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Monday, October 17 12:00 AM ET

Internet Gambler Wagers On His Future

By Dale Tudge

The Internet - Gambling and betting have always been prevalent on the Internet, but now, due to the increasing popularity of professional and celebrity poker, the Internet has seen a proliferation of gambling sites, and Internet poker rooms are more popular than ever.

SolitaireSecure websites and reliable credit card transactions have made it safer for stay-at-home gamblers to participate in online casinos, but at the same time, these conveniences have fueled the economic disorders of compulsive gamblers.

Bob Breathsure is just one of many thousands of people who have been affected by computer-based gambling. Bob has an offline gambling problem and he has come to the realization that he may never be able to recover from the deep debt he has accumulated from his uncontrollable gambling addiction.

Presently, Bob is $18,941 in the hole to the Solitaire game on his computer.

After being introduced to Microsoft Solitaire a few months ago when a friend installed Windows XP on his laptop, Bob has been struggling to deal with his addiction to the Windows-based card game and has no idea how he is going to pay back the money he owes.

Solitaire, based on the traditional Klondike one-player card game, was set up on Bob's computer under "Vegas Style", a format in which the player pays $52 for each card game, and receives $5 back for each card placed on the pile. Winning the solitaire game rewards the player with a $260 payout.

The problem for Bob is that when he started losing at Solitaire, he didn't learn when to quit, and every time he lost a game, he immediately proceeded to the next one, and repeated that until he finally won a hand. Bob would play for several hours a day, at work, at home, and even on his daily train commute. Eventually, the losses got to the point that Bob had to finally admit that he had a problem.

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Bob, who is just fortunate that no interest (commonly known as the "juice") is accruing on his digital debt, is going to speak with a debt counsellor to see if he can shuffle around some of his other bills. He is hoping that he will be maybe able to pay off the debt in installments, and get the amount to a manageable level before he attempts to gamble again, if ever at all.

If Bob plays his cards right, he should be able to be out of the red and into the black in about six years. Bob is determined to face his addiction, instead of listening to the advice of his friends, who suggested that he if deleted the game from his system, the debt would simply go away.

This article has be reprinted with permission from The Toque.

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