A bunch of separate thoughts....

I don't want to be someone who ignores research, and I know gambling addictions trace to Dostoyevsky if not before, but I wonder how much of the syndrome relates to other things, rather than an inexplicable need to gamble. I understand that Gamblers Annonymous does take a deeper view and tries to get inside gamblers' heads, but I don't hear a lot of talk that the problem may really relate to an unhealthy attitude about money in general, rather than loving the action and the chase. Of course, addiction is easiest to accept when there are chemicals involved, but I do understand about a compulsive attitude writ large -- I am far from a stranger to it myself. With any addiction, I would also cite that people just don't have enough positive goals in their life and don't realize how much they could be doing, and how much there is out there which is amazing. The substance or the thing is the thing that's in front of them; a created life is more work.

We all come to this issue from our own places, and to risk being overly personal, it crossed my mind that you be deeply resistant of any avenue that can turn out additions, given the struggles of your brother, and your father's struggles with alcohol. Then, as a religious believer, that also factors in.

Those are good foundations for having a value around this issue. What I think we need to watch is PREJUDICE against gambling. We may have heard about it in a certain way and for so long that it's hard to break ourselves of this. Given the way civilized society has looked upon it for so long, it's natural to have a deep distrust of gambling. And we have to look deep within ourselves and see if this is justified. Hence, some of my questioning whether it really has the magical property of being able to take hold of people and deserves special protections.

It does amaze me how much some people bet. I hear people who make under six figures just casually talking about betting $500 on a game. I get the feeling they may be betting four games a week. So they're betting more than their salary during a year! And these aren't even the most hardcore gamblers.

Yes, it is jarring to see the sports telecasts' employees turning on a dime and now shilling for sportbooks. Yes, it's hypocritical. But what gets me is something deeper. The idea that companies can buy us and we have no autonomy left, and that a company contract transcends an individual's morals. The people on these sets should be free to refuse to participate in the "playing along and offering bets." I am not certain this is true.

A parallel without quite the universal moral consequences is that, in horse racing, pretty much every stakes race is sponsored now, and when accounts are written of races or horses, the media organizations require you to include the sponsorship names (obviously, because the sponsors want that). No one knows the sponsorship names offhand, while they know the name of the old name of the race that the sponsorship precedes. The idea is like "the Capital One World Series," or whatever. But a 750-word story will often have 15 race names in it, and the end product ends up being unreadable. Basically every sentence with one of these sponsorships in it is ruined. Can a company own language? Force me to write badly? I refuse to be party to that.

I once worked for a market research company. I was young at the time. Thankfully, right before I joined, they lost a tobacco client. I was amazed that all of these people I respected had apparently just gone along their merry jobs and, not only not refused to produce work for this company, but sweated and worked just as hard for this client as any other. They seemingly didn't question their obligation. I just find the whole thing mind-boggling.

This attachment to contracts and documents....Lincoln wasn't for abolition before the Civil War because his reading was that slavery was protected in the constitution. It's good to at least believe in something, but jeez!

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Fascinating....makes me think of more than a few things, including a potential essay on why I sponsored a youth baseball team for two years about a decade ago. Was it love of the game? Support for community? A branding opportunity? Can the answer be All of the Above?

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