Gambling My Way to Financial Freedom

by David Ning · 23 comments

I used to feel bad gambling, but I don’t anymore.

There was a time in my life when I would gamble socially. Every time I stumble across a casino table, I would play a couple hands. It was fun, and luckily, no harm done.

Eventually, I saw it as just another money drain. It was mathematically impossible to win, the more I played, the more I lost. With that in mind, my urge for gambling completely vanished. In fact, it’s been so long since I played that I don’t even remember what the excitement was like.

But now, at this very moment, I need to confess. I don’t feel bad gambling anymore.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m fully aware that gambling is problematic for many people. It has destroyed lives and families due to its addictive nature and, well, the speed that the activity can burn money. Yet, I’m no longer afraid to throw a few bucks in the fire.

Gambling is just another form of entertainment. The dealer will gladly take our money just as the cashier will happily take our credit card for a broadway show. The latter indulgence may seem a bit more responsible, but spending two hours at the show may be more costly for some than sitting in front of a slot machine. The casino is not the problem. The issue is with us.

  • Anything that becomes uncontrollable is a problem.
  • Any addiction can turn into a money drain.
  • And any reason of justification is just an excuse.

The majority of the niceties we enjoy unfortunately require money. Without control, anything can create a problem. It doesn’t matter if it’s blackjack, coffee or splurging. Money spent is money lost. You do that enough times and even the wealthiest will get into trouble.

Saving money is about being responsible with your spending, not depriving ourselves from any single activity in particular. When it comes to our finances, the big picture view is much more important than every little detail.

I’m back from the cruise and getting my stride into the full steam of the daily routine. My friend is happily married, and it was a great experience for Emma and I on many levels. Stay tuned for more announcements in the coming days. (Trust me, it’s a big one…)

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Piper September 15, 2009 at 5:54 am

Welcome back. :)

I’ve always been afraid to actually go to a casino. I suspect I’d end up having so much fun playing hold ‘em that I’d lose way too much before I even realized it.

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MoneyNing September 15, 2009 at 8:27 am

The cruise was really great but I’m glad to be back.

If you want to play, you may want to bring a set amount of cash and leave your ATM/credit card at home. That way, it’s almost impossible to overspend, unless you find someone who is willing to lend you money out there.

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Bible Money Matters September 15, 2009 at 7:07 am

When my wife and I went to vegas, I gambled all of $5 at the slots. That was it. I just don’t find gambling as much fun as some people do. I can see how it could be addicting though, especially if you start winning a little..

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Lee September 15, 2009 at 7:11 am

My trouble is two-fold with gambling. The first issue is I don’t really understand (nor do I have the desire to learn) most ‘gambling’ games. Second, my addictive nature would quickly turn it into a problem.

Ergo I avoid it like the plague.

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Fred September 15, 2009 at 8:21 am

There was a time when gambling was my full time job. It was addicting and while I made money (surprisingly), I would probably have made more with a real job.

It took a good few months of being smacked around by my family to make me realize it, but I’m glad that I don’t gamble anymore. Now I’m married, have a wonderful boy and I will never go back to those days when the closest things to me were playing cards and a cigarette.

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MoneyNing September 15, 2009 at 9:09 am

I’m really happy to hear that you got out of an extremely addicting habit and that it never turned into a disaster.

Keep up the good work, and keep your family happy.

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Brian September 15, 2009 at 8:47 am

I have a love/hate relationship with gambling. I’ve spent nights at a craps table with friends, having complimentary drinks and enjoying the ups/downs of the game but usually it’s money lost and regret afterwards. I like your comparision to a form of entertainment though, makes it seem less of a regret when I loss.

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Financial Samurai September 15, 2009 at 10:15 am

Welcome back. Did you gamble on the cruise? I sent you a shoutout over at Financial Samurai regarding mortgages.

It’s interesting, every time I go to this card room, 90% of the population are Asian. I’ve been to Commerce Casino in LA, and it’s still about 80% Asian. Is there something about the Asian culture that drives Asians to gamble more?

