Going for Broke (2003 TV Movie)
A woman becomes a compulsive gambler and eventually loses everything.
Hired as executive director of a children's charity based in Reno because of her fundraising ability and hard-driving nature, a mother of two finds relief from the stress of her job in Reno's casinos. After gambling away her savings and the loans she got from lying to her parents, she begins to embezzle the charity's funds. Based on a true story.
- As the opening credits start, we see someone making their way into a home's garage. A female hand flicks a light switch. Then as the mystery woman looks around to find old work shirts and rags in one box; then finds another tool box and pulls out a hand scraper. As she makes her way to the back door, flashes of various casinos come to view. Taking a shirt, she uses that and the scraper to block herself inside the garage. Soon, she makes her way into her automobile all the while the glittery visions of video poker and slot machines along with the sounds of casinos continue to haunt her. Turning the key in the ignition, we now see a mid to late 30s woman sitting back in the driver's seat. Disheveled and pale, the dark-haired woman continues to see images of Reno and its neon signs as she closes her eyes as the garage fills with the fumes from the car's exhaustion.
Flashing back to some time earlier, we now hear her voice-over saying that for her, Reno was a fresh start with a new husband, a new job, and a new home. As her husband takes the FOR SALE sign out of the front of the house, the woman (now known as Laura) pulls out a choice of T-shirts for her preteen son, Tommy while teenage daughter Jennifer looks in various boxes for her bracelets. After giving husband Jim the morning paper and a cup of coffee, Laura takes the children to their new schools where Jennifer would rather fit in than make a first impression while Laura feels that Tommy needs to be pushed in order to adjust to the changes of a new school. Now we see Laura in her new position at The Juvenile Chronic Illness Foundation and sets a goal to quadruple their previous donations of $300,000. Co-worker Martine is concerned on how to come up with ideas to achieve that and Laura suggest not ask them for contributions, but for them to ask to make them by putting together of board of directors and give them prestige with one person to help bring in major donors. Martine suggests a man named Brad Bradford and gives Laura his phone number. She immediately calls him.
A couple of days go by and Laura's mother, Lois and stepfather Vic surprise Tommy with a new bicycle which he loves. But Laura is worried about the kids becoming spoiled by their grandparents. Lois assures them they could use some spoiling and Laura tells her that is just exactly what Jim said. Lois then asks how the children are adjusting to their 14-month marriage and the move from Florida; Laura feels that Jennifer misses her friends and is worried that there is no places for kids. Lois then suggest a family-friendly place called Vista's. The next night, Jim and Laura treat the kids to dinner and then ask to go to the arcade. Jim gives them some money and as they head off, Laura goes in the opposite direction towards the casino while Jim settles the check. While in the casino, Laura is introduced to veteran gambler Bella Patchett who offers up a chair with a "hot" slot machine. Jim soon arrives and eggs Laura to give video poker a try. Atfer a quick lesson in how to play, Laura finds herself with some beginner's luck the first draw resulting in 4 whole quarters. Feeling lucky she plunks them in ending with a $100 win on a full house. Laura's voice-over soon says that the win was a rush and by the end of the evening, she had enough winnings to fix the furnace. We soon see Laura sitting at a table in a white room recalling that she was providing for her family and felt high while wanting that feeling again and again. She then asks if she can smoke. Lighting the cigarette, Laura takes a long drag; her hand is shaking as she exhales.
Flashback to another casino where Brad Bradford offers Laura a cigarette. She politely declines saying that she doesn't smoke anymore but insists that he has one. As he smokes, Laura insists that it's not just his donation needed but to Bradford himself insisting that his prominent name can bring in a lot of major names. However, he is certain that Laura is after his phone book and thinks that her proposition is a little too ambitious. She says if you're gonna dream, dream big and as far as the foundation is concerned, he is her big dream to make a difference in children's lives. Amazed by her directness, he accepts. A few days later, Laura finishes a work call with Martine and then continues grocery shopping with her children where she asks how things are going for them at school. Tommy says he checked out the soccer team and he needs a cheque to play while Jennifer signed up for the Drama Club's decorating committee and offers an invitation to a mother-daughter luncheon which Laura happily accepts. On the way out the door, Tommy sees a slot machine and urges Laura to try it. She says it's like throwing money away, but Tommy says that they could split the "jackpot". Laura then drops a quarter in and gives it a spin which comes out a winner and Laura sharing the winnings with both Tommy and Jennifer.
