Suicide Common Among Gambling Addicts

Gambling Addiction Grows in Erie

ERIE, Pa - Gambling addiction is a growing problem across the country, and Erie is no exception.

Facebook killer Steve Stephens was known to have a gambling problem.

Authorities knew Steve Stephens visited the casinos often, and according to his own Facebook posts it was because of his addiction he "snapped." 

His suicide comes to no surprise to those who work with people suffering from this addiction.

Michael Chevalier, CEO of Preferred Systems, Inc works with people suffering from addiction and conducts behavioral health training.

He says there are a number of complusive gamblers in the Erie area. He refers to it as a "hidden addiction," one that is easily concealed.

    "It's probably one of the best kept secrets because you don't see someone driving under the influence of gambling, you don't see people charged with being under the influence of gambling," says Chevalier.

Steve Stephens was a gambler.

The day he shot and killed Robert Godwin a series of posts on his Facebook page followed.

He complained that he had "lost everything" to gambling.

But was it that addiction that caused Stephens to become so violent?

"Thats rare, that's rare when someone would take someone else's life that they don't know and have no involvement with. If they are going to do something it is typically going to be self imposed."

According to Chevalier suicide and attempted suicide is very common among complusive gamblers. 

It was his desire for gambling that caused State Police to step up patrols in our area.


"Because he was a gambler we thought he may be near the casino, so we put our troopers on alert. We put out info and emails. We were looking for him since day one," Major William A Teper Jr stated yesterday at the afternoon press conference after Stephens' chase and death in Erie.

Chevalier says it doesnt take long to develop a gambling habit or addiction.

It can take anywhere from six months to a year, depending on what type of gambler you are.


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