Let George Do It

Zig Ziglar on

The phrase "let George do it" has long been popular with Americans.

A few years ago, "George" was identified by many people as "legalized gambling." They honestly believed that if we would promote and legalize the lottery the profits could be used to educate our children. Unfortunately, since the lottery became popular, gambling addicts have more than doubled. The lottery, for most gamblers, is the first step into the gambling habit that later turns into addiction.

One of the most disturbing aspects of legalized gambling is the fact that state governments participate in promoting it. Television ads are very seductive and misleading by telling only about the winners, never mentioning the losers and the fact that many people get into the habit of buying one, five, 10 or more lottery tickets every week. In the process, they don't provide adequately for their families. Factually speaking, you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than you have of winning a multimillion dollar lottery. Too bad we are so easily seduced by false promises and the belief that the lottery is a "harmless activity." The truth is that the lottery is expensive for everyone except those who sell the tickets and oversee the administration of the lottery.

The excitement generated by the slim chance of instant profit has increased the popularity of casinos as well as the number of gambling addicts. People become addicted very quickly. The August 17, 1998, issue of The Dallas Morning News included an Associated Press report from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which stated that at least 80% of adults and 86% of adolescents in Louisiana have taken part in some form of gambling. State health officials say the state could be ripe for problems from compulsive wagering. They say that roughly 5% of adults are likely to have gambling problems. Twenty-two percent of adolescents and 14.3% of adults ages 18-21 are inclined toward compulsive gambling.

The State Office of Alcohol and Drug Abuse is currently developing a program to prevent and treat problem gambling. The figures they use are on par with other states, said Reese Middleton, executive director of the Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling. Cecile Guin, director of the Office of Social Services Research and Development at Louisiana State University, said she expects the trouble to worsen the longer gambling remains in the state.

In addition, the casinos are now heavily advertising themselves as a family activity, providing supervised child-care with games and entertainment while they strip the parents of their future in the casino. It doesn't take much imagination to know that when Mom and Dad return to their kids and talk with them, the major topic will not be how much fun the kids had, but how much money Mom and Dad won or lost. Statistically speaking, the odds of losing are dramatically higher than the chances of winning, but kids who are raised in that environment and who see the "fun" their parents are having will be far more likely to end up as gamblers themselves.


Much of the "rebellion of youth" is not rebellion at all. The kids want to be like adults, and if the adult "thing" is to buy lottery tickets and play the slots, they simply are emulating what they've seen. They want to grow up faster so they can "have fun like Mom and Dad." My mother was right when, many years ago, she said, "Your children more attention pay to what you do than what you say" and "You teach what you know but you reproduce what you are."

The message is clear: Parents, the next time you buy a lottery ticket or head for the casino, remember that the example you are setting is not one that will produce the kinds of leaders our families, our businesses and our country need. Think about it, and I'll see you at the top!


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