Monday 23 October 2017

Declan Lynch: Quinn does it all, including ruin, on a much bigger scale

The bankrupt businessman's story is far more complex than one of mere 'greed', writes Declan Lynch

In early 2008, I had started to write a book called Free Money, about the phenomenon of online gambling and about the addiction of gambling in general.

Written in a sort of a loose diary form, in February I was mulling over the astonishing amounts of mental energy we can sometimes devote to betting, even when we stand to win very small amounts. And I was wondering if, all things considered, we might be better off working.

"Yet when I succumb to these thoughts," I noted, "I think of the billionaire Sean Quinn, who, according to legend, plays cards every Tuesday night with his buddies, happy to be betting 50 cent a hand, with rarely more than a fiver in the pot. Like me, Sean Quinn appreciates that a low-stakes game has most of the elements of a high-stakes game, in terms of winning and losing and the deep pleasure you feel when your judgement is vindicated... so I guess he gets off on the primal energies of gambling, pitting his wits against an opponent and winning. And losing. Because without the losing, the winning has no meaning."

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