I remember being at Bible college & having a discussion in an ethics lecture where it felt like it was me versus 50 on the question on whether gambling was wrong. I maintained that it was like many things in life, where the act itself isn’t bad, but it has to be enjoyed within an appropriate context. Take sex for example: sex causes more fights in this world than anything (even religion!) there are scary statistics on abuse, on violence & on the psychological effects of bad relationships, yet we don’t give up on it. We know we just need to make sure that we maintain healthy & appropriate relationships.
Likewise with gambling, I am more than happy to play a little poker with old friends, where the maximum anyone lost on any given night was about $5, half the price of going to a movie, and twice the fun, but at the same time, I know that if I “needed” the high, or if I found myself taking unacceptable risks with money I couldn’t afford, then maybe it has become something that I ought to walk away from.
This is all my way of saying that I’m not against gambling per se.
That said, gambling is starting to bother me. I can live with the fact that the Melbourne Cup is “the race that stops the nation” even if I don’t really care for it. But it does bug me that gambling & gambling lingo is being normalised in our society. I couldn’t watch the Rugby World Cup without seeing incessant gambling ads. Players are trained to talk about how they are or aren’t the “odds on favourites” and now in league, one of the gambling advertisers dresses up in an identical suit to the commentators & they “throw” to him during regular programming.
It bugs me a bit that we can’t enjoy any kind of competitive endeavour without it being something that is gambled on.
It’s not that I don’t want people to have fun, but I think watching rugby is already fun! I love barracking for a team, I invest in my favourite players, and I don’t know why I have to add an element of financial risk to make it exciting.
OK. So did I watch the melbourne cup today? Yeah, I stopped for five minutes. Did I put any money on it? Nope.
But I watched some pretty horses.
P.S. Here’s an interesting infographic I found.