by Damon Carr, For New Pittsburgh Courier
I’m on a mission to help people make good decisions with their money. This includes budgeting, saving, spending, investing and selecting the best insurance, investment, mortgage, and other financial products. In my opinion, gambling of any form is considered to be a bad financial decision—that is…unless you win. Winning is highly unpredictable and highly unlikely. The odds are stacked against you. I grew up in a family who gambles all the time. I’d be telling a lie if I said that I’ve never gambled. I’ve been watching my family gamble my entire life. I’ve done my fair share of gambling. It’s fun—when you win! I’ve won a few jackpots. I’ve also lost my shirt a time or two. I’m a student of money. I think I’ve figured this gambling thing out.
Listen up! I have insider information that will stack the deck in your favor. I’m going to teach you “a sure-fire way to leave the casino with a small fortune” and “the safest way to double your money when gambling.” You don’t need a lucky rabbit foot. If a black cat passes you by, don’t fret, what I’m about to reveal is a sure-fire bet. You can take this advise to the bank!
What is gambling?
Gambling is a process of risking money or valuables in hopes of winning more than you’re risking. What’s the difference between investing and gambling? Investing is a process of saving money utilizing sound principles and acceptable levels of risk with the expectation to gain a reasonable return over a long period of time. Gambling is a game of chance subjecting money to high levels of risk based more on gut than skill with the expectation of huge returns in a brief period of time. Forms of gambling include bingo, lottery, slot machines, casinos, poker, trunk, craps, betting, horse and dog-racing, rip-offs—I mean scratch offs, etc.
Why do people gamble?
Ask any gambler and they’ll tell you that you’re more likely to lose than you are to win. People know that the odds are stacked against them. Nonetheless, gambling remains one of the most popular pasttimes. The most common defense given to justify going against the odds —“Somebody has to win, why not me?” Below are some common reasons why people gamble along with my comments:
Fun/entertainment/recreation: Some people feel that free drinks, good music, nice crowds and a gambling game of their choice is a perfect environment to mingle, meet new people, cure boredom, and an opportunity to win big money. Let’s be honest. There’s absolutely nothing recreational, entertaining or fun about losing money. I have to give credit where credit is due—casino owners are smart. Bob Stupack, former owner of Vegas World Casinos stated, “It’s our duty to extract as much money from their pockets and send them home with a smile on their face.” Casino owners have devised an atmosphere that while you’re giggling, drinking, mingling and carrying on, they’re the ones stacking chips. Have you ever looked at the architectural structure and the lavish decorating of various casinos? Who’s paying for this while continuing to turn profits for casino owners? Losers! Casinos have an advantage known as “the house edge.” They have profit margins built in to every game you play.
Money problems: Some people gamble hoping that winning will be the quick fix they need to solve their mounting money problems. Of those who gambled in an attempt to solve their money problems, not one reported improvement. In fact, many of those surveyed revealed that they ended up losing more money gambling than what they originally owed. In other words, they further devastated their money woes.
Win and become rich: Some people believe that winning the lottery or hitting the jackpot is the only viable way for them to become rich, quit their job, and start living the good life. We hear stories about big jackpots and big lottery winners. It makes interesting news and it’s great publicity for the gaming institutions. What’s lost in the headlines is that for every big winner, there are 40 million or more losers. If I could convince 40 million people to give me one dollar I’d be more than happy to give one happy deserving winner one million dollars knowing it’d garner major media attention giving millions of other individual false hope that the next winner could be them. Sadly, of those who win thousands or millions of dollars, it’s not uncommon for them to gamble the entire winnings away chasing more money. Of those who win millions of dollars, the bankruptcy rate and divorce rate among them is staggering —upward of 60 percent.
I wooed you to read this column telling you that I was going to share ideas on how NOT to go broke gambling. The obvious answer is NOT to gamble at all. I know that you’re going to do what you want to do. Me too. Below is some advice I hope will help you:
- Cut your losses—You cannot control how much you win but you can control how much you lose. Set a maximum dollar amount that you’re going to gamble with and stick to it. If you don’t, you’ll more than likely experience this painful emotion called regret.
- Don’t gamble with the rent money —You may be tempted to try your luck with money earmarked for bills in an attempt to win the bill money back and win some extra money for personal use. Don’t! There’s a 100 percent chance that the bill collector is coming for his money. There’s a slim chance that you’ll win. Don’t risk utilities being terminated, car being repossessed or you being evicted from your home.
- There’s only one sure-fire way to leave the casino with a small fortune —You have to go there with a large one
- The safest way to double your money gambling—is to fold it and put it in your pocket.
- Understand opportunity cost—If you were to invest $200 per month instead of gambling over 30 years—you’ll have $452,097 each and every time.
Remember, the money you take to Vegas, stays in Vegas!
(Money Coach Damon Carr can be reached @ 412-216-1013 or visit his website @ www.damonmoneycoach.com)