I remember in my youth first discovering the whole thing about gambling. It must have been a very special day of horse racing. I know this because my father was not a gambling man except for this one day in the year. We had a detour on the walk we were making. On the street corner he spoke to a man who was lingering there. I saw my father give the man a slip of paper and some money. Later on that same day my father returned and the man still standing there gave him another piece of paper and even more money than my father had given him.
Of course I now know that this was my father gambling on the Grand National. It was all very undercover. Then along came the lottery and the new gambling laws. Now there are betting shops all over the place and gambling machines in so many places.
It breaks my heart when I see mothers or fathers lifting their children up too reach the buttons on gambling machines.
As a minister I came across a great many who had become addicted to gambling and I saw the mess it had made of many families.
A friend was telling me just the other day how she had been invited to a bingo hall. A night out. She also told me how much that night out cost not including any drinks she purchased in the place.
Now let me make this clear I am not here to speak out against what people choose to do. The fact that I have never ever gambled does not make it a mission. I just fear that if I ever one it might for me be the first step on a slippery road. I know that I never take up anything without giving it my all.
But a story I heard made me smile and I thought I would share it with you that you might smile also.
Once a married couple while visiting their friends were taken to a day at the races.
They found the whole experience an amazing day out. They had a few bets on the various races and lost some of the little money they had, leaving him only £2 in his pocket.
Next day the husband said that he would go to the races alone. In the first race he put two dollars on the outsider, and the horse came first. He put all his winnings on the next race and won again. That day, he was very lucky; by the end of his day he had won about £1000.
On the way home he saw a casino. The inner voice, the one he had been listening to all day as he wondered what horse to gamble unsaid to him, " Come in and play."
He entered the casino where he saw people playing all sorts of gambling games. he went to the roulette table and placed some money on number 13.
When the roulette stopped, the dealer announced: "Number 14."
He gambled a few more times each time losing.
When he arrived home his wife asked him how he had got on at the races thinking he had been away for a long time.
He shrugged his shoulders: " I’ve lost two pounds," he said.
How easily we can fool ourselves from reality. As I have said before this is not a rant against gambling because it could have been many other things, like becoming addicted to gadgets, as I am.
Have a good day and may it be a winning day.