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One-hand bandits

One-hand bandits

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One-hand bandits


Shocking news in the Petersburg. Last Saturday, early in the morning in the center of the city the unknown shot all employees of slot machines gaming hall that were on their workplaces at that moment. So bloody and senseless murders are not even remembered by militia old-timers. According to "News", one of versions of reason of frightful tragedy which is examined presently by law enforcement authorities of the city, is irrational revenge for the loss in this gaming hall. Possibly, a killer was a mentally sick man.
Meantime, from data of the Petersburg pshyconeurological institute named after Bekhterev, only in one north capital a few ten thousand people are sick with the recently classified illness - "pathological propensity to the gambling". And in spite of this passion having been described by one of the most famous habitants of Petersburg - the Feodor Dostoevsky long time ago, only quite recently it became an object of considerations for domestic psychiatrists

"He came, to put kill everyone"
On Saturday at about eight in the morning the unknown with a gun burst in the slot machines gaming hall, that is located on Middle avenue of Vasyl'evskiy island, and without superfluous words opened a fire. At so early time for a day off there were only workers in a slot machines gaming hall: guard, two mechanics, charwoman and its 14-years-old daughter helping a mother. Four adults perished in at once and a girl was hospitalized with the heavy wound in a head. It has been already found out that the young man was armed with the Makarov gun. Probably, he intentionally chose employees of slot machines gaming hall as his victims and came early in the morning not to wound visitors. Everything that happened appeared to be taken on the camera of videosupervision, which a hall is equipped with. It was visible that he had come to kill everyone without hesitations", - a source in GAIA of Petersburg revealed to "News".
The face of a bandit is seen not clear enough, nevertheless according to militia, "he is already tracked". In a sources opinion, a character of crime can testify that it is accomplished by mentally sick man. Besides ordinary versions of robbery, criminal sorting out - it is impossible to eliminate, that he wanted to "punish" workers of slot machines gaming hall, for example for a loss.

"It is more destructive, than alcoholism"
There are thousands of those who lose. The Petersburg student Sergey lost a few thousand dollars with slot machines. Got into debts, but could not stop to play. Now he is a patient of the Petersburg psychoneurological institute after Bekhterev. "I began to play from a boredom. And then could not simply stop. I understood that there is something wrong with me about a year ago: friends disappeared, the relationships with parents were ruined", - a young man is confessing. Psychologists and sociologists beat an alarm: with every year the amount of "pathological players" increases more and more. In an opinion of doctor-psychotherapist a senior research worker of the Bekhterev institute, candidate of medical sciences Victor Zaytsev, the reason is that the amount of playing slot machines grows in the country, and their advertising becomes more and more aggressive. According to western statistics, 1,5% of population suffer from "gambling illness". In our country, as evaluated by Zaytsev, this number can considerably exceed official information and make 3-5% of population, that means that the amount of "infected" by a playing illness can achieve 240 thousand people only in one Petersburg and a few million in all Russia.

- A player gets the same pleasure from the game, as drug addict from a dose. His personality degrades under influencing of slot machine which transforms in his best friend. Thus a man becomes indifferent to his own children, friends, - a psychiatrist says.
According to statistics people that are dependent upon "one-hand bandits" have a high intellect and are often successful in life. Average profit of patients-players was from 15 to 50 thousand dollars monthly. But they overspent it in three-four years.

- Some of them not managing to overcome an illness by themselves tried to commit a suicide. Once, a player even perpetrate a robbery. He wanted to go to jail in order to stop playing. After his staying in prison he went out and began to play again. And one well-known Petersburg businessman flies to Las Vegas every week-end until now, where he loses all money taken with him, - tells Victor Zaitsev. it is Pathological propensity to the game is even more destructive than alcoholic dependence. It is impossible to cure it completely.
If eight years ago physicians knew about irrepressible players only from books on psychiatry, then in recent three years this theme became one of basic in the department of out of hospital psychiatry after Bekhterev. In 1995-1996 years to the psychoneurological institute only three men turned for help that were diagnosed with "pathological propensity to the gambling". In 1997-1998 there were 26 of them. 62 players turned for medical help in 2001-2002. During this time about 200 people with passion to one-hand bandits visited hospital for mentally ill. About 100 of them completed a course of treatment. Approximately half of them stopped to play. Another half got back to their passion again.

- Gaming halls are situated in the specially taken places abroad. And in Petersburg slot machines are almost on every subway station. I am not for forbidding gaming business at all. But I am against the network of slot machines being spread around the city without limitations. It leads to the permanent increase of number of diseased, - Victor Zaitsev is sure.

"Our business is fun"
The owners of gaming industry give their own arguments.
People without money do not come to us. Gambling business withdraws surpluses of money form the population and gives enormous profits to the state: only our company monthly pays 5 million rubles to the budget, - the vice-president of the "Stek company included in five largest operators of gambling business in Saint Petersburg Vyacheslav Ryzhkov told to "News" . There are not less than 5-6 thousand playing slot machines today in Petersburg. Their owners are perfectly well-informed about "gambling illness". Our business is fun for people with some pecularities of psyche, having hidden or obvious predilection for the sharp feelings, ardour, risk, - Vyacheslav Ryzhkov continues. According to him, what is especially important is that "one-hand bandits" satisfy this predilection quite legally.

By the way, in the West, where the pathological propensity to the gambling games has been already fighted against for a long time, slot machines are disconnected after 50 minutes of a game. Thus a warning on a display flashes with a request to the payer to rest for 10 minutes. This time is given to the man for self-examination, estimation of situation and answer for a question: is it time to stop? "Possibly it is needed to establish the same thing in Russia", - the "gambling businessman, Ryzhkov thinks.



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