Recovering sports gambling addict sees increasing need for treatment at center he founded in Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) – Robert Cabaniss was hooked on “the motion” lengthy earlier than the times of DraftKings, Fanduel and MGM. He says cash was his drug, and for 40 years he was overdosing.

“I didn’t see the losses. I might solely see the wins,” Cabaniss advised 10 On Your Aspect.

It began when he was a scholar at UVA the place he ran a soccer pool. “And the dean got here in and mentioned you possibly can’t do that anymore so we stopped. However after all dumb Bob, I didn’t cease playing, and I bought a bookie and it bought progressively worse.”

For 40 years, Cabaniss wager usually and wager massive on sports activities. “I didn’t see the losses. I might solely see the wins.” Within the depth of his dependancy, he was wagering nicely into six figures each seven days. The cash got here from a profitable profession in actual property after which the wholesale beverage business.

He was wagering “near $200,000 per week,” he remembers. “I misplaced an terrible lot of cash. My spouse lastly mentioned ‘sufficient’s sufficient,’ and I went and bought therapy.” His spouse stayed by him and so they’ve been married 52 years.

Cabaniss started his restoration after which based his personal restoration middle, Williamsville Wellness simply north of Richmond. He transformed his household’s historic residence right into a 26-bed residential therapy facility.

“We’ve got 15 hours of particular person remedy per week at our residential program. Our on-line program has 12 hours in the course of the course of this system. These are extraordinarily excessive numbers, greater than any therapy middle within the nation,” Cabaniss mentioned.

The Williamsville program usually runs 21 days, until there’s one other dependancy concerned. For Cabaniss himself, it was alcohol. He’s been sober since 2002, and hasn’t positioned a wager since 2004.
“You all the time cease your secondary dependancy first and you retain your major one, and mine was playing.”

He says the necessity for therapy for sports activities playing dependancy is rising. He says it has three fundamental ranges: An issue gambler loses a paycheck yearly; a compulsive gambler loses 2 to five paychecks a 12 months; and a playing addict like Cabaniss loses 5 or extra paychecks a 12 months.

“Within the previous days you would solely wager on the staff and the over/beneath,” he mentioned. However now sports activities betting, each authorized and illegal, provide myriad choices with proposition or “prop” bets, equivalent to who would be the first batter to strike out, who will catch the primary go, and so on. All these potentialities imply extra individuals wagering more cash and a quicker development “from downside to compulsive to addict,” Cabaniss mentioned.

He says what was supposed to be a safeguard within the Virginia sports activities betting laws — – the ban on wagering on Virginia-based groups — is creating much more enterprise for bookies. Cabaniss says bettors in Virginia will nonetheless wish to get some motion on UVA, Virginia Tech, ODU and different native groups.

Sports activities betting can be accessible on-site at casinos coming to each Norfolk and Portsmouth.
Cabaniss says that raises the chances that somebody will get hooked.

“(Downside gamblers will say) I misplaced $20,000 this week betting sports activities, and I’m gonna go to the on line casino and see if I can win it again on the on line casino,” he mentioned. “The extra choices they’ve, the extra hassle they’ll get into, then the extra they chase.” 

Cabaniss says he has seen an elevated demand for his therapy program since Virginia authorised sports activities playing, however Williamsville accepts gamblers from throughout the nation. He says as a result of it usually results in melancholy, playing results in suicide greater than some other sort of dependancy.

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