Gambling figures are escalating
A RATHER worrying statistic shows that, in some countries, gambling is the fastest growing leisure pursuit. It appears that many people like to bet and are prepared to gamble on everything from horse racing to bingo to staterun lotteries.
Some people gamble only occasionally. For example, they may choose always to have a flutter on a horse of their choice in a particular race every year, sometimes attending the race meeting and sometimes going to a betting shop. For the rest of the year, they simply do not give horseracing a thought and never go near a bookmaker’s.
There again, a group of friends might occasionally spend an evening at a casino to try their luck at roulette, but stop before they spend more than they intended.
A popular pastime, especially with some older ladies, is to attend a bingo hall to see if they can hit the jackpot by having all the numbers on their cards called. Most of them think of it as just a bit of fun.
Doing the football pools is a common form of household gambling. People fill out football coupons by predicting the result of various football matches and send them off to the pools company running the scheme. addiction the condition of being unable to stop doing or using something, especially something harmful: Liz has gone to a clinic to get help with her alcohol addiction. addiction having an addiction to something: The teenager is already addicted to nicotine. addict a person who suffers from an addiction: Mary has been a drug addict since she was a teenager. bet to risk a sum of money on the unknown result of something such as a horse race, by trying to predict this and so win money: He bet $100 on a horse owned by his father, but it came in last. bet John was sure that Alice would arrive last, but he lost the bet. betting shop (same as bookmaker’s) a shop where you can place bets on a horse race or other events: He loves gambling and spends all his money in a local betting shop. bingo a game in which each player is given a card with numbers on it and numbers are then called out at random, the aim of the game bring to match the number on the card with the number called out, with the person who is first to match all the numbers winning a prize.
Then there are the various national lotteries. In order to win one of these, and the odds are often extremely high, someone has to have purchased a lottery ticket which bears the same number as the one officially selected as the winning numbers. Lotteries are often in aid of good causes and so people do not usually see much gambling as a vice.
Gambling can be a harmless form of entertainment, but it can lead to a serious form of addiction. There are many compulsive gamblers who simply cannot stop themselves from placing bets and bring ruin on themselves and their families.
The only thing for them to do is to give up gambling altogether. For them, there is no such thing as the occasional flutter. Help is available from organisations such as Gamblers Anonymous, but first they must try to help themselves. bookmaker’s the shop of a bookmaker, a person who accepts bets and pays out money to people who win; Jack went to the bookmaker’s to collect his winnings.
casino a public place where gambling game, such as card games and roulette, take place: The casino is a private club and only members may gamble there. compulsive 1. unable to stop being someone; unable to stop behaving like someone: Adam is a compulsive liar; don’t believe anything he says. Sara is a compulsive shopper. 2. unable to stop doing something: John’s compulsive gambling has left him penniless. escalate to become, or cause to be, greater, more intense, more serious, etc: The scale of the flooding problem escalated when it started to rain again. There are fears that this attack will escalate the war. flutter (informal) a small bet on something: Mum’s little flutter on the 4D lottery won her RM250. football coupon (also coupon) an entry form for football pools which lists football matches so that people can predict the results: Although Jim filled in the football coupon, he forgot to post it. football pools (also pools) a form of gambling in Britain in which people try to win money by trying to predict the result of various football matches: Jack’s won the pools and given up his job. gamble to risk money on something in the hope of winning more money, especially to take part in games of chance, such as card games or roulette, or to place bets on horse races, etc. I don’t know why Pete gambles because he always loses. Gamblers Anonymous an organisation which provides help and support for people who are addicted to gambling and are trying to give it up, similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, an organisation which helps people who are addicted to alcohol: Frank desperately wants to stop gambling and has joined Gamblers Anonymous. good cause something, such as a charity, which deserves help: The money from the appeal is going to children’s charities and other good causes. jackpot to win the most valuable prize in a competition, such as a game of chance: Anna certainly won the jackpot; she won the National Lottery outright. hit the jackpot (figurative) to have great success or luck in something: Matt certainly hit the jackpot when he invested money in Jill’s firm; it’s just been bought over for several million dollars. leisure pursuit something which you do when you are not at work and can enjoy yourself, a hobby, a pastime: Mary’s favourite leisure pursuit is hill-walking. lottery a large-scale game of chance, usually organised by a government or charity, to raise money for public causes, in which numbered tickets are sold and a draw is held to select the winning numbers: Helen does the National Lottery every week and chooses the same numbers. try your luck at to do something that involves chance or some risk, in the hope of winning or succeeding: I tried my luck at mahjong last night, but I lost a lot of money. odds plural the likelihood or probability that something will occur: The odds are that we will fail. against all the odds extremely unexpectedly: Against all the odds the cancer patient recovered. race meeting a series of horse races run on the same course on the same day or over several successive days: This is the last race meeting of the season. roulette a gambling game in which a ball is rolled on to a moving horizontal wheel divided into a number of numbered and coloured compartments, with players betting on which compartment the ball will be in when the wheel stops. statistic a piece of information from a collection of data, shown in numbers: An alarming statistic is that the number of accidents on that road has increased by 30 per cent in the past two years. *statistics plural a collection of data shown in numbers and based on the number of times something happens: I don’t know the exact statistics, but women still live longer than men.
Answer the following questions.
1. Give another name for betting shop.
2. Rewrite the following sentence, replacing the words in bold with a plural noun:
The probability is that the event will be cancelled because of the rain.
3. What is the name of the organisation which helps people who are addicted to alcohol?
4. Rewrite the following sentence, replacing the words in bold with a two-word noun: There are a great many charities and other organisations which deserve help, but I have very little money and can only give donations to a few of them.
5. Give an informal form of the noun bookmaker.
6. Rewrite the following sentence, replacing the words in bold with a phrase:
Very unexpectedly, Jim won first prize in the competition; he had only recently started to play the game.
7. Complete the following sentence:
I want to buy some bread and cake; I am going to the ...........................
8. Rewrite the following sentence, replacing the words in bold with a phrase:
Bill was much the best poker player there and it was no surprise when he won most money.
9. Rewrite the following sentence, replacing the words in bold with a plural: Numerical data based on Sara’s research revealed that 75 per cent of people in that area are house owners.
10. Write down the full form of the word coupon when it is concerned with gambling.