THE Melbourne Cup is described as the race that stops the nation.
Certainly people who ordinarily would not open their wallets or purses for a punt in the office sweep, or bet their hard-earned income by slipping down to the betting agency for a gamble will do so on the first Tuesday in November.
Others would have been tracking to a newsagency to chip in for a chance to win $100 million in the lottery.
It's a case of hope against the odds (as one broadsheet paper from Sydney described) odds of 45 million to one to win the big lottery.
People gamble on all sorts of things in life: driving home from the pub after a few drinks, they gamble on not getting caught drink-driving.
Or every time someone buys a pack of cigarettes they unconsciously gamble on the fact they might get lung cancer or another form of cancer that can develop from that addiction.
A key independent member of the federal parliament thought he could - in return for his vote - get some support on a bill that would help people to break the habit of gambling on poker machines.
We are fortunate there are many support mechanisms in the community to help people with a gambling addiction but many of those services need help for the work they do.
So think carefully next time you take a punt - what are the consequences?