The Bizarre Side of Gambling: From Wife Gambling to Addiction

  • This week a man in Pakistan was arrested after "losing his wife" while gambling
  • Court approves halving a mortgage debt after husband got addicted to gambling
  • Woman with an addiction to video lottery terminals leaves her divorced and bankrupt
Gambling is well known for its addiction, but gambling your wife away isn't often heard of.
Gambling is well known for its addiction, but gambling your wife away isn’t often heard of.

Man accused of “gambling wife away”

This week, a man was arrested for allegedly attacking his wife after she refused to go with his friends because after he “lost” her while gambling. Ali Raza told his wife that she would have to go with his friends because he had lost her while gambling. He then turned violent when she refused to go.

Police arrested Raza, following a complaint filed by the victim, Mehvish, in Chiniot, a small city located 131km from Lahore in Pakistan.

In the first information report) registered with the police, Mehvish said her husband was a drug addict and gambler who entered into a gambling game with three of his friends. Raza wagered Mehvish and lost.

When she declined to accompany her husband’s friends, he beat her up and attacked her with a sharp weapon, leaving her with severe injuries.

He has denied the charges. “They are trying to trap me,” he told the police. “I have never gambled.”

The case is being investigated.

Woman wins in court

In Ireland, the High Court has approved a personal insolvency arrangement to write off a debt.

A woman ran up arrears of $386,000 on her mortgage because of her husband’s gambling problem. She has had the debt written down by $206,000 leaving just $180,000 to pay.

Mr Justice Denis McDonald said the woman, a public servant in her 40s with net monthly earnings of $3,250, was separated from her husband and lived with their teenage daughter in the family home.

The couple jointly bought the house in 2005 with a PTSB loan and the woman experienced financial difficulty for the first time in 2007.

She said her husband developed a gambling addiction and borrowed $7,850 from “loan sharks” to place bets. His debt became too much to repay, the loan sharks applied increasing pressure for repayment, and so she was forced to borrow money from her sister to repay the debt.

Her husband’s gambling problem became worse and she fell into arrears with the mortgage repayments and incurred other debts.

She had said in a sworn statement her ex-husband moved to the UK in 2015 and makes no contribution towards mortgage repayments or child maintenance.

Canadian woman addicted to video lottery terminals

Nicole Fowler, from St Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), in Canada, has experienced first-hand the side effects of having an addiction to video lottery terminals (VLTs). In the depths of her addiction, she would drop her kids off at school and then sit outside bars, waiting for them to open.

Not only did her addiction lead to bankruptcy, it also caused her marriage to end. Fowler finally beat her addiction after seeking treatment and hasn’t played on a VLT in two years.

In NL, VLTs are at the center of a class-action lawsuit against the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC), the company which oversees gambling and gaming in the four Maritime Provinces.

The lawsuit was filed by two lead plaintiffs — Doug Babstock and Fred Small — in 2012, and certified as a class action in early 2017. Their statement of claim says: “VLTs are inherently deceptive, inherently addictive and inherently dangerous when used as intended.”

Divorce and gambling stats

  • A University of Nebraska Medical Center study concluded that problem gambling is as much a risk factor for domestic violence as alcohol abuse. Domestic violence murders in at least 11 states have been traced to gambling problems since 1996.
  • Statistics say that every one in five divorce cases now mention gambling.
  • Judges can consider a spouse’s gambling in court if it has led to losses of marital funds.
  • A judge may punish a gambling spouse in court – the more money lost during gambling, the smaller the share a judge may give that spouse when dividing property.

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