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'Fun money' can find a better kind of enjoyment than gambling

Columnist Dave Ramsey says even when gambling funds are part of the budget, he doesn't think of gambling as "fun."

Dave Says — Dave Ramsey column sig
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Dear Dave,

Sometime on vacation trips I like to check out casinos. I always account for the money I wager in my budget, and I never spend more than I’ve allotted. How do you feel about gambling at a casino, as long as you limit your spending this way?

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— Carson

Dear Carson,

OK, I’m going to be honest about this. When someone tells me they gamble for fun or recreation, my first thought is they’re crazy – crazy enough to think they’ll actually come out ahead. I mean, you might see a news story once in a while about someone winning big money in a casino, but that almost never happens. Think, too, about how much cash those folks flushed down the toilet previously while gambling. In reality, there’s a strong chance they didn’t really “win” anything. They probably just recouped a small portion of their previous, substantial losses.

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I know, all this probably makes me sound old and out of touch. But I just don’t get the concept of gambling “for fun.” I don’t find it thrilling or exciting to lose money I’ve worked hard to earn, even if there are flashing lights and a party going on. Don’t get me wrong, my wife and I include “fun money” in our budget every month and do things we enjoy. But, to each his own, I guess.

Still, my advice would be don’t waste your time and money on that stuff. One way or another, the house always wins. It’s your money, and you can what you want with it, Carson. But think about this: Why do most of the folks sitting at slot machines and card tables look like they can’t afford to lose money? The majority look desperate, some even angry, and that’s sad. I don’t know, maybe it’s the lighting or some other strange coincidence.

Yeah, I don’t think so.

— Dave

Dave Ramsey is a personal money-management expert, a bestselling author and host of the nationally syndicated radio program “The Dave Ramsey Show,” which is heard locally on KROC-AM. For more financial advice, visit daveramsey.com .

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