[FOUNTAIN]Gambling popularity creates addicts of usBe careful of a person who holds all his cards in one hand when playing hwatu, Korean “flower cards.” It is an old saying to distinguish professional gamblers during a game as the way they hold their cards is totally different from a beginner who holds his cards all stretched out. Trying to win over them without knowing this can lead to trouble. When playing golf, people say “Do not play with a person who chooses the 2-iron.” The 2-iron can hit the ball far and accurately with a low trajectory but, since it is very hard to use, people usually do not choose it.
Despite these excellent sayings, there are still people who challenge the high rollers. The inclination to gamble is of very deep origin, enough to light up the nights of casinos within the city and at Kangwon Land.
The first person ever to scientifically analyze gambling was Girolamo Cardano ― an Italian mathematician from the 16th century. He built the foundation of the law of probability and calculate the cubic root for the cubic equation. Cardano concluded that “Gambling is a game we can only lose.” He advised, “Enjoy it appropriately but never become addicted to it.” However, the reality was Cardano himself ruined his life by becoming addicted to gambling in his forties. His son was also a gambler and his family became a mess. There aren’t many scholars who prove their theories so completely through their lives.
An American doctor Hans C. Breiter discovered that the brains of a gambling addict and a drug addict show the same responses. The same part of the right brain shows active movement in the blood stream whether injecting morphine or winning a bet. Interestingly, the left brain shows signs of loss and stress when a bet is lost or effects from the drug wear off. This is the reason why it is almost impossible to give up gambling or drugs once addicted.
Lotto is a gambling method officially recognized by Korea. It has become a leisure pasttime with 70 to 90 percent of the nation purchasing tickets. Lotto has again become a subject of investigation in the inspection of the administration conducted by the National Assembly. Companies that have collected excessive commission have been caught and an employer working at a lottery company who won first place by stealing information was discovered. The amount of money won but left unclaimed has now escalated to 126.9 billion won.
How are the blood streams in your right brain today? I hope there is no one pacing restlessly in front of lotto booths or making thoughtless challenges. Mathematician Cardano left these words before dying, “Watching my son ruin his life, I was able to quit gambling. Man is great because he gives more enlightenment than any academic studies.”
by Lee Chul-ho
The writer is a JoongAng Ilbo editorial writer.