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Many worries about the future weigh on Brett as he works his way through a gambling addiction program.

The 21-year-old's biggest worry after his release from the three-month program in California: encountering people, places and things that might trigger his urge to gamble.

But they're nothing compared with the biggest threat he'll face: his smartphone, and the many casino-style games available with a quick tap at an app store.

"I don't even have to go to a casino," said the former business student who asked to remain anonymous because of the stigma associated with his struggles.

"Just whip out your phone and you're right there." Brett's gambling problem began a few years ago with bets on National Basketball Association games, followed by wagers on other professional sports.

It wasn't long before his habit expanded to social casino games.

Played on a mobile device or PC, even via Facebook's website, such games mimic the slot machines and card games in casinos. They bet with the game's play money and, if they run out, they can spend real-world dollars to get more. "A lot of them are the most popular games too." He started playing Zynga Poker, a slot machine game, last year.

But he craved the excitement that came with betting real money.

Before long, he was placing bets in a brick-and-mortar casino, much to his financial detriment.

When he lost more than $5,000 through a combination of card games and sports betting, he was forced to ask his parents for money to tackle his debt.

That's when he, and his parents, decided he needed to get into a recovery program.

These games, made for mobile devices, sparked Brett's gambling addiction.