Later, while paying the bills and filling out Tommy's soccer form, Jim comes in and announces he has a new job as a taxi mechanic. To celebrate, he treats the family to a night at Vista's. After dinner and dancing, Jim checks on the kids at the arcade and joins Bella for a few hands of video poker. Laura meets up with them and is asked by Bella to play along and gives her a tip to bet the maximum. Taking Bella's suggestion, Laura places the bet which results in a win of $500...much to Jim's dismay. We then hear Laura's voice-over saying that that was the moment her gambling addiction began and after all the hassles of her job, taking care of her children, the house, and the million and 1 things that she had on her mind, she found that the video machines were her escape. The next day, Laura and Bradford meet to sign the papers of their new partnership and must quickly part to meet plastic surgeon Dr. Davenport for drinks and says that he'd make a good member of the board and makes plans for the three of them to meet. The night they meet, Laura assures Lois -- who watches over the kids -- that she won't be no more than an hour. At the casino, it doesn't take no more than a half an hour to sway Davenport into joining the cause. After their meeting, Laura through the casino to see a few winners and decides to take a chance herself. Later that night, Laura checks on Jennifer who is woken out of her sleep wondering what the time is. Laura tells he it's late and that she couldn't get away from meeting doctors and lawyers. Jennifer asks if she's okay and Laura tells her that she's alright then asks how her daughter's night went. The girl says it was good with her grandmother leaving at ten and Tommy was hungry so she fixed him a sandwich. Laura tells her daughter that she is a good girl, kisses her and tells her to go back to sleep. As Jennifer settles back down, we see the time on her clock: 2:40 a.m.
The day of the mother-daughter luncheon arrives and Martine gives Laura a bouquet of red roses as a surprise for Jennifer. Laura offers to pay for them only to find she has no cash and asks to pay Martine back the following day knowing that she's good for it. As Laura makes her way to her car, she looks over to the casino across the street. She enters just to use the ATM, only to see Bella who asks her to play with her. Laura tells her that she has a family commitment, but Bella frowns on that not wanting to talk about her own family issues on how she's blowing her inheritance she got out of her late husband and yet, she calls gambling a social thing. After a deal of encouragement, Laura agrees to just a few minutes of fun. Those moments turned to an hour and Laura leaves after a run of bad luck. When Bella asks her if she lost much, she assures it wasn't a lot. But mutters to herself that it was just a thousand dollars. Her voice-over says that the time got away and you can blink your eye to find it is an hour. Adding we've all gotten distracted and missed an appointment, but this wasn't business (as we see upon her return to the car, a heartbroken Laura looking at Jennifer's roses wilting in the passenger's seat) it was her daughter. Laura arrives at the school to find Jennifer dismantling the flowered set and told her that she was delayed at work. Jennifer then tells her that she called her and she wasn't there. Laura lies to her by saying she was in conference and then offers her a ride home, but Jennifer declines saying she has to finish her work and will take the bus. Laura then promises her that a moment like that will never happen again. Laura, in a flash forward scene said that when she was gambling she didn't think about anything but the "bullets", the coins and, spinning images; telling herself recreational and that it was human nature to be hooked. Going back to that same day, Laura looks down at a few unpaid bills wondering why they are so far behind as Tommy walks into the door telling that the cheque for the soccer team wasn't sent in. despite her assurance that it was sent out, she soon snaps at him that she'll write another cheque for to give the next day. She then apologizes to him saying that she's under pressure at work. Setting the bills aside, she reaches for a cigarette. Later, Jim comforts her after her "small corner of Hell" day and offers to help out while she's busy at the office. Laura offers up a date night that evening by putting the kids to bed early and playing soft music. However, Jim declines due to another double shift.
