• Gambling As We Know It

    Beneath the many arguments so frequently advanced to justify a pastime known to be destructive lie deeper reasons for the existence of the current gambling mania in the United States.

    No longer merely a sport for kings and wealthy playboys, gambling with its lure of something for nothing has permeated other economic and social levels.

    Among some how economic groups, particularly among urban Negroes, the 'numbers racket' has come to seem the one desperate hope men have to pull themselves out of unbearable living conditions.

    Yet the numbers game is certainly not limited to the nickel-and-dime operation of the 'down and out' in the city slums; according to reports in the New York press, the 'up and in ' on Wall Street have taken to the numbers game as well.

    Spread across the social and economic spectrum of the nation, gambling is symptomatic of a deep distress in society. For many people of high estate and low, the unreal dream world of something-for-nothing provides an escape from neurotic anxiety.

    For the neurotic person, gambling can become addictive, as is testified to by the appearance of Gamblers Anonymous groups on the order of the familiar Alcoholics Anonymous.

    Beset by his personality problems, the neurotic looks to the gaming table as solution or escape or compensation, perhaps even as punishment to salve a guilty conscience.

    In his world of unreality, all problems are to be solved by the fall of a card or the turn of a wheel. He can be diverted from gambling neither by common sense argument nor by moral appeal.

    Every disoriented gambler in the casino, or on the horse race track is completely aware of he fact that the odds are in opposition to him. However, the blast of gambling, the sense of authority, and the unconscious self-punishment rules him.

    The prevalence of gambling points to a breakdown of the Puritan ethic of work which held that in one's daily calling honest, industry, thrift and service to God and man should be stressed.

    In many sectors of our common life, this ethic has been replaced by something-for-nothing philosophy. Automation, increased production, more leisure time, the specialization and secularization of the economy - all have led to a crisis in vocation.

    With uncertainty concerning the value of work and the significance of leisure time widespread, it is not surprising that gambling has found such ready acceptance by so many people.

    Gambling is still gambling, regardless of what society dictates us. The need to accumulate money because luck is present, is man's all-time excuse, but most of this is done because of his desire to extend his finances in a good way, with the numerous times he had lost.

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