No, no, I haven’t turned into a gambling fiend.
xmangerm had an interesting post a few days ago at Posterous: Are casinos and other types of gambling halls a problem in your neighborhood.
My short answer to that question: No.
It is a question that could be asked subjectively, but I don’t think there’s a glut of them here. But really, I think X’s implied question was: Do you think gambling is okay?
Now, I don’t intend for there to be a big moral/ethical debate here. My intent is more rhetorical, a serving of food for thought. I generally don’t gamble, because it goes against my principles. But have I gambled? Well, yes, technically speaking, I have.
Many of the amusement machines that my daughter and I play at Chuck E. Cheese are considered gambling devices. I’ve played face card games, with candy in “the pot” if there were any stakes, or chips with no real money attached to them. Then there’s the crane operator prize machines– we still have a plush dog toy I won once. And at the low end, there’s the gumball game machines where if you hit things right, you get an extra gumball.
So I’d fail scrutiny if I ever said I was against all gambling.
I know this stuff isn’t generally considered in the same class of games at casinos, card houses, and other gambling halls. But what I picked up from friends that worked at these places, or played at these places, were a set of rules I was indeed following:
1. Gambling is entertainment, not financial investment.
2. The player operates within a strict budget. When a set allotment of money runs out, play time is done.
As long as a player adheres to these rules, more or less, and emphasis is on having fun, not making money, then things were all right. And that was what I seem to have abided by. Trips to Chuck E. Cheese were usually about positive reinforcement for Princess and Boy, or time for Cimmy to clean house without kids under foot. Tokens were always a set amount; if we had some leftover, they would keep for a future trip. I usually doled them out carefully a few at a time, although that small number has crept up as Princess has gotten older.
I will save more thoughts about such trips for another post with another subject. Then there is my small tangential thought about certain aspects of trading on the stock market that is creeping close to gambling; that will keep for another time as well. I suspect good traders follow similar rules as aforementioned, though.