Sunday, June 16, 2024

Gambling in all its glory

It is shortly after midnight and the night is slowly drawing to an end. But for the night crawlers that frequent the casino scene, you would be forgiven for thinking the night has just begun.

Dumbstruck is an understatement for the feeling that surges through you as the middle aged men load 15 P200 notes into the slot without even batting an eyelid.

Welcome to the way of the gambler. To an average person P3000 means rent, groceries, medical aid installment and probably a new hairstyle. For others, it merely translates into another night on the town.

Witness the desperate chain smoker ambling in front of the casino, willing the sun to rise so that he can walk home after gambling away a whole month’s salary in a matter of hours. He cannot even get a cab home.

Why do people gamble? For the vast majority, gambling is just entertainment. For some however, it can evolve into a sick obsession leading to addiction and, ultimately, the need for rehabilitation.

People can become addicted to any and all forms of gambling. Some types of gambling are more addictive others.

A small win here, a continuous play there ÔÇô the thrill of bonus games. The high volume of near misses and the chance of big jackpots make slot machines amongst the most addictive forms of gambling.

The loud sounds and flashy lights do not help; it all looks like one huge present waiting to be unwrapped and enjoyed by the gambler.

Most of the problem gamblers went through a win phase when they first started betting. Gamblers often consider their wins proof that they are lucky or good at the game, which encourages them to keep playing. Winning gives them such a sense of euphoria that they yearn to feel again.

Media and advertising agencies understand the psychology of gambling and often play upon the stylish, sexy, fashionable image of gambling. In films and on TV, we see characters enjoying a night at the casino or an afternoon at the races.

Most people see gambling as a low-risk, high-yield proposition. That’s illusive for the reality is the polar opposite: gambling is a high-risk, low-yield game of stakes.

The odds always favour the house. It is a business and as all businesses go, there is money to be had by the gambling house.

After the sun comes up, a sordid tale of unpaid bills, debt and disgruntled friends and family unfolds for the gambler. These are often responsible for footing the bills of the gambling rendezvous.

The morbid reality about gambling is that it is addictive and it will render you penniless at some point.


Read this week's paper