Saturday, 5 January 2013

The perils of gambling.

The early morning conversation on Twitter started a whole mine field of memories. It appears that shops are turning up, full of gambling machines..several in some towns and I spotted ads on TV this week apart from the Bingo ones which are intended to draw in those whose daily hopes are placed on a chance piece of luck!

Gambling I now know to be an addiction in the same way as alcohol or drugs . When I lived with it it was just a dangerous obsession.

Once my father arrived home from the army, after the war, failing to find work he spent the few coppers he could get together on a shilling each way in the local betting shop.

Finally he got a job breaking up pig iron in the local foundry. This proved his undoing. It was hot work and he needed a drink....the local supplied him with a pint every night to be paid for on Friday after he'd been paid. This led to a serious problem with drink very quickly.

Gambling too became a way of life. He got all the trade papers needed to study form. He knew all the details needed to make educated guesses as to what horse would win what race.

Every Saturday morning he tried to work out a formula, a magic potion to change his luck...

"There has got to be a change soon"he would mutter. A small win would immediately be reinvested...occasionally a bigger win would provide him with enough money to stay drunk all week.

He was not alone....the poor, the disheartened, have to have something to hope for, to believe that one day their luck would change and that a life changing sum of money would fall into their hands and all would again be well in an alien world.

My father was a highly intelligent, well read man.....his misfortune impacted on us all.

Anything that makes gambling easy and encourages it really should not be seen on our TV screens daily.

It's during periods of economic gloom that poor people fall into the cycle of debt and gambling in the hope of a better life ahead. The effect on families stuck in this cycle of misery last a life time.


  1. I totally agree with you. Gambling is one of those addictions that's hard to cure. The betting shops are always full and even in the barber I use, the talk is of soccer and betting.

    Gambling is age old, but I think that making it so easily available via mobile apps etc is a scandal.

    Tighter regulation is needed, but I suspect that the government tax revenues would suffer if they did so.

    1. I suspect you are right revenue must be huge...but it's specially sad where families are suffering real hardship !