Some time go by and Laura starts branching out to other casinos. Her voice-over says that the machines were called the crack cocaine of gambling because they were cheap and had the instant gratification with the lights flashing and bells ringing which didn't matter much where it was just the next hand she cared about more than lights. Meanwhile, Jim is getting himself ready for work while Tommy is having a piece of pie for his dinner. Jim doesn't feel like it counts as decent saying that he needs three square meals a day. Laura arrives home with a new dress from a pricey boutique with "a check she wasn't expecting" from work. Jim tells Laura not to forget to pick up Jennifer at the recreational center and give Tommy a proper dinner then leaves for work. Laura tells Tommy that they can both use a treat and offers to take him out to Vista's to eat. While at the casino, Laura buys cigarettes and meets with Bella who was spending her time playing "the big boys" downtown. Laura says that its too rich for her blood, but Bella tells that you got to play big to win big. Tommy comes up to her saying he's finished with his hamburger and is ready to leave where he has to study for a math test in the morning. Laura assures him that she'll only be a minute. Bella intervenes asking if Laura can handle her gambling. Laura tells her that she's fine and that this was a vacation from her problems while placed a string of rotten luck. Meanwhile, Jennifer is waiting outside the rec center waiting for her mother and is approached by a couple of older boys of whom introduces himself as Conner then offers a ride home. She tells him that her mom will be arriving shortly and then reaches for her cellphone...which is continuously rings in Laura's purse while continues playing video poker as Tommy sleeps in a nearby booth. Conner comes to Jennifer and offers to drive her home which she hesitantly accepts as we see Laura still sitting at her machine.
Morning comes, and Jim sees Tommy sleeping in his clothes from the day before. He told Jim that he was too tired to change where he and his mother were at Vista's until 3 a.m. Jim tells him to get a little more sleep while he talks to Laura. Soon, he sees Jennifer (who was eavesdropping on their conversation) in the hallway and then asks if her mother picked her up last night assuring that she was on time. Noticing that something doesn't gel, Jim goes into their bedroom to finds Laura getting ready to work. He then questions her about last night's events and tells that the family is starting to recognize "the gambling thing". Snapping back, Laura tells him that it's all under control and that it was only a few coins she plays and got them the new furnace and the occasional new dress. Jim wants to talk about it more, but Laura brushes him off to make some "real" money at work. She soon sees Jennifer with a laundry basket of clean clothes she herself washed for her and Tommy. Laura tells that she's a great kid and then starts making an excuse to why she didn't meet her at the rec center. Jennifer says a lie isn't necessary where she knew of her whereabouts and didn't tell Jim either. Laura assures her it was the truth, but Jennifer know differently. Laura tells that it will never happen again while Jennifer takes Tommy his T-shirt.
Laura's voice-over says that she was becoming someone she didn't recognize with her marriage coming apart at the seams; Jennifer doing the laundry and fixing meals in her absence; and was away more and more at several downtown casinos. She could have flown to Paris to escape her unraveling life but the slot machines were the closest resort. But with the nickels and quarters she kept plunking into them, she didn't realize that it all adds up and it is only spare change. Then the next thing she finds that the bank account is empty and she is lying to everyone she loves. One night in bed, Laura finds herself in withdrawal with the sounds and flashes of the casinos. Soon she goes into Jennifer's bedroom and is tempted to take the money on her nightstand while she sleeps, but tearfully pulls herself away and leaves.
