I've had a shot at most vices in my life and some of them have been a lot of fun. But the gambling thing has never worked for me, and I have to say that I'm very grateful for that. To begin with my mathematical skills are minimal and so working out odds and other calculations is way beyond my basic abilities - one look at the horse racing channels with their borders of moving numbers makes my head whirl. I don't disapprove of the business, it's just outside my life experience.
Perhaps I was taught my lesson by a visit to a local racing track when I was about 16. I didn't have a lot of money and I lost everything and had to borrow the bus fare home. Sitting on the top deck that day I think I came to the conclusion that the amount of fun to be had by giving all my money to some loudly dressed fellow with a satchel was not equal to the effort of acquiring it. Hence I have probably over my lifetime not expended more than $20 in bets, and that includes office sweepstakes, which are sort of mandatory.
I find it interesting that we are not allowed to gamble in California unless it's on land that belongs to Indians - I mean the local types, of course, and not from the sub-continent. Now what idiot politician came up with that one? I had to do a piece on our local casino some time ago and found it was not only very swish but it had the biggest car park I think I'd ever seen. They must be able to cater to the entire population of San Bernardino in there.
What I also found interesting, as I approached the institution along the moving walkway from the parking structure, was that I was greeted with the smell of cigarettes. It was really most unpleasant, and I had forgotten how nasty it was as California has been a sort of No Smoking area for over a decade. But it seems that not only are you allowed to gamble on Indian land but you can smoke your head off too. The experience did not encourage me to take up either vice.