Letter from the editor: Gambling - It’s a mug’s game


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The Independent Online

It’s difficult to look at the page 2 graphic without thinking “why them?”. Yes, we should all be generous regarding the good fortune of others, but a more honest human reaction is summed up by Gore Vidal, whom I may have quoted before: “Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little inside”.

An eighth circle of hell is reserved for mega-winners who say “it won’t change my life, I’ll be going to work tomorrow ”. Gambling was a subject that dare not speak its name growing up - although we did the football pools. I suspect dark secrets lay behind the silence – though not as dark as the tragic tale of my university friend’s father who gambled away the family’s life savings in one night of madness at a casino. Have you ever been to Las Vegas? Great for one night, fun for two - if it’s a show. More than three, and it gets sad. You notice the same listless people in grey shellsuits and matching pallors as you walk through “the floor” to breakfast as were there the night before. And, my dear, those garish carpets!

Despite this, I’ve always been in awe of successful gamblers – even i’s very own reader tipster Stuart St George, who won five in a row. EuroMillions is worth £166m tonight, the largest Euro-prize ever. i had a little syndicate going on Tuesday when the jackpot was a mere £154m. Production guru Rhodri had a Camelot account – so did almost everyone else on the desk. Who knew? After signing a pre-nup in case something went wrong – or Rhodri didn’t tell us what the numbers were before scarpering off on holiday, we “won” £5.10 – for our £20 stake. Gambling. It’s a mug’s game. So am I in for the £166m? Sorry, I've opted for anonymity.