Essay: WHY PEOPLE GAMBLE (AND SHOULD THEY?)

Las Vegas. 4:30 a.m. Muzak oozing. Dice clacking. Slot machines whirring. No clocks. No windows. No chairs —except at the green felt tables. Ray the Shark, middleaged, middle class, Middle West, peeks at cards, puffs cigar, rubs lucky shirt, peeks again and draws another card. Blackjack! Adrenaline pumping, grinning beatificially, he multiplies his bets—and loses. Wife appears, her palms covered with grey metallic sheen from feeding coins to slot machines. "Quick," he whispers, "I'm hot. Give me the money I told you not to give me."

RAY the Shark—as he likes to think of...

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