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The Resurgence of Backgammon -- Another Perspective

Posted By: Bill Riles
Date: Tuesday, 19 May 2015, at 12:21 a.m.

I can no longer permit the most vociferous to speak as if they speak for backgammon they do not. I comment here as an individual, please do not interpret otherwise.

The resurgence of backgammon will not be led by gambling. That path will only end in failure. Gambling is not the way the game should be identified. Simply, in my opinion, those who promote gambling as the salvation of backgammon are seriously mistaken and for all the wrong reasons. They harm the growth and promotion of the game much more significantly than any contribution they may ever make. Gambling is a selfish cause a short term benefit for a few with no vision or interest in the long term, sustainable health of the game.

Those seeking to but personally prosper from the game fail to recognize that their selfish goals will ultimately be best served by the general growth and development of the game; however, their goals will not drive the growth and the development, they will only follow.

At the USBGF American Backgammon Hall of Fame Awards Dinner in San Antonio in January of this year, two of our inductees (two of our greatest players) made applicable comments. Neil Kazaross said .I want to say one thing to everybody here, to the players and to the directors, as this game becomes more and more of a science we all have to do what we need to do to keep this game fun for everybody. Kit Woolsey said The most important thing, Ive played backgammon for quite some time, and just everybody remember, despite all the things that can happen, double sixes on the last roll and all of that, its a great game and dont anybody forget it. These Hall of Famers well express the spirit that will lead the resurgence of backgammon it is a fun game and it is a great game. Those hoping to promote and grow the game must look to what they can add to the game, not only to what they can take from the game.

Sponsorship and added money, where viable and available, are obviously great for the game. However, sponsorship and added money are not necessarily synonymous with gambling. We must recognize that distinction.

We must engage the masses, we must intrigue the beginners, we must introduce the kids to the fun, joy, and lessons of a classic game. Certainly, some minority of players will always enjoy the money and gambling elements with which they identify I have no problem with that. However, the game itself will lead the resurgence. We must provide the exposure, visibility, venues, and opportunities to allow it to do so.

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