I know somebody.
Not somebody who knows somebody.
But I know somebody personally.
He has/had a problem with gambling.
Ok so you know, you watch shows and wonder, seriously, who loses control when gambling. Like you bring a few hundred or maybe a thousand dollars into a casino and you play, you win, you keep playing til you lose, and that's the end of it right? How does people get into problem gambling? Who in any logical world would borrow money to gamble? These folks who borrow money to gamble MUST only happen in shows right? Why would anyone get themselves into such trouble? Everyone knows the casino always wins right?
HELL! I was dead WRONG!
People DO have gambling issues. I don't know how common it is. But there ARE illogical people around.
So I went with this guy and some other folks and my wife overseas. We stayed at a hotel with a casino. We knew we were going to gamble and enjoy ourselves. Win or lose nevermind.
Well by the second day, this guy lost SGD18,000 and was going around the group borrowing money. Apparently some of the other folks in our group knew of this guy's gambling issues and still loaned him money. He would request that they use their credit card at the ATM machine to withdraw money. Incurring the admin fees and interest, etc. They still loaned him the money. He was known to be able to repay the money so most of them were not concerned. They loaned him something like SGD8,000.
Then one day, I think was the 3rd/4th day, he came up to me when I was gambling and requested to borrow money from me. I told him I had no money and I needed the funds to gamble for myself. (I didn't bring much to gamble. To me, it's just to pass sometime. So I wanted to make the funds last as long as possible.) Then he said. You don't even have SGD100? I passed him the SGD100 and left the casino. (He eventually returned the money when we came back to Singapore.)
Ever since that trip, I have not gambled at any casino ever again. Not in Singapore, not in other countries. I now realize how it can impact lives and really ruin some families. The guy isn't particularly begging for money currently. He isn't well to do but he isn't entirely broke. But I see things in principle. And casinos aren't good for society. There isn't any economic benefit except entertainment and the selling of "hope". But the house always wins. No one leaves the casino when they win, they typically keep playing til they lose. So for me I choose to boycott such an establishment. They aren't going to make my money via gambling. (I still sometimes stay in hotels which have a casino.)
When people say they bring in SGD1000 into the casino to play, they mean they bring SGD1000 into the casino to lose. Why does the "house" have only a 2-5% advantage but most of the time win 100% of the money?
Cos when you play one game, you bet maybe SGD50, then you win or you lose. Then you keep playing til you play like 50 rounds. Which is around SGD2500 in total bets, some wins some losses. So out of that SGD2500 worth of bets, you generally would have lost something like SGD50-SGD125. Keep playing and your total bet placed grows. So people don't go in and play SGD1000, they play many many rounds using that SGD1000 and eventually the house advantage will catch up with them and they end up losing the whole amount of SGD1000.
After I lent the guy the SGD100 I basically didn't have much mood for the rest of the trip, even though we left the casino hotel to travel to other parts of the country. It was quite a disappointing trip, (at that point I still had not learnt that happiness is a decision yet) but I learnt about problem gambling and how casinos have an impact on society and how it can ruin families. It's not so much as lending the guy SGD100 (that's not a particularly large amount of money) but rather that some folks aren't able to control their gambling addiction and this in turn affects the other people around them and also impacts their lives.
I haven't really kept in contact with this guy. But I've heard from the people around him. He still regularly goes to Singapore Genting to gamble. He gets free stays at the Genting hotel in Singapore so I reckon he still gambles heavily to receive such benefits. I know that he doesn't particularly make a lot every month and he stays in a rented HDB with his wife. In my mind, I wonder, if he had not gambled so much, he could have afforded to buy a HDB and live with his wife with the money he could have saved.
Anyway, no judging. His life, his choices. He may be happier now than me, who am I to know or comment about that right?
So yea... problem gambling is very real. Not only found on TV and shows. I always believed that it was quite rare and which logical person would get into such issues. But when it manifested around me, I realized that it could happen to anybody and it would highly likely affect the people around them.