Omar Sharif, who recently passed away, was known for his appearances in great movies such as “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Dr Zhivago.” Most people even thought he was a world-class bridge player, but I was surprised to learn that he had lost many fortunes over the years while playing on the game.
Gambling has been called invisible gambling because it rarely shows up in a person’s face or body, unlike excessive drinking or drug abuse. Perfectly healthy people become addicted to gambling, or “play,” as it’s named in association with Indian actual and online casinos, probably because gambling sounds like harmless fun, though gambling has a more sinister connotation.
Overdrawn Bank Accounts
Problem gambling is defined as continuing to do so despite the negative impact that it can have on the life of the person––estranged family members, overdrawn bank accounts, unpaid bills. The majority of problem gamblers are surprisingly young according to a 2012 California study: between the ages of 25 and 35. The average debt per person is a shade below $20,000 and a total of $30 million in gambling-related debt is estimated for the State.
I have acquaintances who enjoy going to casinos with the intention to spend a set amount of money on fun on the weekend. They leave and go home when they hit their limit. Clearly these people aren’t addicts. As for some, gambling is not in their blood. For starters, people like my father, whom I define as a “lovable rogue” in one of my novels, a complicated mix of virtues and vices that drank and gambled away his career, his family, and finally his life.
Before recently, my house was in a city in northern California that houses the biggest and newest Indian casinos in Las Vegas style on the outskirts of the city, and only a mile or two from my residence. I saw it from the ground but I couldn’t tell you what it feels like inside. After my fourteenth birthday, when my grandma (my mother abandoned us by that time) sent me downtown to pry my father loose from the garbage table and convince him to come home, I have not been in a casino. It was something that I did very often, but I supposed at that point that the dads of other kids were no different from mine, so I didn’t consider it a lot of a hassle.
There are programs that support gambling addicts these days just like there are with alcohol or drug abusers and they can be found nearly everywhere. One information and support tool is available on the web. But there’s one limit. Individuals have to understand their problem, and want support. Unlike AA, Gambler’s Anonymous can provide support in the form of literature and local meetings where the abuser can discover that in his plight he is not alone. There’s hope for many, but I know my dad would have scoffed at the idea he’d even have a problem with. When the chips were down, he used to call it “just a string of bad luck” The next night, or the next, he’d take it all back, he’d always said. He never did of course.