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She has run up over $20,000 in credit card debt to gamble. She spends over $1,000 a month cash from her meager income gambling. She is mad at me because when she was sick, I didn't pay her bills and ruined her credit. She has taken the bills back and is paying minimum payments on them. She won't admit she has a problem and is starting to bounce checks, etc. Do I need an attorney to take her bills away from her or what? Frustrated...she has called me everything in the book when I have tried to make her understand what she is doing...there is some dementia going on I think too.

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Thanks everyone for all the input. At this time, I confronted her again and she got really nasty and said some really hurtful things. I will just let her go and not give her any extra money when she runs out again. I have given her so much and will never get it back. I don't have much either but if she is happy, I guess at 90 yrs old, I will just let her do her thing. Ugh!! She runs out of money about half way through the month every month and then is depressed until her checks come in. I tried!
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I;m with Stacy here.. my mom loves to gamble, and we put casino games on her tablet. She had no idea how to add real money ( and is too cheap to do it anyway...) she loves getting on and adding her "free money", and plays throughout the day. We go to the "real casino" about every 6 weeks, but she has a set amount. We enjoy it too as we go with her.. to keep an eye on things . and we get free food and rooms sometimes. But mom can afford it. However, she and my aunt are going to Vegas for 3 days. meeting some other relatives there to watch over them. I had to limit the cash she is taking...LOL Luckily she can be frugal, but she knows this is her last probable trip like this.. Did I mention she is 86?
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Hmmm, I'm not sure if this suggestion would help or make it worse, depending on her personality and her understanding on how to use a computer and put money into a FREE online casino game, but there are many FREE games available, that GIVE you free points every day, and sometimes several times a day.

I play these, and they are Fun, but I NEVER put money into the online account, as there is no upside, and you do not ever Win Cash, just points, so it's like a Personal Best sort of thing.

If she truly has an addiction, it would probably be best to speak with the VFW folks and tell them she's going broke, but I'm not sure how they can stop her from playing.

Good luck with this most difficult problem!

PS, I thoroughly enjoy going to the real Casino, but I can afford itfor the most part. My Mom had a pretty strong love of gambling too, but not quite an addiction, but she would definitely get nasty at times, when I wouldn't go to the cash machine for her, behind my Dad's back, Lol! She really enjoyed it, and had six kids who would indulge her on gambling vacations, so mostly in good fun. Anything to make Mom happy in the end! 
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Could you talk to the people who run the VFW and get her banned? Yes a chat with an attorney would be a good idea. Good for you ruining her credit
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Well the easy answer is to just remove her access to money. Is she still living independantly?

Of course she is going to call you all the names she can think of that goes with the territory. Can you contact all he creators and request that they refuse any other transactions

Is she actually going to the casino or by phone or online.
You are not going to be able to talk her out of it, it is far too much fun.
My advice would be that once you have stopped her running up further debts you actually encourage her. Go with her to the casino but make sure she only has a small amount of money and leaves her cards at home.
$20 to ply the slots might be enough. Then if she wins give her another $20. Take any excess to go towards her debt. You might actually have fun yourself with your own $20.

My cleaning lady goes most weeks and limits herself but the whole family goes with her and they have lot of fun. They also accumulate lots of coupons for free food so every so often the whole family goes for a meal.

Whatever you do don't help her pay off her debts, they are not your responsibility
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How did she expect you to pay her bills without power of attorney?

If she's still competent, going to an attorney won't help you. She'd have to be declared incompetent for you to be given guardianship.

She is free to make her own poor choices.

You are free to say "mom, you have an addiction. Let me help you get help for this."
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Good question about how she's getting to the casino. Is she taking one of those gambling buses from a bus terminal?

You can try to automate as many of your mother's bills as possible and have the amounts deducted from her checking account.
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She is still driving. Local VFW has just a few machines and she goes there every day. It is only .9 miles away. Her credit cards are maxed out and she says she could have new ones if I had not ruined her credit a few months ago by not paying her bills like she wanted when she was in the hospital. It is not medication, she has been this way for many years and meds are about the same over the last year. She has become obsessed with the machines and knows when they are going to hit she thinks. AND, the machines are basically all she thinks about. I don't know if I should contact an attorney now or what. I have a signed POA but not registered and she won't let me do it.
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IS she still driving? If not, how does she get to the casino? Rather than getting her to stop gambling, perhaps you can remove the temptation. Can you lower the credit limit on her credit card? YOU not her. Call them up and ask that the credit limit be lowered. Often casino trips take the place of activities. Can you offer or identify alternative ways for her to spend her time.
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Start out by calling her doctor. Believe it or not, there are some medications that have gambling as a side effect! Get her in for a physical and talk to the doctor frankly about what is going on.

Do you have power of attorney?
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