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'The False Dream And The Cost': Littlefield On Online Gambling

The Massachusetts State Lottery wants to go online. Bill Littlefield thinks it's a bad idea. (Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
The Massachusetts State Lottery wants to go online. Bill Littlefield thinks it's a bad idea. (Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
This article is more than 6 years old.

According to The Boston Globe, the Massachusetts State Lottery wants to expand: “The Massachusetts State Lottery is calling on lawmakers to open a new gambling frontier — lottery games offered around the clock on mobile devices and computers.”

In the wake of this news, Bill Littlefield found himself thinking about some of the consequences the proposed policy might have for those of us who can't stop gambling.

“Time was,” the gambler said to me, “that I would have to quit.

I’d go to the casino, lose my pay, and that was it.

But now I see much brighter days — or, more precisely, nights

When I will never have to stop. The state will take its bites

Of checks I haven’t gotten yet, and dough I’ll never see,

For gambling sponsored by the state is going online. Gee,

I really can’t imagine how I lived without this deal:

How can I find the words to say how great it’s gonna feel

To gamble ‘til I pass out or until my phone goes dead…

And if my credit card gives out and says I’m in the red,

I’ll rummage in my wallet — this is gonna be fantastic!

I’ll gamble on until I’ve run completely out of plastic!

But that will never happen, for I’m certain that I’ll win -

I’m told you cannot do that if you don’t at least begin

To help with funding schools and other state-supported works

That can’t get by on taxes, which explains why there are clerks

In lots of small convenience stores dispensing tickets there…

I wonder if their take will drop? Ah, heck. What do I care?

My life, already built around the many ways I bet

Can only travel one direction. It can only get

Much better if I’m betting more, while other people sleep,

And though I’m into loan sharks now, and into them quite deep,

I’m bound to climb out of that hole and set the ledger right,

When I can bet throughout the day and also through the night.

Let others sleep. I needn’t do it, nor do I need dinner,

Adrenaline sustains me as I pick a certain winner.”

I left, for it was late, although the gambling man still chattered.

I might have argued with him if I thought it might have mattered.

But he was so excited by his chance to help the state

Fill up its coffers not just early, now, but also late…

He’d not have heard my doubts about the online games to come,

And how they’d prey upon the sleepless and upon the dumb…

The desperate and the damaged, the delusional and lost,

All bearing, as they often have, the false dream and the cost.


Bill Littlefield Twitter Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield was the host of Only A Game from 1993 until 2018.



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