Democrat Lawmaker Steps Down in Louisiana to Fight Gambling Addiction

The probe opened into Karen Carter Peterson, a Democrat lawmaker, who has been struggling with gambling addiction for the past 20 years, showing that we are all vulnerable to an issue that is becoming the focus of public attention as interest in gambling has skyrocketed over the past years. Peterson stepped down last week as she became the focal point of a financial investigation.

She has been fighting depression and compulsive gambling for the past two decades, expending considerable effort to keep this bad habit at bay. Speaking on Friday, Peterson said that she would need to withdraw from public duty and focus her efforts on her mental health.

The investigation was only reported by The New Orleans Advocate and was not a part of Peterson’s public motivation behind the resignation. There were no further details shared by the Louisiana Democratic Party chapter on whether federal investigators have subpoenaed the party or asked for details about Peterson.  Peterson’s resignation comes several months ahead of her official end of the term in June.

Struggling with Gambling Addiction Over the Years

Peterson has been able to keep her gambling problems private for the better part of the past two decades at least publicly. However, a report by WWL-TV surfaced in 2019 that Peterson had received misdemeanor summons linked to a visit she had at the L’Auberge Casino in Baton Rouge.

Her antics forced her resignation as chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party chapter, a position she held since 2012. There have been early signs of the resignation as well. On Thursday, Peterson spoke in the Senate and said that gambling addiction is a serious issue that is linked to the highest rate of all addiction suicides.

She did well during her stint in legislation as well. She pressed on with a bill to recognize March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month in Louisiana and has been instrumental in ensuring that gamblers in the state can self-exclude and get the help they need to tackle addiction.

Gambling Addiction, the Silent Killer

Addiction has been known to impact people from the poorest social-economic backgrounds the worst, but there have been many cases of successful and highly-educated individuals who have failed to resist the urge to gamble.

As Peterson pointed out, gambling addiction has one of the biggest suicide rates worldwide. The issue has been particularly painful in the United Kingdom where a pending re-regulation of the gambling laws has been tied to ensuring that consumers are protected and the rate of gambling addiction continues to drop.

The federal probe reported by The New Orleans Advocate will look into the former senator’s finances and her gambling addiction, although no further details are known at the time.

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