P. Edronkin

The nature of gambling is the nature of humans



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Within the context of our society many different forms of betting, gambling, bidding and winning prizes have evolved over time. However, there are a lot of indications in the sense that gambling and the temptation for getting prizes of all sorts is a widespread behaviour transcending cultures and time.

It is easy to find examples of gambling in almost every culture: we have our casinos, but even the ancient Chinese or American Indians had their ways of making fast money.Among the Indians of America, the Aztecs (please note that America is a name that correctly applies to the whole continent, down to Tierra del Fuego; assuming that America is just the U.S.A. is bad speak) could bet their own freedom if they wanted to: on loosing, they became slaves for a wile, and then they became free again, after paying their debts. They did not have credit cards, but let's see if you could pay anything with cocoa seed, like they used to!

In a similar fashion, we have curious stories about gambling and betting all across the world: there was a Russian prince once, who thought that his revolver would make a terrific roulette, and so he became the first loser at the game that is strictly forbidden everywhere, but nevertheless attracts a lot of illegal and clandestine bets. A few years ago, an offshore website was shut down because they booked bets on celebrity deaths.

The thing was that people had to bet on who was the next celebrity to die across the world; naturally, authorities did not like the game because they could not tax it, plus it may be the case that someone may actually try to tamper with it and kill someone just to win. What was worse in the view of authoirites, we don't know.

And in other cultures, what the bet consist off may be truly bizarre: in Afghanistan and Pakistan, especially among the Pashtun tribes, goats and horses take the place of cash because these animals are very dear and special for them. Some scientific arguments were settled on bets over a cup of coffee or a dinner, and in a few occasions, particularly under survival circumstances, food bets were the local sensation.

During our expeditions, some of us, workers at Andinia, witnessed how some of our companions gambled on their food; we don't approve such a thing because under strenuous circumstances you need your food for surviving, but it has happened. And we can even say that modern product guarantees, as they are offered by any manufacturer, are a form of gambling too; customers become willing players when they realise that the guarantees offered are good for them.

So there is no point in denying the fact that playing is part of human nature as much as our biological and social functions.


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