Friday, October 02, 2009

No gamble

So a couple of opinion pieces in the Telegram caught my eye the past few days - one by Geoff Meeker and the other by Russell Wangersky. Both are talking about governments depending a little too much on gambling revenues. The BC government is apparently about to slide down the slippery slope of internet gambling. I can only imagine its being discussed in Confederation Building. Although that's not guarantee it'll happen there. I damn VLTs for the evil they are, but at least no government has been quite so stupid as to open a casino in the province, although I'm sure there's been tempting offers.

Nate Silver also takes a look at the possible explosion in casinos in the US as states try to make up for revenue shortfalls in this month's Esquire and why they're probably not going to make as much money as governments might think.

Gambling is simply always destined to be one of those things I'm never going to get. I can count on one hand the number of dollars I've plunked into VLTs over the years. I've probably loss less than that betting on cards. About the only habit either Cathy and I have is the occasional scratch card that finds its way into one of our Christmas stockings and probably around $50 a year we might drop on 6-49 tickets when the jackpot is sufficiently large enough.

I believe it was, of all people, Alec Trebek who summed up my philosophy when it comes to gambling years ago. I'm paraphrasing here, but it is, "If I won $100 it would do nothing for me, but losing $100 would piss me off for weeks."

So I'm destined to never understand people who can sit down for hours at a VLT and blow a paycheck in a few hours. I think if people want to gamble, it's their money and they have the right to spend it however they want. But surely God there's some genius out there who can think of a better system then what's out there now. Especially since governments are not watching out for the people when it comes to gambling. They're far too addicted to the revenues and make only lip service comments when it comes to helping people with gambling addictions.

But the other thing that caught my eye was a link to a story that someone put up on Geoff's Facebook page. It was a link to a book coming out dealing with people who did get lucky and win millions of the lottery and how many of them are completely miserable. Some poking around and you hit stories like this one where some poor bastard is literally not only poor, but had his brother try to kill him in the hopes of inheriting the money.

Again, without sounding too much like a morally superior bastard, I don't get how you can fuck up that much money so badly. Cathy and I have joked, as I'm sure many people have, about what would happen if we won the millions. And we've kind of always been sensible about it. I suspect it would go something like this:

1. Lots of jumping up and down.
2. Phone calls to our parents.
3. Then, honestly, a phone call to a lawyer and another to a financial advisor.
4. Wait about two weeks to claim the money so we can figure out what the steps are going to be in the days afterwards.
4. Have a big party for friends and family once we got back to Newfoundland.
5. Hop on a plane the next day to parts unknown, tell no one but our parents, and then plan how we're going to spend the rest of our lives with this money. Realize that this is a Life Changing Event, along the lines of births, deaths and marriage, and treat it with the respect and care it should be treated.

I don't think that's too mind bogglingly difficult a plan to draft and follow. But maybe it's just me.

Last Five
1. I feel love - Blue Man Group
2. Hey brother - Camper Van Beethoven
3. Tenth Avenue freeze - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
4. The crane wife - The Decemberists
5. Easy plateau - Ryan Adams*


Anonymous said...

I have always considered government run lotteries to be voluntary taxation. I volunteer not to pay.

Dups said...

See here's the weird thing about winning lotteries. In order to win a lottery you have to play. And chances are you have to play often. If you are already wise with your money, you can figure that if you spend $40 a week playing the lotto over your lifetime you will have gambled a *lot* of money.

So chances are you will stay away from the lottery. The people who play the lottery are *already* bad with money and hence winning the lottery is not necessarily a good thing.

What I would like to know in those articles is, how many times did they play, how much money they already gambled etc.

Now yes, there are people who go in once and win and will be like you and Cathy, but I would bet you are the exception and never the rule.


Anonymous said...

You can already gamble online at the ALC.