Yes they do. If you go to the internet, there’s quite a lot of evidence that says that, yeah, most gamblers play. Some are better than others. Some are better at gambling than others. You have gamblers, and they are professionals, and they are professional on the field. The point of this article is not to say that there are no professional gamblers out there, not at all, but it’s hard to see how they all come anywhere close to the level of success that is typically ascribed to professional casino pros and bettors.
What do you make of the “gambling is a disease” argument and other popular pseudoscientific claims?
That’s interesting, because I’m very skeptical of many of the things that people say about gambling. I think there’s some scientific reasons – which I share the research evidence with – why gambling may have certain positive outcomes that you don’t want to do any harm to your body. I think that you have to look in the totality of what people are saying and be clear that no one has yet found convincing evidence for causation. I haven’t seen any evidence – I’ve heard of some in our field, but there’s been no clear causal relationship – for specific addictive gambling-related problems. If you’ve used alcohol, there is some scientific evidence that suggests that it reduces your risk for alcoholism. You may also be affected, maybe more than you realize, with the social conditions that are prevalent in some cities, and this is something that it would be interesting – just like I’ve researched – to investigate. I also think that there’s some evidence – and I’ve never studied this directly – that suggests that some of these negative outcomes – whether it’s the stress that one has as a professional gambler or the gambling-related pain that comes with a bad game of chips – are potentially related, if you can look at any group of gamblers, they tend to suffer pain and social problems. It could simply be that a certain kind of stress can cause the pathological gambling behavior in some people.
What do you predict will happen to the gambling industry if gambling doesn’t decline?
They’ll go into debt, they’ll be unable to recover money from their losses. It’s a very, very hard industry to operate in because of those costs, and it will be very hard to get their heads around. The industry has already had to accept that they’re going not just to keep going, that the economy is not going
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