A couple of days after John Daly revealed in his autobiography that he had a slight gambling problem ("slight" meaning losses equivalent to the gross national product of Spain), Charles Barkley has come forth and said that he, too, has been known to frequent the tables with the green felt. Barkley estimated that he's lost nearly $10 million gambling in his lifetime. "My agent has really worked with me to try to get it where I can go and gamble and have fun," Barkley told ESPN. "That's easier said than done. Do I have a gambling problem? Yeah, I do have a gambling problem. But I don't consider it a problem because I can afford to gamble."
The Round Mound of Rebound contends that he's really no different than anyone who bets $20 in the office NCAA Basketball pool, except that he's more likely to drop $20,000, and it would probably be on Marist. Barkley takes the William F. Bennett approach (the former GHW Bush drug czar once famously said of his gambling addiction, "I never bet the milk money.") Does that make it OK? Is there something decadent or perverse about frittering away millions, when some can't afford to fill up their gas tank? Or is this a non-issue?
We don't know Barkley personally, but one thing we do know; he's not gambling on golf. We've seen him play, and to bet against him, well, that ain't gambling. That's theft.