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Using Pills to Fight Casinos Addictions

Is it realistic to think that a pill could help cure someone’s gambling addiction? Hopes have been expressed recently in Nevada that as gambling addictions are caused by a mental disorder, a pill taken for the same purpose as a Prozac or anything else like that could help sufferers of this mentally and financially devastating addiction find some relief. The drug under consideration which has been used to study the possibilities of using a pill to help curb gambling addictions, Zyprexa, is made by Eli Lilly to treat people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Experiments have used a readily available source: Las Vegas gamblers at casinos.

Bo Bernhard, a University of Nevada at Las Vegas sociology professor and director of gambling research there, says “There’s no magic pill out there to cure addictions to gambling or much of anything else, really. We’ve been looking at alcoholism for generations and haven’t found it yet. It isn’t likely we’ll find one for gambling either. We’re looking at how close we can come, though.” Bernhard heads UNLV’s International Gaming Institute. “Nevertheless, it’s an important chapter in the history of the field of research in this area,” he continues.

Studies using Zyprexa found that people who took the drug reduced their gambling by significantly visible levels, while those gamblers who took a placebo also to a lesser extent reduced their gambling. “The results aren’t conclusive because the drug made participants drowsy and was causing them to sleep excessively, which likely accounted for some of the time they weren’t gambling,” Bernhard said. “However, this research and its conclusions pave the way for future studies.” Still, there are those who would ban gambling outright, or even hand out gambling licenses, rather than subject themselves or others to taking yet more pills to solve more societal problems.

OCA News Editor

Jenny McKinnley is OCA’s financial correspondent. After spending years on the trading floor in both NY and London, she offers insight from the inside out on world financial news and events.