Gambling Addiction Turns to Tragedy in New HBO Doc

Last updated on November 4th, 2019

An addiction to gambling drives people to continually gamble, despite the harmful or negative consequences that follow.

Severe gambling is often diagnosed as “pathological gambling.” This form of gambling addiction is associated with serious fallout in most aspects of life. The condition is an impulse control disorder, with addicts exhibiting many similarities to people with drug addictions.

A new HBO documentary highlights just how far gambling addicts are willing to go in order to get a fix – especially in the world of online gambling.

Tragedy Brought on by Gambling

HBO’s Love Child is a documentary that draws its plot from a horrific 2010 incident that occurred in South Korea. Kim Yun-jeong and her husband, Kim Jae-beom, were first-time parents to a 3-month-old child named Sa-rang. Unfortunately, both parents were also raging online gambling addicts.

Neither one was willing to let the role of “parent” take precedence over the urge to gamble.

Every evening, the couple would leave their one-room apartment and head down to one of South Korea’s 24-hour Internet cafes. Here, the duo would play online gambling games until the sun came up. Neither one was willing to let the role of “parent” take precedence over the urge to gamble.

On the morning of September 24, 2010, the husband and wife returned home after a 12-hour gambling session. When they went to check on Sa-rang, the Kim’s found their daughter lying dead in a crib. It was later determined that the infant died as a result of malnutrition. For three long months, the Kim’s had neglected to properly feed their daughter – opting to gamble instead.

…the infant died as a result of malnutrition… the Kim’s had neglected to properly feed their daughter – opting to gamble instead.

What makes this story even more heartbreaking is the fact that both Kim Yun-jeong and Kim Jae-beom played an online gambling game that required them to raise a virtual daughter. Unlike Sa-rang’s horrible fate, the parents made sure their computerized child was properly fed, dressed, and cuddled. Caring for a virtual child offered both gambling addicts a monetary payoff, whereas parenting in real life apparently did not.

Gambling Addiction as a Defense?

HBO’s Love Child also draws from the Kim’s subsequent arrest, where both were charged with negligent homicide. The 2011 trial drew attention to the growing problem of Internet gambling addiction. It was the first legal case that used Internet gambling addiction and concurrent alcohol abuse as a defense.

Learning from this Case

What’s more, the likelihood of developing a gambling addiction increases 23-fold for those who abuse alcohol.
According to research from The State University of New York, five out of every 100 gamblers struggles with a gambling addiction. What’s more, the likelihood of developing a gambling addiction increases 23-fold for those who abuse alcohol. The tragic death of an innocent 3-month-old infant illustrates the tight and unrelenting grip a gambling addiction can have. It also shows that pathological gambling has far-reaching effects that can force innocent bystanders to pay the ultimate price.

Love Child is now available on HBO. For more information, visit hbo.com.

Related: 8 Pro-Athletes with Outrageous Gambling Addictions

3 minute read 

Addiction can cost up to $200 per day.

What would you do with that money if treatment was affordable? Find out if your insurance covers treatment now!

See if you’re covered
+1 (888) 341-7785 Verify Insurance