Have you ever been to viewing centres or football betting centres on Friday evenings or in the early hours of Saturdays? If you haven’t been to one on these said days then you might want to check one out after reading this article.
However, if you have then you will know what I’m about to talk about – men and boys of different ages and classes holding on to slips of various sizes – extremely short ones, short ones, medium sizes, long ones and extremely long ones. These slips are called betting slips and they have on them different football games, the owner’s predictions for each game and the amount to be won if the predictions are correct at the end of the games. This is the new face of gambling in Nigeria – the same old stuff that started off in the western countries and later in Nigeria known as “baba ijebu”.
While every gambler knows that gambling is all about luck, not every gambler knows that one thing that gambling always bring to a gambler and that is called hope. It is this ‘hope’ that brings the greatest fear associated with gambling; its commonest characteristic – addiction!
HOW HOPE CAUSES ADDICTION IN GAMBLING
Hope, the belief that lies within the heart of a gambler that something he wants will surely happen, has two ways of causing a gambler to be addicted to the art of gambling.
The first kind of hope leaves in the heart of the gambler the impression that he will eventually be a winner. This occurs to the gambler who is yet to win any cash at all. This hopeful feeling will make the gambler to keep staking more and more bets and keep believing that he will win, and when he loses the bets over and over, this hopeful feeling will creep in and explain to him how much he will be losing if he fails to stake another bet. This hopeful feeling will then open his eyes, as they say, to assurances that are unreal. The assurances are unreal because at the end of another weekend, the story of lost bets will be the story on the lips of the gambler.
The second kind of hope, possessing same cunningness as the first, leaves in the heart of the gambler the thought of him winning bigger in his next bet so he has to stake much more than he did the first time. This occurs to the gambler who has just won a bet. The hopeful feeling comes in a different manner; it convinces the gambler that if staking little could win what he has just won, then staking higher for similar games will surely cash in more money for him. The reality however is that it is never as simple as the hopeful feeling makes it sound because there is no guarantee that the bets will go in the favour of the gambler when next he places his bet.
These two kinds of hope work hand-in-hand. When the second kind of hope comes into play, it makes the gambler to stake higher cash for his gamble and when he eventually loses the bet, the first kind of hopeful feeling comes to take its turn giving false assurances that he will win all he has lost in the next game, however, only if he played one more and so the gambler begins to get addicted, even to the extent of borrowing cash to stake more bets with the high belief that the he will get the win he wants. While he is waiting for ‘his luck to shine’, N100 lose sums up to N1000 and gradually becomes N10000.
THE PROBLEM WITH THE HOPEFUL FEELING
I really don’t have an issue with gambling but I feel pain for gamblers when they lose bets upon bets and still allow this hopeful feeling to lead them on in belief or disbelief as the case may be.
As much as I would not like to sound like a religion freak, I cannot but trace the absurdity of this hopeful feeling to the bible. I understand that the Bible says that deferred hope makes the heart sick, but the hope associated with gambling has shown that it makes the heart stronger rather than sick when deferred. In my thoughts, I believe the gambler fails to see this problem every time he steps in to stake a bet – the deferred hope which he faces sometimes is a trick and not a challenge, so there’s nothing to beat!
The psychology is that in gambling, hope deferred doesn’t make the heart sick and hope assured only keeps the heart encouraged to take more risks. The first set of steps to addiction.
As I earlier mentioned, I have nothing against gamblers (after all the little pain I feel shouldn’t really bother me) and for the art of gambling, I’ve got no issue against it, I only analysed the “hope” that keep gambling alive using the popular soccer bets trending in Nigeria today.
Thank you for reading.
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