I have long had a problem with gambling despite never having been a gambler myself nor having anyone in the close family that has been either. Even as a child, competitive in many things (especially trying be be clever and out-thinking other people – no wonder I used to be bullied), I had a distaste for it. Just about everyone would do a bet on the Grand National when I was a child, but the idea revolted me.
In later life, I did see the harm gambling can do. I have seen friends harmed greatly by addiction to gambling, families destroyed, careers ruined.
For a while I did the National Lottery but I felt I was doing something wrong rather than contributing to charity. I don’t even buy raffle tickets (if for a good cause, I will just donate the money but not ask for a ticket).
The other night, my wife invited me to a local “race night” at, and in aid of, a local village hall. Friends of ours were going along that were always good company – very important for someone working away so often. I thought I will not need to play, just soak up the atmosphere and watch others, have a good chat.
Sadly, as soon as people got up to bet on the first race (to be randomly chosen once all bets were in) – even though the stakes were low and the whole thing was completely random as there was no link between “horse names, owners and jockeys” and the actual pre-recorded races to be shown, I find myself almost physically sick. Weird. I did have other things on my mind that could have been a factor, but I am not sure.
The fact that it was too noisy to chat and that people were being encouraged to get into the spirit of the races by shouting for their “horses” almost made it a poor evening for me.
Interestingly, my elder daughter, who had dropped us off only a short while before (so we could both drink) had been expecting me to call and came quickly to collect me. She knows me better than I do myself sometimes.