Gambling is big business in America -- earning the gaming industry nearly $51 billion in net revenue each year. Like most addictions, once you start, it's hard to stop. Now, a drug treatment could get gamblers back on their feet.
Pulsing music. Flashing lights. And the elusive jackpots. That's what keeps gamblers coming back.
Jeff was gambling five times a week -- losing about $400 each time. That's $2,000 a week. He says, "I'd drive 100 miles out of my way to go to a casino, spend the night, come back at three in the morning, totally drained, and have business meetings the next morning."
Psychiatrists say they are studying the connection between cravings and behavior. "Traditionally, when people receive treatments, they may be able to refrain their behaviors, but they still had to live with their craving," say researchers.
Naltrexone, a drug already approved to treat alcoholics, stops cravings and therefore stops the gambling urges.
Jeff says the drug changed his life. "It's helped my relationship with my wife, because I'm not lying to her anymore, covering things up or making excuses and draining our bank account. So, it's changed it in many, many ways." And that's something he can bet on.
However experts say the drug can cause liver problems if mixed with other drugs, such as over-the-counter painkillers.