Woman shares personal story of gambling addiction as online sports betting concerns mount

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – There is no question that online sports betting will bring in millions for Louisiana.

There are many people and businesses that profit when you look at revenue and tourism, but what about the people who lose everything to gambling?

Gail Suchy knows firsthand what it’s like.

“I wanted to commit suicide, I tried the day I was fired,” Suchy said.

Suchy hit rock bottom.

She stole from everyone she knew, got fired from her job, and lost so much money it could make your head spin.

She thought about the most thing she’d ever lost in one night.

“It was probably $8,000 to $10,000. You want to know what is sad? I probably walked in with $4000-$5000, that wasn’t my money. There were some that I took from my husband, or some that I stole from my boss,” Suchy said.

In that moment she knew she needed help.

Suchy eventually ended up at the Center for Recovery in Shreveport and later found her way to the Capital Area Recovery Program in Baton Rouge.

“It’s something you can never just throw away and think you don’t have to worry anymore. It’s an everyday lesson. Every day,” said Suchy.

RELATED: Mobile sportsbook goes live in Louisiana on Friday

With online sports betting around the corner, Suchy and recreation specialists fear we are on the brink of a massive problem.

“Is this an epidemic? That’s putting it mildly. You’re nice. It’s over,” said Matricia Green, a licensed certified compulsive gambling counselor.

Green, who also refers to her patients as “Ms. Matt’, has over 50 years of addiction treatment experience.

According to Green, she doesn’t have a problem with gambling, it’s the lack of treatment for people struggling with it as an addiction in the Capitol Region.

“I’m not telling you not to play because everyone plays. I don’t have a problem, but if you make it public and you know what some of the ramifications are, then ok, be ready to deal with the issue,” Green said.

“We need more. How are you going to treat something that’s going to blow you off the map and you don’t have treatment?” Green asked. “We need more money. We need to be able to handle that. We need another gambling inpatient here in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.”

Green said groups like hers need more funding so others can see the same turnaround as Suchy.

Suchy is currently a peer support specialist at CARP, helping people on their road to recovery.

She made her last bet on February 12, 2018.

“MS. Green saved my life. Yes. Definitely. Ms. Green and Capital Area. There’s no doubt about it,” Suchy said.

Suchy said there is light at the end of the tunnel, but they need the help of our lawmakers to make it through.

“This is where this addiction will take you, but there’s open sky and blue sky down the road,” Suchy said.

If you need assistance, you can enroll in the Confidential Capital Area Human Services Gambling Recovery Program at 225-362-5360.

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