Friday, May 16, 2008

Charles Barkley: Living the Life of a Gambler

The recent revelation that Charles Barkley owes a Las Vegas casino $400,000 in unpaid gambling debts is not that shocking. Nor is his explanation of the situation:

"My mistake," Barkley said in an interview at a pro-am golf tournament in Hoover, Ala. "I'm not broke, and I'm going to take care of it."

"I've been gambling 20 years. I've never had this happen before," the 45-year-old Barkley told WJOX. "It's my fault I let the time lapse. I screwed up...All they had to do is call and say, 'Hey, you owe us this money.'"
You see, the casino in question, the Wynn Las Vegas, advanced Barkley four $100,000 markers, i.e., loans, which he used to gamble with at the casino. The Wynn claims that they gave the markers to Barkley back in October 2007; he claims that the debt results from a lost wager on the 2008 Super Bowl. Either way, no matter when he lost the money, Barkley lost $400,000 and forgot about it?


Excuse me if I don't believe Barkley. Maybe, in some rarified realm of wealth, there is an actual person walking around that could simply misplace $400,000 and not think twice about it. I seriously doubt that Barkley is one of those people. It seems to me that Barkley is spinning the web that a lot of itenerant gamblers spin--they bob and weave and duck and plead their bookie or their casino creditor and don't pay up until the bookie's henchman, or in this case, the District Attorney's office, show up to break some literal (or figurative) kneecaps. Had the Wynn not filed the civil complaint, and had the Clark County District Attorney's Office not gotten involved, Barkley wouldn't have paid. You all know one of those people who owe you money and just don't pay; usually, though, it's a matter of a few bucks and not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I've got no problem whatsoever with gambling; if you've got the money, and it's something you like to do, more power to you. In fact, by his own estimate, Barkley's dropped at least $10M over the years. Maybe that toll is finally catching up to him.

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