Gambling and Drinking: What could possibly go wrong?

Dragons Den.jpg

A hotel in a suburb of Sydney which shall remain nameless. Outside, signs advertising TAB, Keno and the Dragons (sic) Den VIP Lounge. There’s an ATM at the entrance in case you didn’t bring any cash… 

The Dragon is the most auspicious animal of the Chinese Horoscope. The signs are written in both Chinese and Korean. The entrance is guarded by two fake Qin Dynasty terracotta warriors…This is a suburb with high populations of Chinese, Korean, Japanese and other Asian people. 

Of course, if you were naïve you would expect the VIP Lounge to contain couches on which Very Important Persons lounge around sipping sherries (or maybe sake), discussing the stock market. But there are no couches, just stools, and they all face gaming machines. 

This is not the stock market, it’s the other type of gambling, the kind that you can’t win. Gaming machines are programmed so that the house must win handsomely. The more you play, the less likely you are to come out ahead. 

Some people enjoy gambling. There is probably no harm in setting a budget for gambling and then going ahead and blowing it, if that’s what you like to do with your money. But as with any potentially addictive practice, like drinking alcohol, quite a lot of people lose control. 

When you combine the two, alcohol and gambling, the result can be tragic. 

At the moment, anyone who watches free to air TV could be forgiven for thinking that our economy relies almost exclusively on gambling. However, in order to get the wealth needed to gamble, we first need to produce things to sell, whether they be fake terracotta warrior statues or NDIS services. We must sell enough of these products to have a little left over to blow on gambling AFTER we have paid the rent, fed the baby, paid our tax etc. 

If you have difficulty controlling impulses, such as the impulse to gamble, drinking alcohol will remove any trace of self control you might have had. 

At the risk of stating the obvious, if gambling is causing you problems, then you have a gambling problem. Alcohol will magnify the problem, unless you drink somewhere that you have no access to any form of gambling, including on-line. Like on the moon.

Some people get into big financial trouble through gambling, in which case they are left with a range of ongoing crises like debt, relationship breakdowns, poverty, homelessness and keeping the wrong company. Professional help is available, however.

This site contains some reasonable advice concerning gambling: 

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/addictions/gambling-addiction-and-problem-gambling.htm 

One prominent point is to restrict your opportunities to gamble, which could mean steering clear of places like the Dragon’s Den or the adjoining bars. 

Gambling is often a way to try to deal with the problems of life, but it ends up increasing them. The solution is to work out what the problems are (boredom, loneliness, stress or, ironically, lack of money are some) and then to substitute positive activities for gambling. 

Such substitute activities need to be meaningful and give you a sense of achievement in the long term, rather than a short term kick. It is best to have a positive approach that taps into your strengths because it is virtually impossible to AVOID gambling stimuli in Australia!

Often people can benefit from the fellowship of others who don’t gamble or who are themselves in recovery from gambling and or drinking. 

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