Gambling is definitely fun and entertaining. It’s also very stressful especially when you lose money. The gambling I’m referring to are the casino games and betting events, slot machines, Keno, and lottery. How about investments, like putting money into the stock market? Some might consider that as gambling as well. I would agree that it is a gamble to put money in the stock market or invest into a particular company. The biggest difference between the two, that I believe, is one has a higher probability of making money than the other. Investments is another topic I’ll write about it the upcoming future.
I’ve had my share of gambling experiences. My experience started with scratch offs. Scratch offs are those $1, $2, $5, or more cards you can buy where they sell lottery tickets. You scratch and see if you win. Very easy and very accessible. Scratch offs are almost everywhere even in grocery stores. They’re very addicting to me and I get a quick satisfaction thinking I could win a few bucks without having to go to an actual casino. Keno is fun hoping your numbers come out and playing your favorite numbers with the 3, 4, 5, or 6 number lottery drawings. Again, these type of games are very easy to play and easily accessible. The most I’ve won at one time was $20 but the amount of money I spent was a lot more. Negative impact financially.
A few years later, I had a couple of friends who started working at the local horse race track and that’s where I was first exposed to horse race betting. I really didn’t get into it so I never really learned how to bet. In college, I learned to play a whole bunch of card games with friends and of course there was money involved. I have to say that I spent a lot more time on cards than I should have. Negative impact financially.
And of course there’s the casino! The flashing lights, sounds of slot machines, entertainment, shows, buffets, shopping, and more. Tons of games to play from: blackjack, roulette, poker, and lots more. Casinos make it worth your time. Many of them have shows to watch, bands, and concerts. I love visiting casinos especially in Las Vegas. Besides the entertainment, let’s talk about the gambling aspects. There’s so much temptation in casinos to just want to place a bet. If you’re walking around and you hear a table start screaming because someone won big, you want to have some of that action. If you’re waiting around for a friend to finish playing, you don’t want to just stand there doing nothing. There’s always an itch or temptation to place one bet. One bet turns into two and so on. When the temptation becomes too much, that’s when you start to lose control.
In my years, I’ve gambled a lot of money away. The most I ever lost in one night was $700. I wish I never had my ATM card with me that night. If you take all my losses, I’m way negative. That’s because I kept thinking I could win the next hand. The next hand is mine. I’m eventually going to win a hand. For me, the reality was that I’ll never make any money from gambling. I realize that now.
How I view gambling now is that I see it as a form of entertainment, not a goal to make money. Just like how you spend money on concert tickets for entertainment, I see spending $100 in a casino as entertainment and that is my max limit. If I lose $100, I don’t spend anymore on gambling. If I happen to start winning, I always stop when I double my money. So, if I play $100 and I win $100, I will stop. My experience is that the longer you gamble, the more likely you’ll lose your money.
The biggest challenge for me was to change my mentality and my intentions towards gambling. When I first started gambling, my intentions were to make money. Later, my intentions towards gambling became to just have fun. I don’t mind losing a $100 at a blackjack table playing with others who are outgoing, friendly, and just having a fun time. The burden and stress was not worth it when your goal is to make money from gambling. One way I limit myself when I do gamble, I no longer take my ATM card with me and I only take $100 in cash for playing.
In conclusion, I do think gambling is entertaining and that’s how I see it, entertainment. If you consider gambling as a way to make money, then it’s not going to be enjoyable. How has this impacted my early retirement portfolio? It definitely has set me back. I don’t regret the experiences otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing about it. I do wish I was smarter with my money during my early years and could have used my money more wisely. I’ve probably lost about $10K from gambling and if I were to have invested that money instead, I’d probably have a good return. These are my experiences and my views only. You may have different experiences and different opinions, and that’s ok. For me, gambling has not been a positive financial contributor to my early retirement portfolio. If you are interested in following my journey, email subscribe to get alerts of latest posts.