I finally understood the thrill that entraps gamblers on the day that I won $80 on a $2 bet.
It smells like horses in August in Saratoga. It’s hot. Humid.
Our employer had given us the afternoon off with pay and sprung for the 6 bucks entrance fee for each of us to the Saratoga Race Track.
My win was totally an accident. Several horses had been scratched from the race so I randomly picked one to bet on. It turns out, he was the longshot–and he won.
I went up to the window to collect my winnings and was welcomed into the World of the Gambler’s Trance. “Twenty, forty, sixty, eighty,” the cashier counted the money into my hand. I could smell the money. My surroundings blurred and became surreal. My friend Peggy stood next to me. It was good that she did, because I needed assistance to walk away from the window. The smell of the fantasy air twirled in my brain, causing confusion and a feeling of being high.
I told Peggy and her son that I would buy them Ice Cream, so we walked over to the Ice Cream booth. Peggy told me her order five times, but it kept slipping out of my brain. I finally told her to place the order herself.
Gambler’s Trance is like the feeling you get when you get an “A” on a test, or when you win a foot race, or when you find out that your crush likes you back, or the feeling on the last day of school.
That is what gamblers feel when they win big. That’s why they get addicted.
I never understood the attraction of gambling before that day. I understood alcohol addition, heroin addiction, and even food addiction. Until that day that I won, I never understood the gambling addiction. But now I do.
- New Risks, Treatment for Problem Gamblers (nlm.nih.gov)
- Online gambling priming future addicts: study (calgaryherald.com)
- Gambling disorders grow with access: researcher (ctv.ca)
- Gambling problem exposed as access grows (eurekalert.org)
- Online gambling generating new addicts, researcher says (canada.com)
- Online gambling generating new addicts, researcher says (theprovince.com)