March 2020

March Problem Gambling Awareness Month; Language of Recovery; No need to panic savvy One of the still too neglected manifestations of addiction is Gambling Disorder. So in recent years in honor of March Problem Gambling Awareness Month, I’ve had guest writers raise our awareness about gambling. Daniel J. Trolaro, Assistant Executive Director, The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey shares information on video games, E-sports and skin gambling; and George Mladenetz writes about the importance of and the use of language within the addiction and recovery field. TIP 1 How are video games and gambling related? – Loot Boxes Loot Boxes are sometimes known as crates, supply drops, treasure chests, bundles; or in sports games are often called ‘card packs’. They contain digital goods allowing players the chance to obtain special items. They can be thought of as a ‘virtual grab bag.’  See more in the March 2018 edition. Whatever they are called, loot boxes are often purchased with real money and give the game player an opportunity to receive something of value – or not. In the U.S., loot boxes are completely unregulated. There is not even a warning label that a game contains loot boxes. In the United States loot boxes are not considered gambling because these virtual chests always contain something. This lends itself to the argument that purchasing a loot box is a transaction rather than a wager. However, this ignores a fundamental concept of video game play. Video game characters are limited in the number of items that may be carried. If a player receives an item in a loot box that is of lesser relative value than the items his character already possesses, the item from the box will typically be left right where it was discovered. The player is out the cost of the loot box but has effectively gotten nothing in return. The mechanism of loot boxes is random number generation. Random number generation is the same mechanism at play in modern slot machines. Slot machines are highly regulated, certified and even randomly inspected. Loot boxes are completely unregulated. Tip 2 Be aware of video game and E-sports gambling Websites exist where people can go to gamble on video game play. A bettor makes a deposit into a website. The deposit is converted from money to betting credits and the player can then bet on tournaments or even professional players who might be in Europe, the U.S., Asia or anywhere else. On these sites, gamblers can view current odds for tournaments and leagues. People can gamble on video games such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Starcraft 2, FIFA Soccer, and lots of others. The E-sports market was valued at $900 million in 2018 and is expected to grow to $1.79 billion by 2022. E-sports fantasy – Gamblers can form leagues, draft players to form teams and then characters are awarded points for performance similar to fantasy football or baseball. Tip 3 What is …

February 2020

Turning frustrations into Systems solutions; 1 year since I lost my wife

January 2020

Frustrations, frustrations – what kind are they and what to do; visioning a new year and decade