The Gambling Paradoxes
If gambling is seen as a vice, why isn’t capitalism? Both essentially play the game of chance, although with different kinds of dice. Well, there are several reasons why certain kinds of risk are better of than the risks we take when we gamble. Risks, for instance, that capitalism brings. Gambling is a zero sum game, while capitalism creates opportunities and advantages that others can use and society can benefit. Stock markets are essentially gambling as it represents chance plays on price fluctuations.
But it’s also different from a casino because market systems in stocks provide liquidity. Our forecast of the future is even a gamble, stock and currencies change, which allow risk-averse businessmen to evade these fluctuations. In addition, motivation for gambling and risks in business has differences: The businessman concentrates on what’s ahead of him; the gambler is concentrated on the present. Innovation is the tool for a businessman, calculation is for the gambler at best. The businessman works to fill in the need of others, the gambler works for him alone. So maybe capitalism and gambling pose the same game with chance, but with these reasons in mind, let’s just say gambling is the dark side of capitalism.
Before, we used gambling as a means to socialize and meet and challenge peoples from different walks of life. This often occurred as late as the last decade when table games were such a hit. There were blackjack, roulette, poker, and the baccarat. These are the games where we deal with differences. But now the faces change, we are now looking at our reflection, emanated by the mirror of slot machines. What we are looking at are icons that we desperately hope would align each other. We are looking at digital numbers perched just above our heads, and these numbers speak of what gambling has become or have descended into. We gamble nowadays solipsistically and autisically – a subtly dangerous game where we only think of are the numbers and not the consequences behind it. It is a mindless game and because of it, it is addictive. Slot machines are growing at a terrible rate. We are now gambling alone, which is making impaired gamblers so hard to find to provide treatment.
If you take out the social aspect of gambling, what you’re left with is total risk taking. The only benefit you get really is when you win. Of course, you get entertained. But that’s not really a benefit, is it? So what gives?
Gambling operators have a solution to that by making casinos appear to have the same glitz and glamour as Disneyland with knights, pirates and princesses. Now, they appeal to us as they appeal to children. By doing so, they are delivering the wrong kind of message. Here lies the heart of the paradox.