When Gambling Breaks the Bank
> 1/27/2006 8:37:05 AM

For anyone who hasn't seen this story out of Lehigh, Pennsylvania, it's been a sad spectacle since last month.  December 9th, 2005, the president of Lehigh University's class of 2008, Greg Hogan, walked into a Wachovia bank and demanded money and said he had a gun.  He made off with a little under $3,000, and was arrested some time later in his fraternity house.

Hogan's story made national headlines, which isn't surprising considering it's not everyday that a successful, son of a minister, robs a bank.  Many news outlets snapped up the story when it was discovered that Hogan's motivation was a $5,000 gambling debt that he ran up playing online poker. 

CBS News 3, the Philadelphia affiliate, reported yesterday that Hogan has now entered a Louisiana addiction clinic for treatment of his compulsive gambling.  His preliminary hearing has been pushed back until March, after he completes the 36 treatment course. 

If Hogan's attorney is looking for special treatment in the form of some sort of mental health defense, he has ground to stand on.  The jury will more than likely see a wealthy, former prep school student who was corrupted by the evils of online poker.  Beyond that, gambling addiction, or pathological gambling has been verified through research.  A January 2003 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that the DSM - IV guidelines, re-printed below, if followed, were valid and reliable in diagnosing pathological gambling, classified as an impulse control disorder not elsewhere classified.

Another study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry in 2005, found that pathological gambling shares many of the same personality traits as other addictive disorders, and even with "the larger class of 'externalizing' or 'disinhibitory' disorders."

Without knowing the particulars of the case, it is hard to say whether Hogan truly suffers from pathological gambling.  His behavior was clearly irresponsible.  And the carelessness of his actions are compounded by the fact that most (if not all) online poker venues can only be funded by cash deposists i.e. they cannot process credit card transactions (this is because online gambling is still illegal in the U.S. and U.S. based credit card companies cannot do business with the sites).  That means that Hogan's addiction must have been fueled by some outside source of money, which provided him with cash upfront.  Because of this, it is clear that Hogan made not just one bad decision, but several that transformed his own poor poker ability into a thousand dollar debt.  If he does suffer from pathological gambling, hopefully he can get the treatment that he needs, but that does not excuse him for answering for his crime the same way that a heroin, methamphetamine or cocaine addict would.


Diagnostic criteria for 312.31 Pathological Gambling

  1. Persistent and recurrent maladaptive gambling behavior as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
    1. is preoccupied with gambling (e.g., preoccupied with reliving past gambling experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, or thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble)
    2. needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement
    3. has repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling
    4. is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling
    5. gambles as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a dysphoric mood (e.g., feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression)
    6. after losing money gambling, often returns another day to get even ("chasing" one's losses)
    7. lies to family members, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling
    8. has committed illegal acts such as forgery, fraud, theft, or embezzlement to finance gambling
    9. has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, or educational or career opportunity because of gambling
    10. relies on others to provide money to relieve a desperate financial situation caused by gambling
  2. The gambling behavior is not better accounted for by a Manic Episode


Gotta love lawyers. It is never the client's failure to make good choices or take responsibility for them, but instead that demon addiction that MADE them do it!
URL: rofasix.blogspot.com
Posted by: NOTR 1/28/2006 2:43:19 AM

This past weekend I Gambled 1500.oo with superslots and Im Sick over it. I did the electronic check thing. Ive never done anything like that before. The game i was playing was very misleading and sucked me in. If I stopped my banjk from paying thos echecks could the casino bring legal action against me? If so, do they usually do it.I desperatly need to try and get some of my funds back. is it possible? If so could you tell me how? thank you
Posted by: Jeri 2/4/2007 1:02:25 AM

Post Your Comments

Post a comment
Email Address:
Verification Code:
Input the 8 characters you see above:


Drug Abuse
Sexual Addiction
Eating Disorders
Alzheimer's Disease

About TOL | Contact Us | Defining Behavioral Fitness | For Healthcare Professionals | Links | Privacy Policy