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"She played her life away ... one coin at a time."
Laura (Burke) is a successful businesswoman with two children, Jennifer (Ellen Page) and Tommy (Matthew Harbour). She marries Jim Bancroft (McRaney), and the family moves from Florida to Reno, Nevada, where Laura has landed a job as head of fundraising for the Children's Chronic Illness Association.Out on the town one evening, Laura decides to give a video poker machine a try. She makes the acquaintance of Bella (Joyce Gordon), a sweet older lady and casino semi-regular, on whose advice Laura steps "upward" to slot machines. After experiencing a bit of beginner's luck, it isn't long before she has become hopelessly addicted to gambling, draining her family's bank account and even stealing from her kids, pawning Tommy's bicycle at one point. Her performance as both a parent and a career woman quickly go to pot, which becomes apparent after she wins $50,000 by managing a very rare royal flush on a video poker machine, then loses it all in a matter of minutes. When confronted by Jim (who's working double shifts as a mechanic to keep the family going) about her addiction, Laura blames him for not making enough money, and later kicks him out of the house.Left to fend for herself, Laura manages to scrape together enough money for a grocery shopping excursion, but gets distracted by the slot machines in the local supermarket and is left afterwards with only enough for a box of oatmeal.Desperate to feed her insatiable gambling habit, Laura is able to get her mother to loan her $10,000. She quickly loses this as well. She then attempts to borrow from Bella, who protests that she doesn't know Laura well enough to do this. Laura then angrily blames Bella for introducing her to the slots. Bella points out that she didn't cause Laura's addiction and reminds her "there's only one sure way to double your money in Nevada: fold it in half, then put it back in your purse".Her addiction now completely out of control, Laura embezzles $100,000 from her charity. Having lost everything (including her house, to foreclosure, and her kids, who have gone to live with her mother), she finally is caught when an auditor comes by her office and discovers her dishonesty. After initially attempting to commit suicide, Laura decides to own up to her misdeeds, but is found guilty in court and sentenced to fifteen months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution. The final scene shows Laura bidding a tearful farewell to her children before being led away to serve a 15 month prison sentence.
Video : 2004-02-25 : Argentina
Video : 2004-03-10 : Italy
Television : 2003-07-14 : United States of America
Television : 2007-11-22 : Hungary