McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Homepage

May 18, 2006

Gambling begets millions of neglected addicts

Bryant Northern had the world at his fingertips three years ago as a walk-on guard who won a full scholarship at basketball powerhouse University of Louisville.

He dreamed of deadeye jump shots, March Madness, even a pro career.

But the 6-foot-tall Northern also had a hidden problem: an addiction to gambling. Caesars Indiana, the riverboat casino across the Ohio from Louisville, had been his happy hangout since high school —and his scourge. A run of lousy luck found him short of money and in trouble with the police.

Now 23 and a college dropout, Northern was sentenced on March 6 to five years probation for trying to cash stolen checks in Kentucky to pay for his gambling habit. He still faces burglary charges in Indiana, and a possible prison term.

Jim Chesser, 55, a former Louisville bus driver, jokes that he was “born on a card table, raised on a racetrack” because of his parents’ love of bingo halls and horses. So when Casino Aztar opened in Evansville, Ind., in 1995, it was only natural he’d be a frequent patron.

“That’s when my recreational gambling crossed that invisible line to irresponsible, uncontrolled, compulsive gambling,” Chesser said.

The dependency got so bad, he recalled, that he once stole $50 from his 16-year-old stepdaughter and blamed it on his 14-year-old stepson.

“When we’re gambling, we will lie, we will cheat, we will steal from everybody,” he said. “It will take you places you never thought you would go” — places that caused him to quit cold turkey eight years ago to save his fourth marriage.

Bryant Northern and Jim Chesser do not stand alone. Their stories are commonplace in a nation where legal gambling has spread from just three states 25 years ago to every state in the union, save Utah and Hawaii, as an engine of economic development.

1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Speed bump

City of Krebs Street Supervisor, Kevin Mick, along with his crew and Krebs Mayor Bobby Watkins, put the finishing touch on the new speed bumps they installed at Krebs Public School that were paid and provided by the city of Krebs for the safety of the students and teachers.

Local Sports
Chance Sistrunk 1

Recent McAlester graduate Chance Sistrunk drops low for a forehand shot during Tuesday’s Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State tennis tournament at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center at the University of Tulsa.

Features
State news
Area crime and courts
Poll

Do you agree with the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision?

Yes
No
     View Results
NDN Video
Famous Internet Cats Help Big Cause With Viral Video Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2" Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza
Featured Ads
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
SmugMug