Yesterday evening, V went very reluctantly with some friends to play bingo. The reason is that they are rehearsing a play which is set in a bingo hall, and they wanted to acquire some familiarity with what went on.
The experience was pretty appalling. Several hundred people at least, probably more, playing with the bingo books, and, in between games, using slot machines fitted into the tables. The noise of coins going in was deafening: a cascade of several hundred pounds at once. As if this were not enough, the entrance hall was chock-a-block with fruit machines.
I fear for our society if it is so culturally impoverished that this is all people want to do with their spare time. I fear even more if it has to do with a kind of fatalism, a feeling that we have so little control over our lives that we might as well leave everything to chance: the millions spent on lottery tickets and scratch-cards, and the growth of online gambling would suggest this.
Yes, I know various organisations benefit from lottery money, but gambling verging on the addictive is a high price to pay for supporting charities. It’s a colossal waste of human creativity and resources.