place your bets… what are the true costs of gambling?

By Daniel Cheater

Should we gamble? Is it good clean fun or are we asking for trouble?

anne gambling
Photo used under creative commons by greengardenvienna

My name is Daniel Cheater and I am addicted to gambling.

Well, not addicted, but I enjoy it; there is no better feeling in the world than when your accumulator comes in at the last minute or your dog crosses the line first.

Everyone has their vices don’t they? Some of my friends smoke, some drink too much, some spend excessive amounts on clothes or gadgets they don’t really need or want. I gamble.

Last weekend I put the princely sum of £5 on Preston, Sheffield United, Southend and Cheltenham to do the business with a return of £59.

I don’t think £5 gets you a carrier bag in Topshop, is less than the cost of a packet of fags these days and will just about get you a pint and a half in my local.

I think losing £5 is worth risking for the chance of winning £59, and last week it was: happy days!

If only it was so simple.

That was probably my first win in two months. I’m not mathematician but a fiver here and there every week for two months exceeds my £59 jackpot.

I compensate by telling myself that it’s okay, that this money gives me a vested interest in the football over the weekend, that it is the same as spending it on a DVD or something similar. But I know deep down it isn’t it.

I think I do it because you truly cannot beat that spark of winning, that jolt of lightening when you succeed and someone owes you, not the other way around.

The problem is, that jolt can fade extremely quickly when you win too much too soon. When I was at university, we were in the bookies everyday, betting on horses, dogs, and playing the roulette machines.

I used to enjoy it for a time before I realised one of my best friends was becoming addicted. He would sneak in on the way to uni, sneak in on the way home; he would lie about going there.

At one stage he had two months rent sitting in the machine, ready to be lost at the push of a button.

It had to stop, and with a bit of support it did, but it taught me the valuable lesson and what is essentially rule number one: that you should never bet what you can’t afford to lose.

So I leave it to you, readers of Brighton Lite, good clean fun or an accident waiting to happen? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. Or give you the latest odds on the match tonight…


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