Having been a croupier on and off (mostly on) for about 26 years now, I have all too often seen the more unpleasant side to this leisure business. Working at the Carousel Entertainment World (South Africa), a place where gambling was 24 hours, 6½ days a week (closed Sunday morning 0600 to 1100 for church attendance) it became normal to finish work at 5, 6, or even 7 in the morning to find children sleeping on the floor outside the entrance (even on a school day) whilst their parents were inside punting away the housekeeping.
I've lost count of the number of people who have lost their families, homes or businesses through addiction in the past.
Having said that (on a more positive note), the government and Gaming Commission have, in recent years, put into practise a series of laws and restrictions to protect the customer and levied a heavy tax to provide funding for help agencies such as Gamcare. They also insist on all staff being trained to recognize and deal with problem gamblers (unlike in the past where the objective was to 'get the money and damn the rest'). This training is also heavily audited and tested by an independent agency.
On the whole, I enjoy my job which can be great fun in the right circumstances. It always gives me a great laugh when someone accidentally puts a £25 chip on a number instead of their 50p colour chip and it wins!
I guess the whole thing about gambling, as with all aspects of life, is to partake light-heartedly, in moderation, and expect to lose in the end
The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.