Gambling -Addiction Or Choice (part 3)

Feature Article Gambling -Addiction Or Choice part 3
DEC 9, 2010 LISTEN

By Dr. Frank Robert Silverson

Having explored the reasons why people gamble, the enquiry now focuses on investigating why others refrain from gambling either partially or altogether. Georges Pompidou brings some cheer to this article with a witty quote, “There are three roads to ruin; women, gambling and technicians. The most pleasant is with women, the quickest is with gambling, but the surest is with technicians”. In spite of this knowledge, people remain inexorable in their battue for hidden riches, as if to suggest that gambling was a form of shikar. Nevertheless, not all mankind has been beguiled by gambling's allure.

In a nuance from asking people who do not gamble why they did not, I actually posed this question to some of the patrons I encountered during my numerous visits to betting shops in preparation for this discourse. This is cognate with a doctor posing a question to a patient on how to treat his/her condition or how they could have prevented the condition from occurring. The responses garnered suggest a lack of a strong alternative not to gamble. The reasons given bordered on mundane acquisitions inter alia; car, shopping, clothes etc. What astounded me was that they never mentioned anything to do with self-worth or self-esteem.

Considering the multitudinous reasons explored, accounted for by multifarious factors expatiated in Part 2 of this series, it is worth extolling those who have passively or actively abstained from gambling. If you are a gambler reading this article, see whether these cogent reasons could act as a deterrent or bolster your resolve and resoluteness in walking away from gambling.

Reason One - Risk averse
Fear of losing one's money tends to drive people away from gambling. Contrary to most gamblers who are risk-loving, a number of people refrain for being risk averse. For such people any known or deliberate form of risk taking would be unacceptable.

Reason Two - Religion
Being told by a gambling Muslim I met in a betting shop that he should not be gambling as his religion forbids it, not to talk of a pastor who was also there gambling, makes me wonder whether religion still remains an effective deterrent to would-be gamblers. It may be that a number of 'religious' people are embracing gambling in one form or the other. Irrespective of this shift, I can contend that a number of personal acquaintances of mine cardinally abstain on religious grounds.

Reason Three - Doubt
There are those who abstain because they do not believe in gambling. They perceive it as a dubious act to extort money from its patrons. To them, gambling is an artifice that must be avoided at all cost. They would do whatever they can to stand their ground and not fall for this ruse.

Reason Four – Penury
A gentleman I met stated that he was scraping to survive. He was virtually living from hand to mouth and that he could not afford to use any of his meagre funds to gamble. That was too high a price for him to pay. The truth is that some people have had penury bar them from gambling and they would have actually gambled if they had what they consider as loose change.

Reason Five - Not lucky enough
Some people have come to believe that they are not lucky in life. The last thing they would therefore like to do is gamble. They believe that gambling is for others, the so-called lucky ones and not themselves.

Reason Six - Belief in hardwork
A considerable number of people have firmly embraced the idea and belief in diligence and hardwork. They view life as not being a vending machine and that no good thing comes on a silver platter. To them, life is not a bed of roses; no good thing comes as easy as gambling promises. They adopt a noticeably contrasting view to this 'microwave' generation that believes in instantaneity of wealth.

Reason Seven – Money waster
One lady confessed that she desisted from gambling as to her it was a money waster. I am sure a well entrenched gambler would beg to differ. Some people see gambling for what it really is; a trap to gradually take away the money of the masses by promising elusive riches. In a bizarre admission, a gambler actually extolled the work carried out by gambling companies like Camelot. To her, the money actually goes to good uses. I wondered why she would not give her money directly to charity. A number of people who perceive gambling as just a waste of valuable resources therefore abstain from it.

Reason Eight - Time waster
Gambling involves time. It can be a very time-intensive venture that may make it appear a less popular option for some. For some people who have too little time on their hands, gambling may not be a good alternative for them and may lead to them staying away.

Reason Nine – Good understanding
Whereas some people appear to think they really understand gambling and continue to do all they can to 'beat' the system i.e. lotto doctors amongst others, some others are using their understanding to sustain an informed decision to abstain from gambling.

Reason Ten – Very low odds
Continuing from above, the very low odds offered by a number of gambling companies can act as a turn off to some would-be gamblers. Just imagine the odds of winning a share of the National Lottery 'Lotto' jackpot; 1 in 14,000,000. Why would a number of people want to put their money on this? The truth is that gambling is no Father Christmas. The gambling companies are not out there to enrich your pocket. It appears that a good number of people have grasped this concept and are rightly refraining from the act.

Reason Eleven - Fear of addiction
One lady actually confessed that she was afraid she would get addicted to gambling and as such would not even start. She believed that once she gets started there would be no looking back and she would end up being an addict. I have always advocated that you should never start what you cannot finish. Some people have rightly not ventured into this act yet for fear of developing an addiction.

Reason Twelve - Good company
I heard a story of a gentleman who had been following his gambling friends to the casinos. He thought he would not fall for gambling. To him, he was just there to accompany his friends. After trying so hard to stem any form of inveiglement, he finally fell for gambling when they once offered him £500 just for him to have a go. Having won some good money that night, he has never looked back. He regrets taking that offer as he is still trying in vain, based on that success, to recover his own lost money. Birds of the same feathers usually flock together. Just as bad company can influence you adversely, the reverse is true.

Reason Thirteen - Role model status
Some people find themselves in positions of trust and respect which makes gambling a no-option for them to pursue. This does not mean that some of them do not gamble secretly away from any prying eyes. At least, in public they would do well to renounce that habit and not even get associated with it, one way or the other. They would endeavour not to tarnish their role model status with overt gambling.

Reason Fourteen - Self-worth and self-esteem
Having given all the reasons above, I do believe that a very potent reason why a good number of people eschew gambling has to do with the known stigma attached to gamblers. I must unequivocally state that this stigma has been there for generations irrespective of how society appears to perceive gambling now. The gambling companies are trying hard to market gambling as being 'cool'. The truth though is that people like me would never fall for this option no matter how alluring and sophisticated the adverts become. We shall remain absolutely impervious in our resolve as we are wary of gambling's destruction to self-worth and self-esteem for which no convoluted statistic can overshadow.

Gambling has been a bane to a number of people. It has destroyed lives, ruined families and hit society badly. Its detrimental potency cannot be underestimated and hushed in any way form or shape. It is a canker that has contributed in worsening the moral decadence of the day and as such a quiescent response would not suffice. Part 4 will conclude this eminent series by suggesting practical solutions for those with a problem of gambling.

Dr. Frank Robert Silverson is the author of articles like Gambling - Addiction or Choice (Parts 1-4), Contemplations of an extra-marital affair: a didactic (Parts 1-3), The Ultimate Leak, and Free Press or Foolishness. He is currently working on Pornography – The Silent Killer (Parts 1&2), Churches – Commerce or Compassion (Parts 1&2), and Politicians - Machiavellians or Messiahs (Parts 1&2) soon to be published.

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