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Somach: Shrink’s Suicide Top Online Gambling Story of 2010

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:
Jan/03/2011

So what was the biggest story in online gambling in 2010?

The (failed) effort by Senator Harry Reid and Congressman Barney Frank to get the U.S. Congress to legalize online gambling was big news.

So was the State of Washington's (successful) effort to ban its residents from playing online poker.

But the biggest news story in 2010 that involved online gambling was the shocking and unexpected death by suicide of online gambling portal operator Ken "The Shrink" Weitzner.

Weitzner, 55, of Chesapeake, Virginia, USA, created the Internet's second major portal that was devoted to online sports wagering.

The website, called The Prescription (www.therx.com), featured ads for and links to online sports wagering websites, as well as news and info about sports and sports handicapping, plus a forum where readers could post anonymous comments.

The website went online in the late 1990's, shortly after the creation of the Internet's first major online sports betting portal, which was called Bettor's World (www.bettorsworld.com), and for years the two sites were the top two websites of their genre.

Weitzner later sold The Prescription for several million dollars to a Costa Rican online sportsbook, and then started a new but similar portal, called Eye on Gambling (www.eog.com).

Before long, Eye on Gambling was more popular than The Prescription.

Eventually, Weitzner sold a major stake in Eye on Gambling to another Costa Rican online sportsbook, cashed in again and re-established himself as an online entrepreneur and marketing genius.

But "The Shrink," who posed as a psychiatrist but never actually was one, had demons.

He was an addicted degenerate gambler, a drug abuser and an alcoholic with a dozen DUI arrests.

He spoke of his turmoils publicly and pondered on his own posting forum about suicide.

But it was still a shock when on the evening of April 10, 2010, Weitzner and his wife of two decades, Jackie, both killed themselves in their newly-built mansion in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.

Like Adolf Hitler, who swallowed a cyanide pill and then shot himself in the head, the Weitzners wanted to make doubly sure their suicides would be successful.

They both swallowed a fistful of sleeping pills, and then Ken ignited a gas grill inside a small room in their home, and the pair inhaled the noxious fumes and died.

Police ruled the deaths suicides, and an 18-page suicide note signed by the couple was found at the scene.

Despite rumors that it was a mob hit or even that the deaths were faked, it was eventually learned that the Weitzners were in deep financial straits and faced the loss of their home, partly from bad investments and partly from Ken's huge betting losses, and agreed to the double suicide.

Their wills left all their possessions to Jackie's two sons from a previous marriage, as the couple had no children together.

The suicide of "The Shrink" was bizarre and it was macabre.

It was also the Story of the Year in online gambling.

By Tom Somach
Gambling911.com Staff Writer
tomsomach@yahoo.com

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