I don’t gamble, I play poker :)

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MoneyNing September 15, 2009 at 11:03 am

Thanks :)

The closest activity to gambling for me was Bingo, which we didn’t win :) My wife spent a few bucks on the slot machines though, but we had fun.

I believe you are seeing so many Asians because of the location of the casino. Asians like to gamble, but so do many people in other ethnic groups. When you go to Las Vegas, you see many Asians but also people from practically every country.

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kenyantykoon September 15, 2009 at 10:46 am

I see your point, but I am not sure that I agree. There is nothing good about gambling and there will never be. No matter what people say about it, I will always have an aversion towards casinos (talk about being the notorious bigot).

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MoneyNing September 15, 2009 at 11:05 am

I’m not saying that gambling is good at all. I believe it’s just another form of entertainment, with a very bad name. If someone became addicted to Broadway shows and borrowed money to watch them all the time, it would be just as devastating financially.

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kenyantykoon September 15, 2009 at 9:34 pm

you got me. i see what you mean :)

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Financial Samurai September 15, 2009 at 3:36 pm

David – Bingo isn’t considered gambling. Good point about Las Vegas, and its diversity.

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Jason September 15, 2009 at 6:52 pm

I love gambling and with the right mindset and intelligence, you can turn it into a great money generating activity. Most people lose though, which is good for people like me because there’s more for me.

It’s not entertainment, it’s a business opportunity for some.

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Mark Wolfinger September 15, 2009 at 7:40 pm

It’s ‘gambling’ when you don’t understand the game.

Card counting makes blackjack a profitable game. But, the casinos are aware and stop card counters from playing.

Investing is similar. Too many gamble by not understanding what’s important.

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David@DINKS Finance September 15, 2009 at 9:56 pm

I love it. I love playing blackjack, but only for entertainment. I know that each time I make a $1 bet I’m losing something like .01 but it’s for entertainment.

I won’t delve into this (as I’m sure you won’t or you already would have) but poker can be an investment. I have played many, many, many hands in my short 5 years of playing (I’m 21) but I am up over $3,000 lifetime. I enjoy it and I love gaining more knowledge and skill, plus I know the harder I work at it the better my ROI will be.

If you search Poker ROI on google you could spend a lifetime sifting through the articles.

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Jen September 15, 2009 at 11:18 pm

I am by nature a very cautious person, so gambling for me is a big no-no. I do enjoy the slot machines however, as they don’t require much cash, and are pretty safe when compared to the other casino games. I think gambling is fine as long as you know when to cut your losses.

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basicmoneytips September 17, 2009 at 4:36 am

Good article. I agree in principle what you are saying here. Living responsibly does not mean denying yourself of every little freedom. Personally I am not a gambler – I just don’t get a thrill out of it. However, I do visit the coffee shop across from my office 2-3 times a week. I get the basic coffee, nothing fancy. It is $1.50 per visit. I know coffee is overpriced at those stores, but I love coffee, and it is an expense I am willing to afford myself. Plus, I have gotten to know the owner over the past couple of years, and I admire those who are small business owners.

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Wilson Pon September 17, 2009 at 10:09 pm

David, my friends always said that we will lose 9 out of 10 gambling games. In this case, I didn’t have any interested on the gambling stuff at all…

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Robert September 18, 2009 at 12:18 pm

Put a little money on the horses–that’ll get you out of debt.

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toddriffic October 6, 2009 at 2:00 pm

When I read the title, I thought this was going to be a story about how gambling can become a source of income. In fact, I have a friend who recently graduated Law School and he’s having trouble finding a job. Instead, he’s making about $2500 a day and has already paid back a good percent of his student loans.

While I don’t recommend this for anyone (in fact I warned him this isn’t intelligent at all…) I do like the actual idea this post has. If you gamble, don’t let it take control. Make a budget (like you would for a vacation) and stick to it. If you lose it all…quit. It’s that simple.

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Jewelsmom February 8, 2011 at 7:35 pm

When the casino workers know your first name without looking at your player’s card…you’ve become a regular. That to me is indication of a problem gambler.

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Kristen August 23, 2012 at 4:56 pm

It’s only a problem if you’re losing! :)

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