What is it about the casinos that draw people to it? Is it the thrill of risk-taking, the hunger for becoming rich, or simply the pleasure of indulgence?
Casino, and gambling as such, is something, which has never interested me too much. Even though I have frequented casinos a lot because of the love that my friends had for roulette and poker, it has never been a place, which would draw me towards itself. Yes, the first few times I visited the casino, it did entice me a lot. The machines, the games, the chips, the way people would bet, and the excitement of winning…
I have hardly played on my own money, and was only a kind of Lady Luck for my friends. Call it beginner’s luck, or whatever, every bet I placed proved to fruitful for all my friends. Somehow, every chip that touched my fingers came back with more. This was one joy that took me to the casino, the bliss of making people happy.
My trips to the casino started becoming more frequent, and I started enjoying it when someone’s money would double or triple by my side. We were all just postgrad students, so the bets we placed were not that high, and a little extra pocket money never hurts anyone.
But, luck can only be by one’s side for some time, and gluttony is a vicious virtue. Soon, the money-multiplying spree started running out, and I was sure that this stint had to end when my friends started losing all the money they had won. As I was not the one whose money was on stake, all I could do was make them understand and tell them to stop gambling. I started refusing the casino trips and was extremely clear about my discontentment when my friends couldn’t let go of the addiction. I believe it also proved beneficial for sometime, but I know how tough it was for the people I so dearly loved to stop themselves from going to the casino. So, I don’t blame them for the times they were drawn towards it.
It is easy to get addicted to something, and hard to get out of it. An addiction initially brings joy to a person, until they become habituated to it and then it slowly starts sucking the happiness out of them. At this stage, no matter how hard a person tries to get out of it, he cannot, because at a psychological level, he believes that this is the thing that brings out the best in them. Combine that with gluttony and the need to recover previous losses, and you have a nasty circle (Known as a “chakravyuh” in Hindi) from which it is difficult for a person to get out unharmed. This person is then trapped, and now believes that he had a good day at the casino even when he loses a small amount and is extremely happy when the returns simply even out.
Gambling has destroyed lives, families and relationships, all around the world. It feels bad, to be around people when they are losing in the casino. The sense of losing money brings out the worst in people. The most cheerful of the people can become extremely irritated when losses are all that they have. They start blaming themselves, and their loved ones for every little loss.
I was lucky enough to be around people who at least realised that they had a problem, and tried to improve it, even though they often failed miserably. The art of money management does not come naturally to people, not when they are gambling. A lot of people I know ended up getting themselves banned from the casino with the self-realization of their addiction. And a lot of people I know, few extremely close to me, still struggle to let go…