On Thanksgiving Day, Laura's mother Lois and stepfather Vic visit and as the boys watch football on television, the women are getting dinner prepared. When Lois lights a cigarette, Laura asks for a drag. She is then questioned by Lois to when she started smoking and tells that she has one now and again to relax her. Lois notices that something is not right with her daughter. Laura tells her that money is tight and is waiting for a reimbursement from the foundation's latest fundraiser. Lois tells her that she was never one to manage her own money. Unfortunately, Laura doesn't want to be lectured. Then she asks for a loan of $10,000 to get by for the next few months, but, Lois says it's too much money where she and Vic are on a fixed income and had always helped out with a loan for the down payments. Laura tells her with the bills coming in at once, she'll pay it back quickly even if it was not $10,000, any amount her mother could spare will suffice. Lois goes to her purse, pulls out her checkbook and writes a cheque which she gives to her daughter. Laura then tells her not to tell Jim about it for fear that his pride with be hurt. During dinner, Laura's voice-over said that if anyone looked at them that Thanksgiving Day, they'd see a normal family with the typical problems. Then she says from the outer exterior is was too close to perfect, but on the inside, she was screaming. Later that day, Jim and Tommy are playing football while Laura pulls out of the driveway to go for a grocery run for mayonnaise and will be back soon. Her voice-over says they suspected where she was going and was good at fooling even herself with her lies. Just as they resume their football game, Jennifer tells Jim that the cable just went out leaving Tommy disappointed. Then we hear Laura saying that she lost everything she had just borrowed from her mother. Jim goes into Laura's study to call her, but then sees a stack of unpaid bills. He then decides to look in her desk and files to find more overdue bills and an empty carton of cigarettes with a matchbook from a nearby casino. Soon he finds her playing and confronts her about her lie and then causes a scene as he drags an embarrassed Laura out of the gaming area. He pulls the bills out of his coat pockets and ask if she tucked them away they'd disappear. She tells him that she forgot about them and is willing to pay them. Jim tells her that there is nothing in the bank account and is working his ass off wondering where it all goes. Then he tells the truth: she is addicted to the machines which she vehemently denies and has been to busy with being a success at her job. And she tell him she is on her way to the bank and to follow her.
Working late one evening at the foundation, Laura is anxious for just one big jackpot, just one. In an act of desperation, Laura pulls out her check ledger and on another piece of paper, she perfects Bradley Bradford's signature. Then she makes out a cheque with both her signature and the forged one of Bradford's. Flash to Laura at another desk where after she started stealing from the children, she couldn't stop. And because she was so good at her job, nobody at the foundation suspected something was wrong. It was like a juggling act keeping the creditors at bay by telling lies today to cover yesterday's lies and the ones to be told the next day. At a fundraiser held in a casino, Laura is being praised by Bradford, by her flattery is distracted by the familiar sounds of the slot machines which leaves her trembling. She assures him that she's all right saying that it's just because of the air conditioning and goes off to tell them to turn it down. However, she makes her way to the ladies' room to pull herself together. Martine comes in to check on her and tells her that she has shaky and out of sorts for weeks. Laura then tells her a lie that her mother is sick in the hospital, but will be okay and will deal with it herself. Then tells Martine to keep the happy faces up as they make their with donors and their checkbooks.
Days later, Jennifer is at a restaurant with a couple of her friends who tell her that she's lucky that she can come and go as she pleases and doesn't care what her mother thinks. She excuses herself and meets up with Conner who makes out with her at the back door of the restaurant. Meanwhile, an antsy Laura stares at her ticking clock waiting for four o'clock to come. She opens up her ledger and proceeds to write another cheque. Later that night, Jennifer is seen walking down the street alone when a police cruiser pulls up beside her asking if she was lost. After she smart mouths the officers, one tells her that it's 1 a.m. and way past curfew. She tells them that her mother forgot to pick her up and the cops offer to take her home for fear of being mugged. Upon her return home, Jennifer finds Tommy all alone while Jim was off at work. He tells her that he told Jim that he'd be fine on his own until Laura came home, but still hasn't returned. He also tells his sister that someone took his bike from the garage. Jennifer assures her younger brother that Jim will figure it out and that everything with turn out fine. She then goes and fixes him something to eat.
Laura receives a note from Jennifer's school to meet with her principal where she had been absent for a month and when she does show up she is disrupted in the classroom and smoking in the hallways. After school ends for the day, Laura confronts Jennifer who then lashes out at her mother thinking that she has much better things to do than deal with her problems like happy hour at the casinos. Laura tells her that work keeps her busy, but Jennifer tells her that she knows what is going on and is tired of covering for her lies. Laura wants to know what her daughter, but the sullen teen walks away in a huff. She catches up to Jennifer in the hopes to talk to her. The girl had been telling Jim Laura was at work, the neighbors she was sleeping, bragging to her friends that her mother was a big hot shot executive, and she tells Tommy that things are okay when clearly not. She then tops it off by telling her mother that it is unfair at 14 to be doing all the cleaning and cooking as well as making sure Tommy does his homework. Though Laura is appreciated by all Jennifer has done, she still makes up excuses. Unfortunately, Jennifer not longer cares if her mother doesn't where she has been spending more time at the casino than at home. Laura tells that she can easily quit. Jennifer retorts by asking her to fix them dinner and asks when was the last she spent any time with Tommy and Jim (whom she feels sorry for the most) and tells her that she is not like any of the other mothers who care and have been miserable since they've moved from Florida. Laura angrily says she is tired about hearing about Florida. But Jennifer snaps back saying her hates her and is a terrible mother. The end result is Laura's hand across her daughter's face. Upset, Jennifer walks away as a sobbing Laura tells her "I'm sorry, baby."
