Thursday, 26 March 2020

Is Gambling to Do with Nature or Nurture?


It's an interesting question. 

I am part of a horse racing Facebook page - Craig's Betting Blog. It's a new page with about 34 members. I help Craig promote his website. 

What I love about horse racing is that you can bump into people from all over the UK if not the world. 

Craig comes from Liverpool, a great fan of his football and two-year-old horse racing. He, like me, can't get enough of two-year-old horse racing. As we know, domestic thoroughbred horse racing has come to a halt but that hasn't stopped Craig's Facebook Page (or website for that matter) from carrying on regardless. 

Anyway, I could ramble on for an eternity about people, horse racing, gambling and all those things that put a smile on your face. 

One of the members of Craig's Betting Blog Facebook page is Seamus Furlong. 

To learn a little bit more about each of the 34 members of the page I asked this question: 


I wonder which part of the world does everyone come from? Hometown and your favourite racecourse you go to regular. I want to put some pins on my new globe.

Only about three of the group replied. However, those who have a good story to tell.
This is what Seamus Furlong said:


I’m southeast of Ireland, a little village called Camolin. It has three petrol stations, three pubs, four shops, and butchers. It's a nice community. Everyone knows each other. The only downside is if you fuck up everyone knows.


Wexford is the nearest racecourse but my fav course is Punchestown.

Mick Fitzgerald, ex-jockey, was two classes behind me in school sound lad. 

Jimmy fortune ex-jockey lived about three miles from me, sound lad, as well. Bobby Beasley ex-jockey rode Captain Christy to win the Gold Cup in 1974. Thomson Beasley’s father in law trained a Grand National winner. I can’t remember his first name or the horse's name bit before my time.

Anyway, Seamus replied about a recent visit to Great Yarmouth Grosvenor Casino. Readers may know I like to visit this Norfolk coast for horse racing, casino nights out and just to have a relaxing holiday. 

Seamus considered whether gambling is a matter of nature or nurture. 

This is a philosophical debate.

I wonder if Charles Darwin was a gambling man? (Yes, I know it was the Theory of Evolution rather than specific to nature vs nurture but they are all found along the same path depending where you stop).

I studied Psychology at the Open University. I manage to achieve a 2:1, so I guess I have a little bit of understanding.  

This will be far from a tutor-marked assignment (just as well).

I will detail my basic thoughts from a personal perspective. So the answer, from what I understand, is this:

Would I have been interested in gambling if it hadn't been for environmental factor/influence? 

Most socialisation comes from your parents or caregivers. My mum has never been that interested in gambling. However, she used to play the lottery for a number of years. Considering this started when I was in my late 20s I very much doubt she steered me down the gambling route. 

So if I have anyone to thank or blame, it is most likely to do with my dad, Colin. My father loved a bet. He loved going to Great Yarmouth racing, and he used to enjoy going to the casino when they had one in March (our home town) called the March Cabaret Club & Casino owned by local businessman Peter Skoulding. If memory serves, all of my family, relatives and Dad's friends loved the place. Uncle Keith used to tell me how he would go broke every Saturday night and work all week returning like something out of Groundhog Day. Even though most must have lost their shirts, it sounds like a lot of fun. 

Have I followed in my father's shoes? 

I know for a fact, my love of horseracing and gambling comes from my father.

Dad wasn't a big gambler. He was like most people too busy earning a living to be able to make his betting pay. He had a few big wins over the years when a yankee or two come in. He never backed short-priced horses so a few bets made biggish money. However, I doubt very much he was in pocket. 

Anyway, that is another story. 

So nurture definitely played its part in my journey of life. 

But what about nature?

Would I have been a gambler if never being in the betting goldfish bowl (so to speak)? 

That's the trouble with psychology and trying to manipulate variables. How can you take the nature out of nurture or nurture out of nature? 

More importantly, would you gamble without experiencing it for yourself? 

Homo sapien evolved to gamble, even before the casino was built up the road. It was probably the characteristic or trait that gave an advantage over the other poor souls who didn't appreciate those two flies crawling up a wall. 

Seamus said he had read somewhere about genes of a past king influencing the likelihood of a future generation of gamblers. 

It could well be the case individuals are more prone to gambling just because of their DNA, biological capacity, or whatever you wish to call it. 

But, without question, gambling, as with all aspects of the human condition is intertwined between nature and nurture.