Gambling culture


author: ethan butterfield | a&c editor

Cards for coins / CMYK

Don’t bet your life on it

With the NFL’s NFC and AFC Championship matchups having now been played out and behind us, we find ourselves waiting for the big game… you know the one. Yes,  Febraury third’s Super Bowl 53  [EIC’s note: roman numerals are for suckers and math majors] is fast-approaching and there is so much on the line.  

This year’s Super Bowl will feature the New England Patriots going up against the Los Angeles Rams in an all-out, head-to-head matchup that will certainly shake the Atlanta stadium to its very core. Well… probably not, but you never know. There is a lot on the line though. Tom Brady will be looking for redemption after the loss to the Eagles, Sean McAvoy’s ability as a Super Bowl-worthy head coach will be put on into question, oh yes, and who could forget the amount of debt that will befall several members of the community when all is said and done?
Sorry for getting too real at the end there, but I feel the point stands all the same. Whether you choose to believe it or not, over billions of dollars will be wagered through (both legal and illegal) gambling means. Taking only the last four years into account, the total/overall wager for the Super Bowl through legal means (using the big game as my prime example right now) isn’t anywhere near the billions, it’s only in the hundreds of millions. Using statistics from Business Insider and ESPN, last year’s Super Bowl made about $158 million in wages, which (in regard to Nevada booking) only made up around 3-4 per cent as a whopping $4.6-$4.8 billion was actually bet (with the use of offshore accounts and bookies).
Starting to get the picture, there’s a lot of money on the line when it comes to gambling. Unfortunately, the odds are almost always against you to make that kind of change back. Now, there might be some people out there who use the old line, “Well, either I make my money back or I don’t.” Please don’t listen to these people. As someone who used to say this, as well as somebody that does do a bit of gambling here and there, this is the wrong mentality to have. There are so many variables that go into betting that people aren’t really made aware of, such as probability of winning, probability of included interest upon losing, how much money you’re going to put down, what is everyone else putting down, are you being sharked, and, of course, can you afford to lose said money? These are just some examples, though some examples to show you that it’s not quite as simple as, “Well I’ll just put money down and whatever happens, happens.”
Also, if you are going to gamble, please, please, please, make sure you’re in a comfortable financial situation before you make any bets. Even if it’s $20 or $50, that’s money that may be useful elsewhere. Groceries, advance bill payments, paying off service providers like Netflix, just take a minute to think beforehand; that’s all I’m asking.
Also, also, and this is one of the most important pieces of information to take away from this article, but if you see gambling as a way to get out of some debt that you’re in or if you feel you can earn the rest of the rent by betting on a game, stop. Do not do it. I understand that this statement won’t reach many individuals, but honestly, do not ever think that gambling is a way to solve your money problems. Gambling is a game designed by people to give them the best odds in taking your hard-earned money.
Like I said before, I’m no saint when it comes to the betting game, but I do know when to walk away from a bad bet. So, again, I’m not your dad or your advisor. You don’t have to listen to me by any means when it comes to this subject. That being said, though, I hope that you’ll take away something from this piece, even if it’s just the statistics above. So, with those wonderful words of wisdom out of the way, I hope there’s at least a little bit here to make someone out there go, “Huh.” As long as someone got something out of this, I’m happy. With that, I leave you readers with the main chorus from “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers… because why not.

You’ve got to know when to hold ‘emKnow when to fold ‘emKnow when to walk awayAnd know when to runYou never count your moneyWhen you’re sittin‘ at the tableThere’ll be time enough for countinWhen the dealin’s done.” – Kenny Rogers. 

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