The Unknown Prevalence Of Youth Gambling

2087 words - 8 pages

The Unknown Prevalence of Youth Gambling

A child’s motivation to begin gambling is obvious. Even at an early age children are trained to idolize winning. They are taught the tortoise is the best because he wins the race. From this elementary lesson, children develop a tendency to idolize the winners and discount the losers. Children observe gambling and have an inclination to see the player raking in armfuls of chips, not the player across the table slowly losing a week’s pay at the black jack tables. They see Las Vegas portrayed in the media as a place to go to win money. They do not see the gamblers who leave the town with an empty bank account and a potential inability to provide for their families. By looking at the gambling culture in this idealized way, children are inclined to gamble when the opportunity presents itself. They may begin innocently by entering into their father’s office pool or wagering on baseball games with their friends, but the fact is many of these children will find themselves facing a gambling problem in years to come.

I began gambling when I was thirteen with sports pools and friendly wagers with friends. Only four years later I found myself immersed in the culture of gambling; risking my money four nights a week in poker games. When I had started gambling, the stakes were only fifty cents, but now thirty and forty dollars were up for grabs. By the time I was eighteen, even these stakes were no longer enough for me. I decided that the casinos in Atlantic City were the only venues with payoffs large enough to satiate my hunger for gambling. On nothing more than an impulse I set off on a three hour drive, bound for certain victory. I found a seat at the black jack tables in Bally’s Park Place Casino and asked the dealers for one hundred dollars in chips. This was a much larger buy-in than I was used to, but I was playing a game with stakes that were ten times higher than they had ever been before. I sat there and bet five dollars each time- that was the minimum. I was down to fifty five dollars before I even won a game. In a matter of thirty minutes I sat at the table with five dollars remaining. I was sweating and stressed, frustrated that I had not won. I bet my final five dollars and lost it, then proceeded to leave the casino in rage. I asked myself- How could I be so dumb? I sat there for ten minutes in fury, then picked myself up and headed right back to the table. I was not going to let that money get away; it was mine. I put up another hundred dollars and vowed to simply win my money back and leave. My luck had turned and I won my money back in no time. My luck was so great that I broke my personal vow and continued to gamble. Twenty minutes later, I was outside the casino again, red with anger and green with envy for those players who had now won two hundred dollars from me. Against my better judgment, I returned to the table once again and put up another hundred dollars. ...

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