“Life is great,” Erickson said. “The miracles I’ve experienced.
“I’ve heard other people compare it to a cocaine addiction, the high you get from that, and that’s the euphoria I felt,” he said. And when they caught on, he left his family and fled.
After 23 days on the run, Erickson turned himself in. Drawn in by the popularity of poker, half of all men in college are gambling on an monthly basis — even though betting on sports is illegal everywhere in the U.S. He considered going to Mexico and if he couldn’t kill himself there, he’d pay someone else to do it, he said.
If you or your loved ones has a gambling problem, help can be found at the National Council on Problem Gambling.
“I think it’s a devastating illness, it’s an illness that if it’s not treated, it will end up that the person’s whole lifestyle will be affected,” said Ed Looney, executive director of Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey.
The problem is affecting younger people as well. By some estimates, $7 billion is wagered on the Super Bowl alone in casinos, online and with bookies.
“I became this person I didn’t know,” he said. That will always be there. I got to get myself out of it.
Three and a half years ago, Erickson accrued $400,000 in gambling debts. The college bowl games this weekend lead to the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl. People love to bet on it. Win or lose, it didn’t matter to me, it just set me up to bet again.”
It is now high season for sports betting. “But I thought this must be what I have to do. “It becomes an all-consuming activity. “It’s American, like apple pie. People love to bet on their football games.”. Desperate, he began stealing from his clients. Then, it’s March Madness, where many participate in an office betting pool.
‘A Devastating Illness’
Erickson is a compulsive gambler, a condition just as dangerous and debilitating as drug or alcohol addiction. He credits a 12-step program to helping him overcome his problem, and he has not gambled in almost four years.
But soon, it spiraled out of control.
The situation became so dire, that Erickson contemplated killing himself. As gambling on the Internet becomes more popular and more sites crop up, those numbers are expected to increase.
Mark Erickson always craved a piece of the action — so the accountant from Phoenix started betting on sports over the Internet.
Nevertheless, the industry rakes in mind-boggling amounts of cash. These are things that I avoided my whole life, not choosing to be a part of, but today I cherish them.”
“Sports betting is the rock of Gibraltar,” Looney said. He served a year in prison and now works for a compulsive gambling helpline. The sharing of experiences with friends, family, like I’ve never seen before. The lining up the money, the handicapping of the game, the betting of the game, the watching of the game. There are an estimated 6 million people who deal with the problem in the United States
We’ve never had something that we can say, ‘This is what defines Las Vegas.’ And an NHL team would define Las Vegas,” Boehlke said.. But the deal would have to be struck this summer, in an election year.
On the gridiron, an estimated $95 billion is wagered every year on NFL and college football games. AEG and MGM opened the up-to-20,000-seat arena just off the Las Vegas strip in April. Everyone knows that Sheldon Adelson is one of the richest guys in the world,” Ralston said. The Raiders would contribute $500 million, while Adelson and his partners chip in $150 million. Pro hockey’s annual awards show is June 22 in Vegas. Las Vegas has long been the gambling capital of America, but it now wants to become a big-time sports town, reports CBS News’ Mark Albert.
“If this opportunity slips away and the Raiders were to find a new home, I don’t think you’re going to see another opportunity come available for a long time,” Sisolak said. “And we’re really, really close.”
“You convinced people to give you money for tickets to a team that doesn’t exist?” Albert asked.
“The public relations of it are a nightmare. Money could sack the deal.
“I’m not a patient man, but I’ve learned patience,” Foley said. “It’s a lot of money, but it’s going to be fun.”
“We’ve always been a tourist city. The West Point graduate now wants to drop the puck in his adopted hometown.
Foley’s website is already advertising season tickets. “I have been spoken to by the commissioner at various times when I did not do exactly what he wanted to do. “For him to ask the public to pony up $750 million when he’s worth $28 billion, that’s just not going to fly — not just with the public, but with the elected officials.”
Sin City is betting on a makeover. “I guess we’re approaching the two-minute warning.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged as much last month, saying: “All of us have evolved a little bit on gambling… He said he put down $600 “because I want to have a hockey team.”
Last year, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made this admission about gambling: “It’s good for business, I don’t want to hide from that… “Maybe I can sell some other things.”
“The real question I think is, is Vegas still toxic?” Ralston said.
Foley’s sales pitch to fans and the NHL includes brand new T-Mobile Arena. I’m going to be the majority owner of the tea,” Foley said, adding that he wouldn’t confirm or deny that it would cost him $500 million. Real difficult,” Sisolak said. Jon Ralston has covered politics there for 30 years. If you’re going to divert that much, why not use it for some of the real needs that are here — schools, roads, etc.?” Ralston said.
“If they get 100 percent of the revenue and only put in $650 million, it’s going to be difficult. That’s pretty good, wasn’t it? I like that,” Foley said. The NHL’s Board of Governors, which must vote to approve any expansion, is now scheduled to convene there just hours before.
“I think $750 million without some type of return is a little bit too much for the taxpayer to shoulder,” Sisolak said. He’s felt a “seismic shift” in how gambling is perceived nationwide and by those who lead professional sports leagues.
The Oakland Raiders’ proposal, presented in April by owner Mark Davis, bets on $750 million from the public to help build a $1.4 billion domed stadium complex on a lot near the Las Vegas strip. I don’t think daily fantasy is (gambling).”
“I have been looking forward to it my whole life, Vegas’ first professional sports team,” said hockey fan Tom Mullin.
But it may not be gambling that stops the NFL from lacing up in Vegas. that it creates more engagement.”
And it would define Bill Foley.
Foley’s toughest sales job to the league may be Las Vegas itself. I haven’t been spoken to by anyone as I was spoken to by him since I was a plebe at West Point.”
“So for you, it’s a non-starter if the NFL or the Raiders were to get 100 percent of concessions, 100 percent of parking and 100 percent of naming rights?” Albert asked.
Even in Vegas, where the wagers are big and the odds even bigger, Bill Foley has made one heck of a bet.
One of those elected officials is Steve Sisolak, who chairs the Clark County Commission, which would have to approve any NFL stadium deal.
Sisolak hopes the NFL and the Raiders will budge to reduce the amount of public money needed.
But the NHL — not the NFL — may score first. I’m never going to do that again. The cash would come from increasing the tax on hotel stays and would be the most public money spent on any of the past 11 NFL stadiums.
“This is my mission. “It’d be hard to get on.”
Die-hard hockey fans like Eric Biro are among the 14,000 who paid to be on Bill Foley’s season ticket list. “I’m skeptical, but I’m optimistic at the same time.”
“A lot of arguments will be made. In fact, Foley said 14,000 people have put down deposits of at least $150 each.
“And the arena wasn’t built. Ralston said this would be “very difficult.”
Not one dime of public money went into construction of the $375 million facility, but lots of people have anted-up.
Casino magnet Sheldon Adelson has dealt himself in. And 90 percent of NFL franchises also now have ad agreements with daily fantasy sites DraftKings or FanDuel.
Foley said he’s now out of the penalty box, with his goal finally in sight.
This lifelong Green Bay Packers fan said crucial decisions must be made by an end-of-July deadline or the clock may run out.
Ken Boehlke created the site Sinbin.Vegas to track every minute development.
Foley is a multi-millionaire businessman who grew grew up in Ottawa, Canada, playing hockey. It’s been holding events showcasing entertainers and was built to host an NHL or NBA team.
“I am the man that wants to bring hockey to the desert,” Foley said