The problems that most people have with gambling tend to fall into one of two categories: either they have moral/ethical beliefs against it, or they believe it is a waste of money. While there isn’t much you can do to convince someone that their morals are wrong, you do have ammunition against those who come down on you with claims that gambling is a waste of time and money. I’m going to explain two approaches to attacking this problem, but which approach you take depends on what type of gambler you are. Do you gamble for entertainment purposes only, or are you out to win a profit?
For those who gamble purely for the entertainment value, your argument is fairly simple and doesn’t require that the person you are arguing with be reasonable, intelligent, understanding, or really anything past being a vegetable with the ability to nod. With a small amount of math, you can prove how much money you expect to lose on average, and after converting this to an hourly amount, you simply explain that this hourly amount is merely the cost of entertainment. You can prove, for example, that playing blackjack for two hours with $10 bets has an expected loss of about $3 an hour (assuming a 1% house advantage and that you’re playing 30 hands an hour). This is comparable to the cost of seeing a movie in theaters, and by proving this, you have a very powerful argument.
For those who gamble intelligently for the purposes of a profit, your job is much more difficult in defending your right to gamble against those who see it as a waste of money. It’s obvious that their misunderstanding of how your particular game or wagers operate is the source of their sentiments, so your only hope is to convince your antagonist that the skill element of your particular game or gambling outlet is enough to pull the game in your favor. For games like poker and even blackjack, this can be fairly simple to do (assuming the right audience). For sports betting and other types of wagering on outside events, this is close to impossible. While it can be aggravating at times to have to defend how you make money, it’s also a blessing. After all, you don’t want everyone nagging you to teach them how to count cards for blackjack or wanting you to tell them your picks week after week.
While how you defend your position depends primarily on who you’re having a discussion or an argument with, the high rollers have a solution to get anyone off their backs about gambling. It is, in my opinion, a very foolish thing to do, but the effectiveness is undeniable. Their solution? Light a wad of $100 bills on fire and laugh about it. While not particularly practical, this is sure to make anyone stop questioning your gambling habits.