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Gambling Is
A Bad Bet

Written Sunday 11/19/06 by Joe Rossini

We live in a world of an overabundance of data and statistics. On the Internet, one can usually find data and statistics on just about any topic your mind can conjure up. However, the internet is dry as a bone on how much regular people bet and lose in the hundreds of ways you can gamble your money away. Before writing this lesson, I wanted to present the horrifying data I know exists somewhere. However, my searches returned a meaningless dribble of data and statistics. I wonder why? I did happen to find a few quotes about gambling that were worth repeating:

  • The safest way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket. By Kin Hubbard
  • There is a very easy way to return from a casino with a small fortune: go there with a large one. By Jack Yelton
  • Depend on the rabbit's foot if you will, but remember it didn't work for the rabbit. By R.E. Shay
In my research, I did find a few tidbits on Wikipedia regarding the much loved lottery games that I believe are played in most states today. Although I couldn’t find how much is actually bet and lost on a state by state basis, I thought the odds were quite interesting to discuss. In a typical 6 from 49 lotto (6 numbers are drawn from 49 and if the 6 numbers on a ticket match the numbers drawn, the ticket holder is a jackpot winner), the odds of being the jackpot winner are approximately 1 in 14 million. To put these odds into context, suppose you buy one lottery ticket per week? Would you believe it could take a weekly buyer 14 million weeks or roughly 269,000 years to win the jackpot once – using these odds? And better yet, if you purchased a “Powerball” multi-state lottery ticket in the United States, Wikipedia states, your chances are 1 in 146 million or ten times worse than the former. I’m not sure whose statistics these are. However you have to wonder why hundreds of thousands of people travel hundreds of miles and stand in line for hours, just to buy these “Powerball” lottery tickets!

The much loved lottery games will not be outdone by Casino gambling, Para-mutual games like horse racing, dog racing, or Jai alai; or Sports Betting. These games plus all the illegal gambling that goes on have to clean people’s pockets of hundreds of billions of dollars annually. The numbers are so staggering that they are almost impossible to come by. Add the ridiculous odds to the staggering dollars lost, and hopefully it may open the eyes of new gamblers and convince them to stay away from betting. Unfortunately, like smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, gambling is every bit as addictive and every bit as destructive to the lives of gamblers and their families. Like all dangerous addictions, the best way to avoid them is not to begin!

Of course avoiding the allure of beautiful casinos all around the country is quite difficult. If you are involved in any profession, chances are you will have to attend a conference or trade show being held in Las Vegas; Atlantic City or one of about 100 casino venues around the country. The grand prizes really go to the visitors who could enjoy the conference; enjoy the restaurants; enjoy the fantastic entertainment; enjoy the facilities; AND KEEP THEIR EXTRA MONEY IN THEIR POCKETS. Not easy…….but definitely do-able. I say this because I lived minutes from many wonderful casinos which had all of the above! I enjoyed all they had to offer regularly. I paid for every show and dinner; every room and never received a comp. Paying full price and enjoying all the amenities these casino’s had to offer over a fifteen year period, without depositing a single dime into their coffers – left me with money in my bank account instead of Harrah’s, Bally’s and Caesars World. A lesson well worth mentioning.

When it came to lotteries, horse racing and sports betting….ditto! Maybe I just didn’t have the burning desire to bet. Or maybe I just worked too hard to earn my money and wasn’t willing to part with it so easily – against such ridiculous odds. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve bet a few bucks in my lifetime. Maybe years ago I bet a lunch in a bowling or tennis match with a buddy to keep it interesting. But if I am going to bet a few bucks, I’m going to have something to do with the outcome – using my skills or knowledge of the game. I’m not going to bet my hard earned money on the Eagles beating Tennessee on Sunday and then lose because Donavan McNabb got hurt during the game. I don’t have any control over those odds. If I play lousy and lose in Tennis...oh well I’ll just lick my wounds and enjoy having lunch with my friend. Chances are I would have fought for the lunch check anyway!

It should be everyone’s goal in life to become financially independent. That means being able to live off the assets you accumulate during your lifetime. The only way this can happen is to save as much money as possible every single year – beginning as soon as you start working full time – and investing wisely! Saving and investing is never easy. But it’s necessary if you want to become financially independent. You can’t save if you become a gambler. Those who gamble will occasionally win. Then they will eventually gamble their winnings away – instead of saving! Just say no… to gambling in any way, shape or form. Say YES to saving, and become financially independent!

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