Yes, they can, even to those who don’t play at all.
Lethal viruses have been among us since forever — stealth, indiscriminate, predatory, and swift. Imposing insurmountable tolls on human lives, they were harbingers of uncertainty, despair, fear, and panic long before we started to cherish the brittle yet powerful and rewarding gift of life or gambling for that matter.
Throughout history, we kept mitigating their impact by scientific breakthroughs, let alone resolute determination to prevail, sense of belonging, compassion, and love.
Above all, we protected ourselves, coped with, and overcame deadly viruses through our individual and collective responsibilities.
We will continue to do so while facing these pathogens in the foreseeable future. We’ll keep on balancing our awareness and capabilities with threats and weight of cost they impose — and acting accordingly, resembling the ways prudent players assess choices and chances in hi-stakes games.
Why? Because lethal viruses are unique.
They undergo natural selection and advance rapidly. When they infect the same cell at the same time, viruses may exchange genetic material and produce new lethal strains with exclusive properties. Some of them have high mutation rates allowing particularly fast evolution. They use host cells’ infrastructure to create specialized, self-assembled particles with a purpose to transport from cell to cell.
We discovered viruses rather late, at the end of the last century. Only with the advent of molecular biology in the 1950s, we were able to approach their classification systematically.
It’s a limited time to understand the threatening complexity of the most lethal ones and devise ways to fight them. Despite enormous medical and technological achievements, we still don’t have cures for Marburg, Ebola, Hantavirus, Lassa, Hendra, Nipah, or Japanese Encephalitis viruses.
When we face such odds, prevention and personal responsibility are all we have at our disposal.
Controlling the Unpredictable
On the other hand, influenza — blameworthy of the worst pandemics in the Anthropocene — is treatable today. Effective vaccines exist, and the vast majority of patients survive this highly infectious respiratory disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu has caused at least 38 million cases in the United States this season. Almost 23,000 people perished — 0.06 percent of all infected.
But, influenza can be exceptionally cunning.
The virus keeps constantly mutating, creating new strains, with thousands of genetic variants present at any given moment. The majority is harmless, although available vaccines cover only forty percent of new strains per each year.
In other words…
We have many unknown unknowns when it comes to lethal or threatening viruses.
Still, the most noteworthy mystery in this molecular arena is human reactions to outbreaks and how we handle pandemics as society and civilization.
Novel Covid-19 disease, stemming from the SARS-Cov-2 virus, only amplifies how little we know about lethal infections — and how unpredictable, intransigent, perhaps even complacent, evidently fearful yet determined to overcome them we are.
Regardless of the connectivity and all-around availability of information, our global response to Covid-19 checks all boxes of insightful note of Arthur Schopenhauer.
“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
When the pandemic finally landed in force on shores around the world, hundreds of thousands of cases later, grounding halt of life kicked in.
The insurmountable onus on medical workers and hospitals began. So did the stockpiling frenzy, national lockdowns, fast-galloping stocks meltdowns, talks about the next recession, and fundamental disruption of ways we think and behave.
The questions without answers — or with those we don’t like — keep mounting up. We have to change our habits and adapt quickly. Our livelihoods are in jeopardy. Our out-and-about is out of the window. We don’t know where this road leads and when it ends.
The most challenging representations of Covid-19 are the ensuing infodemic on pandemic and individual irresponsibilities.
And, we face the virus with a staggering lethality and no treatment at hand.
According to the World Health Organization, the average worldwide fatality rate is around 4.35 percent at the moment. Italy, which has the highest number of casualties, is currently at 12.60 percent, as the Italian Ministry of Health reports.
If we were to translate these rates in gambling language, we’d consider them as bets to avoid at any cost.
Asphalt Jungle Without People
Ultimately, the global outcome of Covid-19 will depend on how we respond as a civilization to the unpredictable nature of its uncharted territory — including the tsunami of myths and reckless behaviors.
This is where lessons on responsible gambling might help.
For instance, every experienced online punter instantly recognizes the infodemic symptoms present in the iGaming world since the 1990s. Questionable casino reviews, incorrect regulations’ instructions, inflated reputations, expert-wannabes advice — you name it.
To counter the issue…
Prudent parties devised ways to amend the impact of highly infectious disinformation by objectively measuring the strength of arguments’ support and opposition, therefore increasing the awareness and limiting the threat of blunders or predatory casinos.
Likewise, responsible players know that outcomes in well-regulated gambling markets boil down to an individual approach: Gambling results have nothing to do with casinos, providers, affiliates, legislators, or regulators, but with patrons who call the shots in acting upon personal whims and opinions.
As we try to adapt to the SARS-CoV-2 era, we thought the framework of responsible gambling philosophy might be a useful tool in coping with the pandemic of rather high stakes — packed in nothing more than another page of Covid-19 diaries to read while indoors.
(With that in mind: To the army of medical workers who tirelessly and selflessly devote themselves to suppressing Covid-19 pandemic: We owe you our infinite and profound gratitude. To those in hospitals or self-isolation battling SARS-CoV-2 virus: We pray that you get back to us.)
The Inner Game
MAKE INFORMED CHOICE. Just like gambling regulations resources follow mandatory instructions from legislative bodies, there are plenty of trusted Covid-19 sources to use and make knowledgeable decisions:
- The World Health Organization website and scientific studies
- Leading virology authorities and reliable media deprived of sensationalism
- Expert-based overviews or any other opinion you deem worthy of trusting your life with.
