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."

Please sign in or register with Independent.ie for free access to Opinions.

Sign In

Don't Miss