Flash to the white room, where Laura said she apologized to Jennifer promising that it will never happen again. But promises came easily and she never followed through saying it was simple to ignore them and escape them at the slot machines. And she could find a reason, she could always find one whether she was tired, hungry, happy or mad; if Jim or someone else at work upset her, she felt it was their fault she was gambling with the days and weeks going by in a haze. Now we see Laura in a crowded casino making her way into the area with high limit slots. She sits down at a $10 video poker machine, lights a cigarette and starts to play. Meanwhile, Jennifer is walking down the street with boyfriend Conner. He asks how things are with her and her mom, but replies that they stay out of each other's way. Suddenly, something catches Jennifer's eye: she sees Tommy's bicycle in a pawn shop window. She steps inside the store to inquire about the stolen bike.
Back at the casino, Laura is down to her last 50 bucks and is looking for just two hearts to keep her afloat...only to end up a royal flush and a jackpot win of $50,000! Overjoyed, she poses for photographs with the manager who gives Laura a complimentary suite for the weekend. Jim arrives to her hotel room where she flashes the winning money in front of him saying that it's going to be a vacation for the whole family. But Jim says they don't need a vacation, only money to pay the bills. He then asks where the CD player and his father's watch are then pulls pawn tickets out of his shirt pocket and says they are taking the winnings to pay off their bills. Oblivious to their financial strains, she accuses him of spying, but he tells her he found after finding Tommy's bicycle in the pawn shop which he thinks is very pathetic. Laura tells him that the big win solves all their problems, but Jim shuts her down by that it doesn't help where he finds that it is a miracle that they still have lights and water after calling the bank and the credit card companies to find there is nothing left because of her habit which she still denies. Laura tells him that if she is a disappointment to him, maybe it would best to leave. She gives him $5,000 and tells to him to go home and pack saying she is better off without him. He tells her that she needs some serious help and gives her a pamphlet for Gamblers Anonymous; only to tell him that her only problem is Jim and angrily tells him to get out. Jim throws the money back to her saying he is sick of watching her throw their lives and if she doesn't get help for her sake, to do it for her kids (who says he'd never let her see if they were legally his). Laura returns to the casino, where she is given a platter of silver dollars and starts feeding them into the machine. Meanwhile at the Bancroft house, Jim packs a bag while Jennifer and Tommy tearfully watch. Jim assures them that it's only temporary where he and their mother need time to cool off and that if they need anything, they call and rely on him and their grandparents. He hugs both of them goodbye and leaves while Jennifer continues to cry. Back at the casino, we see the empty platter and hear Laura's voice saying that it took her less than an hour to lose all of her $50,000. Dejected, Laura leaves the gaming area.
