Aside from the on-going hearings on localized forms of gambling being conducted by the City Council of Baguio, the recent uptick in the grand prize for the grand lotto has generated so much interest in this particular form of gambling among ordinary citizens in this city, that if not for the welcome interruption provided by Manny Pacquiao’s latest ring victory, gambling would have have been the staple diet of news commentries in the local mass media running for more than a week now.
So, we are into gambling days with many people’s consciousness occupied by the usual fantasy of hittting the millions in the national lottery. While the probability of making it lies in a million in one chance, this has not prevented our countrymen from lining up in the lotto ticket booth in growing numbers to take another chance at that elusive Lady Luck. Indeed, here is one human activity where the truism “hope springs eternal” runs truest to form.
Numerous myths and legends have been built around great fortunes being made by gamblers, but real friends will tell you that those who really made their fortunes in gambling are not the gamblers themselves but those who own the gambling joint or those who run the entire operations as the PCSO in the grand lotto. Of course, there are the police and politicians who get their regular quota of grease money from jueteng lords or operators. They are also raking it in without sweating at all.
But the lessons people from Baguio and Benguet learned from big time gambling like when the casinos were still operating in Baguio are too recent to forget. Hard-earned family fortunes were lost in these casinos and many families broke up under the stress and tensions of addiction to gambling. Thus, there is a strong anti-gambling sentiment among those who really value family life hereabouts, and this finds expression in the advocacies of some religious and cause-oriented groups in the city. We find their stance commendable and worthy of all our support.
Still, the gambling operators and their cohorts do not stop in finding ways and means to get the people more deeply engaged in all kinds of gambling.So when the heat was turned on “jueteng” recently, they readily shifted their proposals to the small-town-lottery (STL) type even as some form of online jai-alai has been operating to fill in the gap. These people who get rich at the expense of other peoples’ miseries seem never to run out of options and alternatives to keep their business going.
That exactly is the curse of gambling. Like illegal drugs, it is so addictive that it is so hard to shake off. And with the kind of political backing it is getting from those highly connected to the powers-that-be we can expect gambling of all types to increase further. The reason is simple. There is so much easy money to be made here and many unscrupulous individuals are willing to take all kinds of risks to put their hands on these big bucks.
Unless those really concerned with the moral values of our people and the welfare of our families can sustain a continuing campaign to convince local authorities to put their foot down on this issue. We have seen it done before as in some kind of a citizens’ crusade. Here is hoping that we can do it again and again if only for the sake of our families, especially our children.# nordis.net