't involve people becoming destitute. I don't know the statistic but the few people I know who declared bankruptcy did so to restructure their debt.

They kept their house and nice cars and in the instances I know of made out quite well."

I don't know how he can isolate himself from the gambling fallout except for blindness.
A dear friend, a senior citizen, "confused" her medication last year and took too much of one thing, not enough of another. When her adult children sorted her finances, she had credit card debt that took your breath away because of the totals, her other bills were behind, her real estate taxes were behind (and had been advertised)and a reverse mortgage used all of the value of her home. What should have been a comfortable retirement because of her deceased husband's planning was gone. Too ashamed to talk to her children, she "confused" her medication.
There was not a COA trip to the casino that she missed.

This woman was everything you'd want in an Adopt-a-Mom and I could never have asked for a greater friend.

She lied, concealed, deceived. Not one of us knew how bad her addiction was or how far in debt she was.

She wasn't lonely. She was surrounded by friends and a family devoted to her. She got hooked by machines designed to take every last dime she had.

She was too ashamed and embarassed to tell anyone.

I can't get my friend back, but I can oppose parasites and legislators who don't care. And I can condemn a self righteous counselor who denies my loss. The man should have his license revoked and thanks for the address.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Brown,

I will try to refrain from calling you a nut.

How is it that you are opposed to casinos but advocate for one in your own town?

How is it that you recognize the dangers of gambling addiction and propose solutions for it but you advocate for a casino in your own town?

That's like someone saying they're opposed to firearms then going out and buying an assault rifle.

Your logic, to me, seems illogical. Maybe I'm missing the point you're trying to make here but so far you don't seem to make any sense. You write about gambling addiction mitigation money and how we should get more of it from the Tribe.

My take on it is this. We wouldn't need more mitigation money to fight gambling addiction if we just didn't add to the number of gambling addicts by building a casino.

I don't have a fancy report with statistics, nor have I spoken to gambling addiction experts.

I'm just using common sense. If you want to eradicate a social problem, you DON'T promote more of it.

I was told the definition of crazy is doing something over and over expecting a different result. How many casinos have been built in this country? Can you cite one instance where it didn't result in increased crime and social problems? Thinking a casino in Middleboro is going to garner a different result is crazy.

My last question Mr. Brown, well actually its a two part question, but my question(s) are this.

Do you love Middleboro and plan to live here for the rest of your life, and if so, why do you want so badly to ruin it with a casino?

Hal Brown said...

I made the attempt to start to build a bridge and see if any of this group was interested in building a bridge so if we do get a casino those who want to work with the pros to mitigate the ravages of gambling addiction could work together.

Obviously I failed

I've already offered to meet with Gladys, and I would be willing to meet with all of you as a group to explain my positions and endeavor to further the above goal.

The answers to many of your questions are complex and I am not going to take the time to put them in writing If you insist on insulting me. Besides I'd rather you do it in person.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Brown writes:
"I think gambling is riskier percentage wise than all the other except the last which can not only take a big toll on a BOS member's mental and physical health but also drive some town residents to become 301.0's."

He's joking right? Well, I'm not so sure.

For anyone unfamiliar with what 301.o means, this is the DSM-IV's diagnostic number for "Paranoid Personality Disorder".

Mr. Brown is now publicly diagnosing people he has never met, never interviewed, and never treated as having a serious mental illness on an internet post. This is not the professional behavior and standards one would expect from a licensed mental healthcare provider. Totally unacceptable and possibly indicative that Mr. Brown is projecting his own dysfunctionality onto others. After all, Mr. Brown has certainly found occassion to display "distrust of others and to be suspicious of their motives."

The point here is that Hal Brown has no problem with labeling people he does not know with diagnostic jargon just because they don't agree with and challenge his opinions. That holds about as much value as if I were to conclude that he had "acute cerebral insufficiency" based on what he writes on a website. Labeling people who offend him with diagnostic numbers is just plain irresponsible behavior on the part of this psychotherapist.

I find it offensive that Mr. Brown uses an effective diagnostic tool, the DSM-IV, as a mockery of others.

Gladys Kravitz said...

Mr. Brown,

"I made the attempt to start to build a bridge and see if any of this group was interested in building a bridge so if we do get a casino those who want to work with the pros to mitigate the ravages of gambling addiction could work together."

I've heard you speak at the BIA hearing. I've read what you've written to me off-line and on. And I still fail to see how we can find common ground, when I disagree completely with your reasoning.

I think you and some others misunderstand - I am an anti-casino activist. I don't want casinos. I don't prepare for casinos. I don't renegotiate agreements for casinos.

What I do, is work to prevent casinos. Period.

And, if you'd worked alongside me, instead of making excuses, instead of attempting to lay the groundwork for a casino which will increase gambling addiction, instead of participating in ridiculous blogs and message boards, then you wouldn't need to be talking about bridge building with those who can't take you seriously.

I don't want to build a bridge to a casino. I want to burn any such bridge and stand on the other side with my fellow activists and a bic lighter in case you get any bright ideas about building another one.

From what I can tell, 'finding common ground' among you and your colleagues entails getting some of us to 'listen'. These people are then labeled 'reasonable', 'logical', 'willing to work together'. Those who stand firm in their convictions, however will be labeled 'unreasonable', 'emotional', 'unwilling to help their community'.

And the next thing you know, we are divided. No thanks.

You've had almost 2 years to make your case. Like Mr. Bond, and others, you can use the Internet to broadcast anything you need to say.

