Saturday, October 07, 2006

Even Life's a Gamble!

I don’t hold much brief for gamblers or gambling but I would defend their right to do whatsoever they wished with their own money, with the possible exception of investing in fraudulent investment schemes.

The last time I gambled (and I think it was the only time), was some thirty years ago when I idly slipped a small coin into a fruit machine and walked away. The clatter of descending coins made me turn around and scoop them up, never to gamble again!

From this you may gather that, were it up to me, the gambling industry would have slid into oblivion long ago. The latest edict of the United States government is that gambling on-line by way of the internet is now illegal for their citizens. In view of the booming gambling industry in Las Vegas and other centres devoted to the worship of Mammon, this does seem a little hypocritical, depriving those unable to afford the bus fare of a convenient way to entertain themselves.

There is something to be said for the theory that the government are unhappy since the major companies in this industry were located outside of what they like to call “the contiguous United States.”

When I lived in The Caribbean, I ordered a satellite television service from a US company. The spotty faced youth on the end of the telephone (you can always tell the spotty ones) informed me, pompously, that since I was out of the contiguous United States, it was a no go for me. I pointed out that, as the satellite from which I was going to pick up this cornucopia of mostly rubbish, was orbiting over Texas, theoretically, it was OK, and that he would not be committing a tort or a misdemeanour or similar by granting me access.

Clearly he had no more idea than I of where the thing was located (it was probably over North Korea at the time) and after some Umming and Erring, I got the system.

America has a history of over-reaction. Take Prohibition for instance, which was about as dotty a concept as Nero wanting to make his racehorse a Senator. It all started with a grand over reaction in Kansas (where, as you know, reactions are almost as big and better than in Texas when it comes to drinking matters). At the turn of the century, saloon keepers and their customers were kept on the edge of their bar stools by the activities of a temperance zealot, Carrie Nation. Weighing in at 175 pounds, she pursued her cause with more than usual enthusiasm, reducing many bars to matchwood in the process with her woodsman’s axe. She paid the fines she accrued by auctioning off these implements used for her anti-alcoholic mayhem to her followers. And some years later, the Volstead Act came into force.

It hardly did a thing to stop drinking, the number of illicit bars in Washington actually exceeded those that had been there previously, but it did a great deal for the family of Joseph P. Kennedy and, with the profits made from his bootlegging business, enabled him to put his son in The White House. Camelot was floated in on the profits from a tide of illegal alcohol.

One wonders, therefore, what will be the end result of banning Americans from enjoying themselves with Internet gambling?

If history is any guide, it won’t stop them. And who knows, maybe a future president will be elevated to power on the strength of a few illegal poker games.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it sure is Owen and at this stage having a good life worth half a century, I can't deny that has been one as well that gambled life for leasure and risks experienced as early as a toddler just turning 4 years old!

My new gamble with life is about to see a rebirth of challenges ahead! At 53, and after having retired early, somewhat TOO early for my peers back in 1986, I am again embarking on a new horizon at the request of a businessman and self made millionaire in Real Estate from the West Coast of USA to the East coast and in Europe and now settling most lavishly in the Far East. One who is about to share his wealth of experiences and current growth I am not saying "No" to.

This is a short reply to this subject on "Even Life's a Gamble" which brought me here resulting to find a way to send yet again my request for that book on Pips!

So here goes Owen, I hope this does not escape your attention. My email for that correspondence is:

I look forward to hear from you where I can submit subsequently my address for the book you offer, thank you!


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