Interesting phrasing

When I was a teenager, my family found out that my dad had been secretly gambling for years. He had remortgaged the house and wasted more than £100,000 of family money.

Who earned the money?

23 thoughts on “Interesting phrasing”

  1. The money earned by an individual goes in part to meet that individual’s responsibilities and engagements so to the extent that the individual’s children and, possibly, spouse are dependent on him meeting unspoken, non-contractual obligations, then yes “family money” may be a reasonable concept.

    Of course, given that this is an emotionally charged, self-pitying whine in the guardian, the natural reaction is to yawn and look for something better to read.

  2. “Either way, I feel guilty and would appreciate any advice on how to handle this.”

    ‘…so I’m going to ask a bunch of smug strangers who read this ghastly ex-fish & chip wrapper for advice.’

  3. We only ever hear from the losers in gambling. But mathematically there is a pound won for every pound lost (minus a few % for bookies’ commission), so someone must be sitting on a near £100k win.

    Or do the maths not work out like that, and the bookies actually take the vast majority of winnings through repeated plays?

  4. I guess all of us have 2-3 mates that at some time suffered a gambling addiction, who crashed and burned to the detriment of their dependants. Dependents being the operative word.

  5. Millenials are poor communicators. She may have left out important details, like any actual problems the family had.

    ‘wasted more than £100,000 of family money’

    Doesn’t tell what we need to know to have empathy.

    And given the Guardian’s stilted proscription,
    ‘please be sensitive to the fact that you are responding to a real person in the grip of a real-life dilemma,’ I’m even less inclined to empathy.

  6. TMB is right. The twat had responsibilities. If you’re not man enough to assume responsibilities don’t marry and don’t spawn gets.

  7. A £100,000 loss is £100 a week for 20 years. Assuming he was an average gambler and the bookies take a 5% spread, he was betting an average of £2,000 a week for 20 years, without his family finding out. There must be a job for someone who can maintain that level of discretion over such a long period.

  8. ‘The twat had responsibilities.’

    What’s your point? We have no information that he didn’t meet them.

  9. @Andrew M,

    The minuscule winning tail consists of pros*. Everyone else loses, usually slowly. The casinos want you to leave a loser just over half the time, but as a winner almost half the time – those are the times that keep you coming back.

    *And me – my record being a £10 win on the first ever national lottery and a 6:1 the only time I ever backed a horse. The only two times I have ever gambled.

  10. Perhaps viewing the home as a family asset should get more prominence?

    Sure, not his to gamble away, but if a family break up and wife gets the home because sons and daughters are not full age, it’s not ex-wife’s asset to be used up towards/wasted on either lifestyle choices or her husband number two’s business schemes?

  11. Doesn’t mention what sort of gambling.
    Gambling basically splits into two types. Where the odds are built in. Roulette & the slots are examples. Random chance says the gambler’s wins/losses with other participants, over a long enough period, should equalise. But the organiser’s take means that over that same period the player cannot win.
    Where the player can effect the outcome of the wager. Poker’s good example. The winnings will tend to end up with the best players because the risk on original outlay diminishes the larger their haul of previous winnings.

  12. So someone managed to raise a family despite gambling.
    Is there any indication the family starved? Didn’t have clothes?

    If secretly gambling for years then it wasn’t obvious to them.

  13. Bloke in Costa Rica

    The sum of the implied probabilities of any set of odds on an event is greater than unity (or at least it should be). The excess is called the overround, and it’s where the bulk of the bookmakers’ profits come from. For example, you might see the two sides of a wager as 1.91 and 1.96, for an overround of ~3.38%. The book will move these prices as wagers come in (and also in response to intrinsic factors like weather, injuries etc.). The goal is to ensure a profit no matter who wins (the bookies are disinterested in the outcome, and usually uninterested). A bookmaker making a profit on an event is necessarily the same as the group of punters wagering on it losing money in the aggregate.

    An example might suffice. Say a book is taking wagers on the flip of a perfectly fair coin. The actual probability of heads/tails is 0.5 for a price of 2. But the book will not offer 2. Assuming exactly equal sums are staked on both side, the book will offer something more like 1.95 each side (for an implied probability of ~51.28%). But only one side can win. If a thousand people on each side bet £100 (total staked £200000), then the side that wins will receive £195000 (each punter makes £95 profit) and the losing side gets nothing. So the book makes £5000 profit. And yes, books do take action on coin tosses—the Superbowl coin toss is quite a popular bet. Idiotic, of course, but as Mencken said: “No one in this world[…]has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.”

  14. “The day to start gambling is the day you see a bookie going to work on a bicycle”. (anon)

  15. TMB nails it.
    My family has been generally prosperous but middling folk since at least the 1580s. No spectacular wealth or losses, but a slow and steady accumulation over the generations, to which I have added. Each generation regarded its wealth as held in trust for children and grandchildren. Long may it continue, despite the moral degradation of socialism and radical individualism.

  16. ““What’s your point?” The point is intelligible to the meanest intelligence.”

    Without evidence that he didn’t meet his responsibilities, you are full of sh!t.

  17. Gamecock: Without evidence that he didn’t meet his responsibilities…

    True enough and furthermore we only have the whiney side of the story.

    Having said that, surely the point of the thread was to explore whether there can be such a thing as “family money” and in the absence of, say, a joint account or some other formal construct I don’t think there can be.

    However, the security of the man’s family becomes more precarious if their home is remortgaged and so the concept of “family money” has some validity when a family’s wellbeing is potentially at risk through the man’s gambling.

  18. If the wife gave up her career to raise the kids while he went out to earn the cash it was their money, not his.

  19. If the money was inherited then it was “family money”. If all of it was what remained of money he had earned after paying all his bills then it was his money.
    It is possible to have inherited £100k or to have saved £100k before your kids are teenagers (I did both, but I don’t gamble).
    The implication of the Grauniad piece is that the writer’s mother and siblings threw him out and kept the reduced equity in the house that he had paid for ….

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