A few years ago, a knucklehead from Harvard University (USA) produced an article in which he claimed a lot of rubbish, resulting in a volume of literary vomit that can only be defined as Ad caveat ad Nauseam.

First and foremost, he erred in his facts. Baccarat is not a skill-based game, and it’s one of those casino games fully dependent on luck and chance. A “House Banked Game” is another name for it.

He didn’t say that Video Poker is a skill-based game. He presented live poker players as examples of gamblers, yet poker players play a game in which the casino is not involved, as poker is the only casino game that the casino does not bank.

Then he referenced NGISC (National Gambling Impact Study Commission) problem gambling figures ranging between 1.5 and 15 percent, but mostly around 2.5 percent – but he couldn’t decide which. According to the report, this figure is closer to 0.85 percent of problem gamblers.

But, if so, which of the three NGISC report versions was he referring to?

Is it the original?

Is it the revised version?

What is the religious right’s response?

He compared pathological gambling to a type of dopamine addiction seen in cocaine addicts looking for a high. He cited clinical studies that appeared to show increased blood flow to the brain regions that produce dopamine, resulting in an addictive “feeling of well-being” (my quote), which is the repeatable result of certain behavioral patterns in humans – humans seek out those activities that produce, and reproduce, that feeling, in this case, an increase in dopamine in those brain regions.

This, according to the author, is what attracts casino players to gambling and is the source of addiction.

So these psychiatrists should find a lake and jump in!

More than 130 years ago, Pavlov’s dog demonstrated this.

What is wrong with that? Is the question under question.

The basic fact is that no matter what the rest of their species do, a portion of all animals will have a proclivity towards specific behaviors. According to the survey, just 1% of the 167 million or so persons in the United States have a “gambling addiction.” However, this does not imply that it is, and even if it is, statistically and sociologically, it is immaterial.

The claim that such individuals inflict a 5 billion dollar economic loss to the community defies logic and vastly overestimates the “costs” of such a small fraction of people.

According to the article’s admission, only about 5 million adults in the United States have a “clinical addiction” to gambling. Do these 5 million people truly cost $5 billion or more to society?

Get up and smell the numbers!

According to the author, even if we accept the author’s perspective, the gambling business earns $866 BILLION in economic revenue. And it’s even more so today. Even the over $5 billion “expense” is a minor financial “mistake” in comparison. No economist, or even a fanatical gambler, would ever consider this to be of any relevance in the grand scheme of things.

The simple truth is that some people will always be prone to some form of behavioral aberration that psychologists will always label as “wrong.” For example, if I opt to play Live Monopoly, I make a personal decision. So, what’s the problem?

But, according to these self-absorbed philanthropists, I made the incorrect decision since I might – I say I might – be prone to game addiction. Is there anyone in this room who is “addicted” to Monopoly? Or how about Scrabble? Or any other board game, for that matter?

Even the most inconveniently placed gaming games; it turns out, frequently have strategies. This is also true in the online game Live Monopoly, in which a small amount of system may lead to some quite spectacular wins. On Monopoly Live, you should learn about some of the best Big Wins.

“Wrong” is, after all, a short term. What you consider “wrong” may be completely “correct” for someone else – or culture at various historical points.

Some people will always be overweight, while others will always be skinny; some will always be tall, while others will always be short; some will always have brown hair, while others will have blond hair; some will have blue eyes, while others will have green eyes; and so on (until we begin to engineer ourselves to the point of total conformity genetically).

Some folks will overeat; others will drink excessively, yet others will gamble overly and frequently. Others, though, will not.

And if that author believed that this small fraction of people were anyway “abusers,” he, like everyone else involved in this research, is a fool. They’re all just looking for ways to get more taxpayer money for more and more pointless research.

God spare us from the horde of psychiatrists attempting to help us!

It’s up to the rest of us to pick up the pieces.

(I adapted this from Paddy Chyawski’s script “The Americanization of Emily,” released in 1964.)

And that is exactly how it is.

Now that we’ve all gone down this educationally oriented online Primrose Path, how about we all go to Live Monopoly, learn some strategy, and go for all those great wins? Now that we’ve disproved those self-styled pseudo-psycho do-gooders who want to ruin our fun by forcing us to give up our freedom of choice to play what we want when we want, where we want, and how we want, it seems like this will be a much better use of our time.

And, for the time being, that’s all I have to say about my Soap Box.