All this makes gambling seem a dark and destructive business, and, of course, it can be. But that's pretty obviously not the whole story. Like all addictive activities, it offers astonishing highs – highs as high as the lows are low. If it didn't, who on earth would take it up in the first place? There was the time, to cite one of many, when I turned my last £2,000 in the world into £82,000 over a spell of about three weeks. (The fact that I went on to blow the lot in 10 minutes and was suicidal for a fortnight thereafter is another matter.)"

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