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Some Thoughts on Gambling

Gambling is more than its conventional meaning might suggest.

Gambling is any activity which holds certain risk. Certain risk is the substantial prospect of loss.

Romney gambled when he ran against the President. His loss was predictable.

Many political alliances are gambles.

All professions of belief based on supposition rather than proven outcomes are gambles.

The narrow meaning of gambling may or may not involve risk. The house never loses.

The assurance of loss in a casino means that what we call gambling is really contriving to lose.

The only exceptions to losing in casinos are one shot wins and games of skill.

The only games of skill in casinos that are not certain losses are aided card-counting and various forms of poker.

Aided card-counting relies on a capacity to accurately determine the future prevalence of cards with the highest values.

Aided card-counting involves a skilled counter who simply signals a player when cards are running well.

Even skilled card-counting can fail and risks detection.  The use of shoes with many decks is a strong defense against it.

Poker is indeed a game of skill. But it depends on lesser players participating and losing money.

The stock market and other forms of investment exist on the certainty of loss combined with the historic tendency of the market as a whole to rise.

The prevalence of lotteries validates popular willingness to make the certainty of loss acceptable public policy.

Problem gambling is almost universally related to the actual loss of money in games of chance.

The problem in problem gambling is the gambler - his or her need to experience loss.

The experience of loss is not entirely negative. Nor is the experience of winning. Nor is the experience of extended runs of luck.

Online games provide the experience of winning and losing without any risk of money.

For every casino gambler who loses real money, there are similarly inclined players happy playing at no risk online.

I have been through the gamut of gambling and now enjoy playing games online that risk no loss.

I remain insistent that my wife who has never placed a bet is the real gambler in our family for having taken a chance on me.

Anyone who feels compelled to throw money away gambling should either avoid it seek help.

Compulsive gamblers need to examine and discard past defeats and experience a new beginning - daily.

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Stephen C. Rose Bio

Stephen C. Rose (1936-) was born in New York City and raised there. He currently lives there. He was educated at Trinity, Exeter, Williams and Union Theological Seminary. He served in the Student Interracial Ministry in Nashville. He founded and edited the prize-winning Renewal Magazine in Chicago and studied with C. A. Doxiadis in Athens. His first books "The Grass Roots Church" and "Who's Killing The Church" established him as a prominent critic of American Protestantism and American religion. He was and remains a civil rights activist. He has interviewed and done in depth pieces on Saul Alinsky and Martin Luther King, Jr. He won awards for editorial courage and for two documentary films. He has written and published many songs and musical works including "We Are All Americans". During the late 90s and early 2000s he worked for UN agencies, most recently editing CHOICES Magazine at UNDP. Since 2000 he has written several books for distribution via K…