Gambling and the Windfall of Deception

Flashing lights, jackpot bells, and millions of dollars waiting to be won on table games, sports betting, and slot machines, all at a casino likely near your installation. With gambling arenas being permitted in more states, casinos and gambling apps are popping up everywhere like spring crocuses. These apps are becoming increasingly popular, promising lucrative winnings with minimal bets, all from the comfort of your home or barracks.

Despite the popularity and glamorization of gambling, it’s important to remember that the odds of winning the jackpot are not as high as they are advertised to be. These companies financially thrive off the thrill people get to win. Alluring prime rib buffets, free cocktails, and cushy VIP perks are all gimmicks that elevate the overall experience, keeping you there longer and shelling out more dough. Who’s really paying for all these luxurious amenities? Look at the money you just shelled out for another round of Blackjack- there’s your “complimentary” dinner and drinks.

Gambling organizations prey on the adrenaline rush people get from playing. That “one more time!” multiplied by every person doing the same thing nets them a LOT of profits while your hard-earned cash gets zapped right out of your wallet. That’s why you’ve probably heard the phrase “the house always wins.” Research from the National Institute of Health has shown that a substantial proportion of gambling revenue (between 15% and 40%) comes from problem gamblers. 1 "If you really need the money, stick with the stock market, okay? But if you've got expendable cash, and you want to enjoy yourself, then go ahead and bet sports. But if you think you're gonna be the guy who's gonna make this multi-million-dollar fortune, forget about it. It's not gonna happen” says legendary sportscaster Brent Musburger.

With that in mind, here are some tips for in-person and online gambling:

  • Only bet what you can safely afford to lose – that includes bringing a set amount of cash and leaving your credit and debit cards at home or with a trusted companion.
  • Don’t gamble alone- especially online – because no one is there to pull you away and cut the spending.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol – it may be free at a casino, but it’s a cheap tactic to make you spend more without realizing it. Even at home on your phone, steer clear of alcoholic beverages, as they’ll encourage you to keep betting and losing more money.
  • Cash out when you’re ahead and stop betting.
  • Set a time limit to gamble.
  • Know when it’s time to leave-either you’ve earned some money back or spent what you came with.
  • Avoid slot machines- they are the biggest money pits with the worst odds of winning.
  • Where there’s a casino, there’s usually great food nearby. Try a new restaurant instead!
  • Don’t install the apps and block them from your phone.
  • Only participate in drafts if you’re knowledgeable about the game and the players.

Remember, gambling can be a source of entertainment, but know when to stop chasing the high.

1 Chóliz, M. (2018, January 31). Ethical Gambling: A Necessary New Point of View of Gambling in Public Health Policies. Retrieved March 10, 2021, from

2 CBS News. (2021, March 21). Place your bets: March Madness and the growth of sports gambling.