Sport: Anything for a Flutter

For the third straight week, $11,000,000 in bets went through the mutuel windows at California's Santa Anita race track. In England last year, people bet £500,000,000 on horses and dogs. Since most bettors usually lose, why do they keep at it? In London's Spectator, a reformed English bettor named Edwin Leonard Packer made a remarkably clear dissection of the anatomy of gambling.

"I started, as usual, with small stakes. Winnings from small sums soon cease to satisfy, and when I staked and lost larger amounts, the anxiety occasioned was considerable. This anxiety has a twofold effect. It creates an inconsistency of disposition,...

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