However, since we never faced the SARS-CoV-2 virus, some data might be initially inaccurate or change with new findings.
Try always to seek confirmation and corroborate, let alone update facts.
Prudent online slots players know this very well.
These players make the informed choice whenever possible — which is always. They lay aside erroneous gambling beliefs and don’t allow them to influence their decisions. They understand associated risks and realize the odds. They evaluate the likelihood of winning or losing before the games begin.
Don’t allow anyone except trusted experts to influence decisions only you can own — particularly in fighting the lethal virus.
BALANCE INPUT WITH PRIORITIES. Currently, there’s no other topic other than Covid-19. Everything we hear, read, see is about this disease, and that’s the way it should be.
The amount of information and the impact can be overwhelming enough to lose yourself, attempting to figure it all out. Try not to do that.
As any responsible player will testify, one has to keep a healthy balance between gambling and other activities and priorities. Indulging in live dealer games can be excellent and rewarding fun, but gaming should never compromise the remaining aspects of players’ lives.
While all patrons play to win, prudent ones recognize such a delicate line as the border no one should ever cross.
Nothing is more important than our health, partners, families, friends, homes, careers, and yes — our pets!
Let’s consider using these simple steps to prohibit Covid-19 misbalancing us more than it’s necessary to stay safe.
CONTROL SEEMINGLY UNCONTROLLABLE URGES. When it comes to our fear of death, we all end up in the same place when our time comes, although we relentlessly strive to manage when that is. Only we can’t. It’s inevitability way beyond us.
We can control opinions, impulses, desires, and aversions. When we firmly supervise these sensations and emotions, we effectively manage ourselves — and that’s all one could ask for.
The most advanced players are aware of this.
They’re in control by self-regulating their gambling. They know their limits and seize the right opportunities. They know when to stop and when not to play.
We may exercise such steps while fighting Covid-19 by self-regulating desires, by self-isolating when needed, and by simply being careful. We can responsibly outwait our impulses, make constructive opinions, and get a grip of aversions.
Moves and Plays
STOCKPILE AND SELF-DISTANCE AFFORDABLY. Whenever we face prolonged uncertainties, we hoard and stash necessities. It’s a prudent move: With no supplies, even the greatest army is doomed.
Covid-19 is no exception, albeit we’ve witnessed stockpiling frenzy — and price gouging — beyond belief.
Ranging from ludicrous to absurd, even aggressive and dangerous, this phenomenon will reverberate in time as the unique reminder to the sum of our fears, to paraphrase Tom Clancy.
The analogy to gambling affordability may come in handy here.
Responsible patrons don’t go beyond affordable limits of their money, time, or any other resource. They gamble only in what they can afford to lose. They adhere to affordability limits set well in advance of the gambling session.
When these players face what they cannot afford, the fold or surrender is mandatory — particularly important in blackjack. It’s one of the greatest strengths the patron possesses.
In terms of Covid-19…
We cannot afford to lose ourselves, but we cannot afford to lose other people as well. Let’s also consider them: They should be equally able to afford as much as they need.
Affordability comes to mind in social distancing, too.
Can we afford to go out when we don’t need to? Can our partners, parents, kids, or neighbors afford that too?
STAY HARM-FREE. As long as players indulge in games with the absence of any related harm to themselves and others, they avoid developments of any additional problems — including compulsive issues or addiction.
In such cases, gambling is fun — not always the cheap one, but undoubtedly entertaining. The vast majority of different types of gamblers know this well.
That’s why the National Council on Problem Gambling estimates only one percent of the total population of the United States meets pathological gambling criteria, while additional two to three percent of adults are classified as problem gamblers — another tribute to positive results of well-regulated markets with legalized gambling that speaks volumes about players’ discipline.
Nothing holds us back to apply the same principles to Covid-19.
Everything we want to do is on the table, as long as it does not bring us any harm. If it does, let’s not do it. It's as simple as that.
ENJOY IT. Responsible patrons make games an enjoyable experience. They’re motivated by playing for pleasure, not for the money. Of course, when they win, the best just gets better, but the essence is in entertainment. When the fun stops, problems begin.
We can make indoor time while fighting Covid-19 entertaining.
There are movies, books, people to talk online, new skills to learn in free online courses, motivating quotes to explore (such as “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”)
We can practice iGaming tactics while playing for free and increase gambling knowledge. Then, read biographies of best gamblers and pick up their brains to improve playing strategies. We can use this time to become better at the games we play.
One way or the other…
If we don’t make Covid-19 at lease somehow enjoyable, it may consume us without even being infected. With fun and uplifting activities, we keep ourselves composed as we face the menacing disease.
Why We’ll Prevail: Caremongering
Despite our difficulties to heed expert advice in battling Covid-19 and the initial knee jerk reactions — similar to ways some gamblers decide to venture outside the envelope of responsible gambling — we gradually begin to show our strengths and magnificent traits.
Increasingly frequent acts of kindness around the world boil down to the word that did not even exist a week ago: Caremongering.
The message is simple: It’s about the hope we can afford, and no one can take away from us.
We hope to continue approaching this pandemic carefully and responsibly. We hope to proceed in acting upon information from expert sources. We hope to remain disciplined and within the range of current confinements.
If we continue to do so — we shall prevail.
Proven responsible gambling lessons might only help, even to those who don’t play at all.