And therefore, I hardly see a need for you or any others to think you will be allowed to exploit my considerable anti-casino audience in an attempt to further your pro-casino agenda.

Anti-casino activism is about educating and inspiring people to prevent casinos so that we don't have to listen to any more stories like the one I've told here. I think of that baby on one side of this chasm and your excuses on the other. There is no compromise. There is no bridge.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Gladys! You mirror my sentiments to a T.

Mr. Brown,

The only logical option is to fight this casino, not mitigate it. If the casino does come to Middleborough, I will leave, as will many others.

We don't need a casino, we don't want a casino (article III) and, with a little luck, and a lot of perseverance, we won't have a casino.

Hal Brown said...

I apologize. I shouldn't have used a diagnosis in that way on bogofree's blog.

Carl said...

What I would like to see is all those who understand how bad casinos are yet continue to think that they are "inevitable", whether because of the political climate or think a federal system that encourages them, to wake up from your slumber and realize that nothing is inevitable (except death & taxes). If you think casinos or slots are not good for your town or state, gosh darn it, get on the phone, write a letter or e-mail and let the powers that be know you don't want them. Do nothing and it will in all likelihood be inevitable because of those who did nothing. I do not know if my or other's efforts will stop casinos and pedatory gambling from coming, but I am not going to let them just walk through my door not confronted. Win or lose, I won't back down.

Anonymous said...

This has to be about the silliest statement offered so far ---

I've already offered to meet with Gladys, and I would be willing to meet with all of you as a group to explain my positions and endeavor to further the above goal.

Mr. Brown attended Rep. Calter's appearance at the Mboro library, seated next to the phony fact finder. They made comments to one another during most of the Rep.'s comments, so it is questionable how Mr. Brown was able to discern most of what was said.

Mr. Brown subsequently wrote a blog entry in which he misquoted, misstated and misrepresented what the Rep. had said. It also should be noted that he took no notes.

Mr. Brown misinterpreted a joking comment, as is his want.

To meet with Mr. Brown, is, well, not only wasted time, but to provide the opportunity for Mr. Brown to fantasize conversations and comments that never existed.

Gladys was quite accurate in her comments.

There is no compromise. There is no bridge.

This is about informing and inspiring people to understand what Predatory Gambling is. This is about sucking the lifeblood out of a community on the pretext of a revenue source on the backs of those least able to afford it, just as the lottery does.

This is about rewarding wealthy investors who have no interest or commitment in the community at the expense of innocent lives shattered and escalating crime to feed the investors.

Mr. Brown: You have misused your credentials. You have heard nothing that anyone else has said. So much for your value as a counselor.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Mr. Brown but the time for discussion and bridge building was two years ago when you and your casino friends didn't want to listen to casino opponents.
If Marsha Brunelle didn't have such an itchy trigger finger with that gavel maybe both sides could have come to some sort of amicable agreement or disagreement.
Casino opponents have never been given an opportunity to voice their concerns throughout this whole debacle. Now you want to open up dialogue and build bridges. Sorry but that ship sailed two years ago.

It is interesting however that you now recognize the IGA is flawed. If you think there is not enough mitigation money to fight gambling addiction in the IGA, what makes you think the other dollar amounts in the IGA are correct?

Town ambulance service? It would create a deficit for the Town.
Gambling addiction mitigation? Not enough money in the IGA.
How many ways have your casino friends screwed us over with this IGA?

We could have discussed all these issues two years ago but you and all your fervent casino friends would not allow it.

If you think the IGA is flawed then there is a simple formula to get the town out from under it. If there is no casino then the dollar amounts in the IGA are irrelevant. That's the bridge WE'RE building Mr. Brown. The NO CASINO bridge to happiness, quality of life, and fiscal resposibility of our BOS.


carverchick said...

Hey Gladys,

My Bic says "NO CASINO" and I will proudly stand next to you on this side of the chasm making sure that casino brigde is never built.

Great comment - couldn't have said it better myself!



Anonymous said...

Mine says the same thing!
And I think I may have lost a few in town hall and other public places as well. I just always keep loosing my Bics!

No bridges = No Casinos

Anonymous said...

Hal, are you part of the crowd that promoted the message "It is coming anyway, so we should have something, or we will end up with nothing"? Well Bravo my man. It worked. However, it is all lies. The tribe has nothing to do with it other than the groovy 'sovereign land' status and the benefit it gains investors. Playing the race card will no longer work either. I remember Glenn Marshall played it at the Middle School that first meeting. Then someone from our town had the balls to say "I feel like I am talking to a used car salesman" and I’ll tell you it was not the board of selectman, not the unions, not the oak point nitwits, and not Hal Brown.

EliBeckerman said...

Thanks for re-posting this, and for all you're doing to try to stop this nonsense.

I just came across this eerily similar story today, with a different ending:

Records provide details on Reno woman’s death, via Casino Watch Focus

Soon after his wife called him a “coward” Wednesday for allowing his secret gambling problem to deplete their finances, a 55-year-old unemployed man gripped his hands tightly around her throat and squeezed until she turned blue and stopped breathing, court records released Friday show.Samuel P. Kung then went outside to smoke a cigarette. Det. Troy Callahan wrote in his affidavit that Kung had quit his job as a cook in April, and that Kung had been hiding his gambling problem from his wife. He estimated he was in debt about $20,000, and his wife recently discovered his secret. Kung said he had taken out numerous small payday and vehicle title loans and used overdraft protection lines of credit through his bank and credit union. “Mr. Kung stated that he realized he had ruined his life, and that he deserves his punishment,” the affidavit said.