Letters to the Editor

Could gambling addiction have played a role in shooting?

FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 2, 2017 file photo, drapes billow out of broken windows at the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip, following a deadly shooting at a music festival in Las Vegas. Police who have yet to find Stephen Paddock's motive for the massacre said Friday, that they will enlist the public's help.
FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 2, 2017 file photo, drapes billow out of broken windows at the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip, following a deadly shooting at a music festival in Las Vegas. Police who have yet to find Stephen Paddock's motive for the massacre said Friday, that they will enlist the public's help. AP

The Las Vegas shooter’s true motives may never be known, but the fact that he devoted a great deal of time and effort to gambling may provide a clue.

Gambling Disorder (previously called Pathological Gambling) is a serious addiction and is the only non-drug addiction listed in the current diagnostic manual, along with addiction to alcohol, cocaine, heroin and others.

Gambling causes untold suffering for gamblers and their families, and individuals with Gambling Disorder have the highest suicide rate of any addiction. Although Stephen Paddock is reputed to have been wealthy, it has also been reported that he gambled on video poker machines and bet as much as $20,000 at a time — an amount suggestive that he was addicted to gambling. Because these machines are programmed so the house always makes a profit, it is possible that Paddock was distraught over his gambling losses. His primary motive may have been suicide, but he may also have wanted to take as many others with him as he could.

John Lovern, Arroyo Grande

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