Home Read Features Area Resident’s Stylus Counsel | Tapping Out

Area Resident’s Stylus Counsel | Tapping Out

Track 80 | You gotta know when to hold ’em — and when to fold ’em.


We hear a lot about famous musicians who became acid casualties, but what if they’re addicted to VLTs instead of LSD? Gambling addiction is the most-common type of non-substance addiction. Just like drugs and alcohol, it has taken the spark out of many talented people.

Some people just have addictive personalities. I know what I’m talking about. I had to pack in drinking a little more than two years ago. But, I also had to quit playing fantasy hockey and later, Pokemon Go. You laugh, but I was chasing down electronic pocket monsters about 16 hours a day. In the depths of my fantasy hockey days, I started researching, dropping and adding players, and making trade offers before 5 a.m. every day. My evenings were spent watching multiple hockey games from 7 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. so I wouldn’t miss any injuries. I actually damaged friendships over it, and both these addictions fired torpedoes at my already listing marriage.

In the 1970s, Gladys Knight was playing a casino gig and a friend invited her to play some blackjack. It was fun at first, but soon got out of control, for a decade. Her favourite games were sports betting and baccarat. One time she supposedly lost $45,000 in a single session. But, ironically, the wakeup call came when the sun rose and she realized she’d been up all night in a casino gambling — and had forgotten to take her son to school. She found a phone and called Gambling Anonymous, who drove straight there and picked her up to begin treatment.

Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead lost a pile of money gambling. It would be interesting to compare the revenue from Ace Of Spades against what the late bassist/vocalist lost.

“You know I’m born to lose
And gambling’s for fools
But that’s the way I like it, baby
I don’t want to live forever.”

Hip-hop producer and artist/rapper Jay-Z reportedly lost half a million dollars on a single poker hand once. Unlike you or I, however, that’s basically just a drop in the bucket when you’re worth $1.3 billion USD.

Anyone who listens to the Cocaine & Rhinestones podcast knows about Waylon Jennings’ addiction: Pinball. The country superstar didn’t eat, bathe or sleep when he was caught in the grasp of his addiction which at its height, cost him around $35,000 (140,000 quarters) a year.

Frank Sinatra was as addicted to being in and around casinos as he was fond of gambling. However, almost everyone who was there tells the same story about Ol’ Blue Eyes — he would often pitch a major fit when he lost. Perhaps that played into his decision to buy a share in the Cal Neva Lodge & Casino on Lake Tahoe in 1960. It was a short-lived endeavour. Sinatra’s gambling licence was taken away three years later due to his alleged mob ties and known crime family members having been spotted on site. He got his licence back in the early 1980s.

Of course, not everyone is a loser. Rapper 50 Cent loves gambling and once won a cool million betting on his friend boxer Carl Mayweather to beat Oscar de la Hoya in 2007.

Don Johnson is slightly more famous for portraying Sonny Crocket on the Miami Vice than he is for the 1986 song and album Heartbeat. But I’m surprised so many people routinely mistake him for the famous gambler with the same name. No, it wasn’t that Don Johnson who won $6 million in a single Atlantic City blackjack game.

Seeing as Sinatra was known for Luck Be A Lady and Lemmy for Ace Of Spades, It should come as no surprise that CeeLo Green is also a gambler. Thomas DeCarlo Callaway named himself after the game he loves, Cee-lo. It’s a six-sided dice game played with three dice.

Here’s a fun gambling playlist which won’t break the bank …


•         •         •

Area Resident is an Ottawa-based journalist, recording artist, music collector and re-seller. Hear (and buy) his music on Bandcamp, email him HERE, follow him on Instagram and check him out on Discogs.