Now at the office, Laura tells Mr. Bradford that there had been unexpected expenses and with the fundraiser months away, was wondering if he could write another cheque to the foundation. He is hesitant and is about to answer when a phone call from Jennifer interrupts them. She tells her mother that there is no food in the fridge and the electric company needs payment by 5 p.m. the next day. Laura tells her that she has to call back, but Bradford tells her to take the call and leaves her office. Laura tells her that it wasn't the best time for the call. Jennifer asks when would have been the time and tells her that Jim wouldn't let them starve. But she threw him away and wondered if they were next. Laura assures that it things will be all right and that she'll write a cheque to the power company and go the supermarket and stock up. After hanging up with Jennifer, Laura reaches for her purse to find her wallet empty. She stands to lock her office's door, returns to her desk, and pulls her ledger out to write yet another forged cheque. At the supermarket, she fills her cart with groceries while flashes of slots come about with every glance at fruit. Soon, she spots a pair of slot machines and the familiar sounds continue in her mind. Walking over, she places her hands on one and the sounds stop as a wave of calm washes over her. She pulls a $20 dollar bill out of her wallet, vowing that she'll stop after one "decent" jackpot, and slides it into the machine. But the result is the same with every spin. The cycle continues as Laura puts more 20's and $50 dollar bills into the machine without so much as a winning line. Noticing she is down to last 20 bucks, Laura takes a chance, only to cash whatever small change is left. Horrified by what she's done, Laura backs away from the machine and walks away from her full cart. She returns home to her children who are sitting in front of the television. Despondent and incoherent, she hands them a grocery bag with just a head of lettuce and a box of instant oatmeal. They tell that it's great and they love oatmeal as Laura walks off towards her bedroom. Jennifer follows her down the hallways begging her mother (who is crying behind her closed door) to talk to her. Later that night, while the children sleep, Laura heads to the garage. after sealing up the back door, Laura climbs into the car and turns the key. She leans back and closes her eyes, but after a minute, Laura's eyes pop open and she comes to her senses. She rushes out of the car, pulls open the back door, and takes deep breaths of the night air sobbing. Her voice-over says that suicide was her only solution at the time. However, the thought of her children finding her dead was too unbearable and she couldn't put her children through that kind of pain.
Early the next morning, Laura asks Martine to meet with her a diner, hoping to confess to her about her gambling problem. But a phone call from Martine's car repairman leaves Laura losing her nerve as the feeling of withdrawal take over. Martine notices her shaking, thinking it is because of recent strife in the Bancroft home and Laura's mother's "illness". She assures that everyone -- including Mr. Bradford -- are in her corner. Then tells her that Laura is a good person who too hard on herself. Meanwhile, Jennifer calls Jim and asks if she and Tommy (who is mindlessly sitting in front of the television) to come and live with him. Unfortunately, he is unable to take them where he is already staying with a friend from work. Jennifer then asks if Jim could at least take Tommy where he doesn't have any friends. Later, we see Laura at the bank taking a loan out on the house while Jim takes the children to Lois's. Lois is persistent about talking about Laura's problem, but he is more concern about the kids even though he has to go to work.
Now we see Laura at the casino where the luck is rotten and looks down at her empty wallet. Frustrated, she leaves the casino and arrives at her mother's to pick up the children. However, Jennifer says they don't want to go home and Lois insists that they should stay. Angrily, Laura asks if she believes any of Jim's "lies" and yet, Lois feels that the children needs a good meal and some time away from their mother. Laura grabs Jennifer begging her to tell her grandmother that it's all a mistake. But the girl pulls away from Laura's grip and goes back into the house as Tommy watches. Feigning off the tears, Lois closes the door as Laura shouts that she has no rights to keep her.
Later that night, Laura meets Bella at Vista's saying that she's lost her husband and kids. Then she asks Bella for a small advance against future winnings and they could partner and share the wealth. However, Bella declines where they don't have that kind of friendship. She then tells that it's not smart to do such a thing when gambling gets that serious she should stop especially where she had seen it coming for a while, but felt it wasn't her place to say anything. Laura vehemently tells her it was Bella's fault for getting her in this situation in the first place. Bella calls it a crock. Then Laura says she never would have started if not for the first night they met. But Bella stops her right there saying that she has her share of problems and doesn't need one more. Laura pleads to help her vowing that if she hits one big jackpot, she can walk away. Bella tells her it's that feeling that keeps her back to the casino every time and yet, she can stop today doesn't need the money where her gambling is as "social" as dancing (even if she doesn't dance). After placing money on the table to pay for her dinner, Bella offers Laura this piece of advice: "You want to know how to double your money in Reno? You fold it in half and put it back in your purse." With those wise words, she also tells her to pull herself together. As Bella turns and into the casino, Laura shifts in the booth, eyeballing the money beside Bella's check.
