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Tuesday 8 October 2019

Should Children Gamble?

It's a controversial topic. 

Without laws, would we see small children walking into Ladbrokes and placing a bet? I think little Eddy, a budding pro gambler if I ever saw one, had a Lucky 15, which consumed his pocket money £1.50. 

I wonder if he won or lost?

By law, it is illegal to bet until you are 18+. By all accounts, it is a good idea because like drinking and smoking it isn't the best life for a young, impressionable mind. Not that stops children from betting, smoking or drinking. 

I feel as though I should recite The Lord's Prayer. 

As a child, I remember going to the pub with my parents. It was a Buffalo Club. No one seemed to mind us being there although I can imagine a few wondered why on earth two kids aged 10-years-old were having a night on the tiles! It was a dreadfully smokey place. It was in the day and age where people could smoke inside and the ventilation was nonexistent. I think it ground to a halt with nicotine tar. The ceiling was stained bright yellow and at peak occupancy, it was like walking in a fog. You couldn't see very well at all as it was a mist of pure nicotine. I can't remember coughing, but sure my eyes must have been running and if you walked in and out your clothes smelled like you had smoke 100-cigarettes a day. Thinking back, I felt sorry for the bar staff. I'm sure their health suffered. 

To be honest, we loved the place and the drinkers, smokers, and gamblers loved us too. 

I didn't drink alcohol but was certainly a passive smoker and gambler even at that tender age.  The fruit machine with its flashing lights and clatter of coins broke the noise of the crowd made my eyes pop out. 

I loved that machine. 

I wasn't old enough the play but that didn't stop me from being close to the action.  No one cared too much if a child played the one-armed bandit or not. I would stand at the side of whoever played and after a while, I would be pressing the start button for them. I would suggest which things to hold. Those two melons look good. One more will give a payout of £5, two more £25. My uncle Roy, my parents, everyone seemed to be playing the fruit machine. It was a good reason to go out. Uncle Roy loved to gamble his winnings. I was a little more prudent and before he got a chance I would collect much to his frustration. 

''Don't do that!'' I told you before.'' 

I just couldn't help myself. Uncle Roy loved me so my collective nature was soon forgotten. 

Anyway, those formative years didn't lead me to be a raving alcoholic or smoker. Although I did become a gambler but not of fruit machines. Horse racing took centre stage and still does to this day for business. Unlike the majority of punters, horse racing has become my job which is more of a hobby which makes a living than hating every second of the working week. 

In truth, I believe most adults, as well as children, shouldn't gamble because they lack understanding and naive. They are simply too experienced to appreciate they are betting with the devil. When you consider the majority of punters lose money it really is a pointless, expensive if not potentially dangerous past time.  

Don't gamble for fun. Unless you view gambling as a profession - which most don't - you should be wise and keep your money in your pocket.