Thursday, March 18, 2004

The Mind of the Gambler

The Mind of the Gambler

It is interesting that the Singaporean government is seriously considering opening a casino on Sentosa island. I know quite a number of Singaporeans who are extremely fond of gambling. Some routinely drive all the way up to Genting to indulge in their passion.

I consider it a great blessing to be completely disinterested in gambling. It can be very addictive; and I possess an in-built early warning system for anything that is even remotely addictive. It is one "pleasure" which I am happy to be completely ignorant about.

Gamblers always lose because they are greedy and blindly optimistic: if they win, they think they can win even more; if they lose, they think they will win everything back the next round. People who bet on the stock market suffer from the same weakness too.

For non-gamblers it is difficult to understand the lure and attraction of gambling. I once asked one of my Singaporean friends (who told me that gambling is better than sex), why is he so fond of gambling when he very well knows that he will end up losing?

Without as much of a hesitation my friend told me that gambling is not about winning money, it is about buying excitement. He knows very well that he will lose money at the casino, but he is merely paying for the thrill like how other people pay to experience the excitement of bungee-jumping or sky-diving. If these "dangerous" sports can be considered healthy activities, why not gambling?

To a gambler, if he loses, it is alright, for he is merely paying the price of the excitement. If he wins, he gets both the excitement and the money. So a gambler can't lose, can he?

There seem to be some perverse logic to it. I've since learnt not to argue with a gambler--you can never win.

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