A few nights later, Jennifer sneaks out of her grandmother's house to meet Conner who drives her to a rave. He offers a vodka shot and Jennifer takes a sip. He leans in to kiss her and then she finishes the shot quickly. Conner asks how life out in the suburbs for her. Jennifer says that it is so boring where there are no other kids her age and wants to see where life takes her. After taking a shot, Conner suggests another place they can go. Jennifer takes another shot of vodka and continue their make out section. The next morning, Laura is at work when Martine introduces her to Ken Dowling from the Maine chapter of The Juvenile Chronic Illness Foundation who is conducting a series of random audits. Alarmed, Laura excuses herself to the file room where she goes into a panic attack. Moments later, we see a dejected Laura in her office when a knock comes on the door. A worrisome Martine enters followed by Dowling who says they need to talk. Martine asks Laura if there is some kind of mistake, but Laura shakes her head.
Later that day, Lois arrives at the Bancroft home to find Laura sitting on the sofa who confesses that she is losing the house and the foundation is bringing her up on criminal charges. Lois tells that she didn't lose it, but threw them away. She then berates her daughter that it wasn't the way she raised her daughter. Laura tells her mother that she had expected too much from her and wanted to tell her about her gambling. But Lois cuts her off with an even greater concern: Jennifer didn't come home last evening. Unfazed, a tearful Laura tells that she can't stop gambling and when she does, she feels like is unable to breathe leaving she sweaty and shaky. Lois says she will find Jennifer and will take her back to her house. She also tells her that it would be best not to come over for a while not until she puts her life back together. Laura apologizes to her mom, but she doesn't accept saying that she is not sure whether to hold her or slap her. Laura begs her to hold. Both sobbing, the two share an embrace.
As Lois exits Laura's house, Conner's car pulls up and Jennifer steps out. Lois asks where she had been, but the teenager assures that it's okay where her mom doesn't care. However, it's not alright with Lois, not where Jennifer is living in her house and they need to have a talk. Jennifer declines saying that she needs to be elsewhere and wants to do it another time. Unfortunately, Lois feels that it is the right time to discuss things. She says that her mother's problem doesn't have to be hers unless she lets it saying that she is as strong-willed as Laura was. But Jennifer tells her mother is not that strong to walk away from a machine. Even though she is not certain about all that has happened, Lois says to Jennifer that she and Tommy are good kids and they deserve a chance. She then asks if they miss having someone around who cares about where they go and what they do. She assures her that she and her grandfather do care. Jennifer turns and walks towards Conner. Seconds later, a scoffing Conner climbs back into his car as Jennifer tells her grandmother that it is time to go home.
Now we see Laura sitting at the table where we find that she has been speaking to those in attendance at Gambler's Anonymous. She said had stolen over $100,000 from the foundation; she has no job, no husband, and hasn't seen her children in over a month saying it was her own choice where she is toxic to her family. She adds that she has been seeing a therapist to try and understand what caused her to do the awful things she had done. and the only thing she could do to set things right was by telling the truth.
Back to the day of Laura's rock bottom, Tommy and Jennifer their mother how much she stole and she replies that it was big enough to send her to prison. Tommy is scared to see his mother go to jail while Jennifer is angry with the embarrassment that her crime will end up on the news. Finally, Laura is standing in front of the judge who says that many has suffered from her actions and did damage to a charitable organization focused on society's most vulnerable. For that, the judge sentences Laura to 15 months in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release. Along with that, Laura must pay restitution in the amount of $115,000. As the judge dismisses the case, Laura turns to see a disappointed Martine leave the courtroom as the bailiff prepares take Laura away. She asks for a moment to speak with her kids. He leads her to them and Laura tells Tommy and Jennifer that they deserved so much better. Tommy assures them that they'll be okay. Laura looks down at Jennifer saying that if could take all back, she'd swear it would be different. The sullen girl rises to her feet asking why she should believe anything she says. Laura's reply: "I love you." Jennifer reaches out for her and wraps her arms around her mother as Tommy stands joins them in the hug. Laura tearfully tells them that she is sorry while Lois breaks down crying as Vic consoles her. The bailiff pulls Laura away and escorts her out of the courtroom while her children watch. Laura turns back one last time to look at them as we see a sobbing Jennifer who continues to comfort her younger brother in her arms.
A brief epilogue says that the experience of "Laura" resulted in all Nevada casinos being required by law to post the telephone number for Gamblers Anonymous should any of their patrons need it.