video gaming | St. Louis Public Radio

video gaming

Jeremy Murray leads the Francis Howell Central High School esports team review, watching a video of a match they played against students from another high school.
Andy Field | St. Louis Public Radio

In a dark classroom at Francis Howell Central High School, students are gathered around a glowing projector screen displaying a video game. On it, avatars shoot machine guns, blasters and orbs at each other.

The students are watching a video of a match they played against students from another high school earlier in the week — “reviewing tape,” like high school football players do after a game.

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Orville Dash, 81, said he spent about $2,400 a week on video gambling machines at the height of his addiction, in 2015 and 2016. He often played at locations around his home in Maroa, Illinois, a farming community of close to 1,700 in central Illinois.
Whitney Curtis, special to ProPublica Illinois

Orville Dash sits in a recliner with a clipboard. Tall and broad-shouldered, with wispy white hair where a pompadour once rose, the former statistical engineer for Caterpillar removes a sheet of paper, clicks on the flashlight he uses for reading and goes over his numbers.

One spin every six seconds. Ten spins a minute. Six hundred spins an hour.

The 81-year-old widower estimates that, at his worst, in 2015 and 2016, he spent about $2,400 a week on video slot machines, which he played at a hotel and a handful of restaurants and bars around his hometown of Maroa, a farming community of close to 1,700 people north of Decatur in central Illinois.