Responsible Gambling Red Lines?

There is a lot of PR surrounding the issue of problem gambling, but does reality really live up to the hype. Discuss your experiences here, e.g. self exclusion failures.
Del
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Responsible Gambling Red Lines?

Post by Del » Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:15 pm

Having now had several disputes with online bookmakers over their application of Responsible Gambling, I'm very much of the opinion that either they have no idea how to spot a compulsive gambler or they just don't care and lie about their advanced software detection methods.

Listening to Betway's Alan Alger on Radio 5 last week, you'd think they had a foolproof handle on the situation and were intervening at the earliest opportunity using the data readily at their fingertips. But in reality they sit and watch these catastrophic episodes unfold and do nothing. Until the well runs dry, then they throw the free bet life line or the unwanted VIP status at the punter. And if the punter attempts to withdraw the odd win here and there, at best the transaction is delayed until the end of the day with a big "Reverse WIthdrawal" button next to it or at worst they throw the ID checks & T&Cs nonsense at them. They want you to stay and play. Their moto should be "Stay All Day & Play It All Away"

And his assertion that somebody just appearing and losing thousands in a short period just doesn't happen would be hilarious if it wasn't so serious. By the very nature of problem gambling, we only get to hear the real horror stories when the victim has nothing else to lose or worse. So the operators know this and hide behind their dishonest PR positions.

But my question to all of the operators & the GC is just what is the red line that should quickly highlight a problem punter doing their brains far in excess of what they can really afford? Because nobody can seemingly answer that question within the industry. They won't tell you, either because they don't know or they don't care.

It's not rocket science. A trained chimp could spot a chasing problem gambler in action. So why can't anybody in authority do the same?

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Re: Responsible Gambling Red Lines?

Post by Jimmy Justice » Fri Sep 22, 2017 11:37 pm

You are so right Del.

The Gam Comm know the situation and TBF it is something they are trying to address by their new fines, etc. However, most of the other initiatives are 'window dressing' and if an idea has any potential the companies delay and delay progress.

Alan Alger's interview was embarassing to say the least. He stated there are 'no skeletons in the cupboard'. All being well one of these skeletons that don't exist will be appearing on the BBC this week. No guarantees as yet, hence we've not publicised it. Many stories are complex to air - you all know the 'crack' - lawyers, etc, etc.

Long way to go on PG and many other things.

JJ

Del
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Re: Responsible Gambling Red Lines?

Post by Del » Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:46 am

Hopefully, from a compassionate point of view, the BBC story you mention JJ does not involve another suicide? There are far too many of these, which is a stain on the industry.

The stories I've read in the recent past are genuinely moving stories which I can personally relate to. When you've lost everything for the umpteenth time, you come to a point where you've tried everything, but feel the only way out of the circle is to not exist. That is a terrible, awful place to be. You find yourself on a metaphorical cliff edge, trying to argue the case to carry on. And sadly some addicts lose that argument.

Not everyone understands problem gambling, I'd say most people never will unless they've suffered from it first hand or felt the repercussions. I don't deny there is an element of will power, but it is swamped by so many other factors. And everyone is different, with different sub vices if you like. I'm pretty sure I'd never have got involved but for developing a love for horse racing. Even now I find I have to try and avoid race broadcasts or big race previews,etc. Because whilst I know I can find winners regularly and sometimes very confidently, I know it sparks an uncontrollable urge to find the winner in the next race, down and across the cards. The draw of the action is far too great to ever control the stakes.

Once again JJ, well done on gaining so much publicity for the JFP and all it stands for. Like you, I don't think gambling should be outlawed (except maybe the FOBTs) but I do think it should be a much more regulated and fairer environment, whether you are prone to losing far too much or you're a shrewdie who can actually beat the books.

But, I think that nobody should be able to deposit more than say £500 in to a new account without the firm doing proper due diligence on that new customer. Using certain software illegally as they already do, they already will know before the first wager from that customer as to if they are a long term losing punter. But instead of raising the alarm, they rub their hands in anticipation of the cash grab in view. Maybe they should have a policy of no quick further deposits until this due diligence has taken place instead? There are solutions that wouldn't stop the non problem gamblers action. They are viable.

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Re: Responsible Gambling Red Lines?

Post by Jimmy Justice » Mon Sep 25, 2017 1:17 am

Hi Del

Thank you for your kind words. We agree with everything you say. We are all about fair trade; nothing more, nothing less.

At the start we didn't realise how many cases we would receive concerning problem gambling issues. Believe me we are no experts and constantly try to get people to seek help from the NHS and voluntary services whilst we try to get some money back for them.

Personally, I have to say, I've been appalled and the forthcoming BBC case is one of many. VIP managers and their like should be ashamed of themselves. I now see a VIP service as provided by gambling companies as being similar to a hyena pack. The companies identify those who are losing and the hyenas move in for the kill. I know this sounds stark, but it does ring true with a number of people we've helped.

'Gamble responsibly' is a message that is a cover up for many company practices.

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Re: Responsible Gambling Red Lines?

Post by Del » Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:38 am

Thanks, JJ.

Your comparison to a Hyena pack is spot on. VIP is just a polished term for a whale. It's like getting comped in Vegas, just without any of the benefits.

I think what's interesting right now is that reps and lobbyists for the gambling industry are starting to be exposed much more in their interviews and quotes. It smacks of desperation, especially in view of this review which is due. By all accounts the FOBT max bet is going to come down, but not enough to realistically make a difference to the person who habitually loses everything they have in a day. So instead of taking an hour for them to lose it, it may take 3 hours instead. That doesn't help them at all, and in the real world will not hurt the firms. If you're a FOBT player you only have so much to lose. What difference does it make if it's within an hour or the whole day? That's as much as you'd give them in a day anyway.

Only a small max stake would curtail them. No stakes at all would kill them as I strongly believe should happen. I've never met anyone who genuinely enjoys playing them. £1 a spin punters or £100 a spin, they all don't have a good word to say about them. Yet they play them because they are there and like it or not, they have a problem controlling their gambling.

Of course the whole online thing is the real whopper in this. FOBT should have been tackled 10 years ago. Any fool could see from day one they were a ticking time bomb. And so with online, it's so obvious it would be far more detrimental to the punters. It's hidden away, it's almost secret and the firms know it and abuse the whole scenario to do whatever they like. As I say, I believe it is thoroughly corrupt.

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cosmicway
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Re: Responsible Gambling Red Lines?

Post by cosmicway » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:06 pm

All this talk about "responsible gambling" and the bookies is hot air.
First of all it is not their job.
In an ideal world they have to comply with government directives but it's not their job.
It is the job of the school system.

When I was going to school the subject was not even mentioned.
As a college student of engineering I had a friend in the department of Mathematics.
That one among his units for the first year had chosen "the philosophy of science".
So he pokes me one day and he says "look what it says here about roulette and the machines".
That's how I got to know the laws of these games of chance.

Most people are totally and thoroughly ignorant.
I visited the offices of a company of architects one day years ago and the man in charge, a senior architect, had no idea. He believed he could win the lotto.
Strangely but perhaps not so strangely I have never met a person from the disciplines of Physics or Chemistry who believes in such superstitions (lotto-machines). I know a chemical engineer who liked the races and that's about it.
I have known many many people throughout the years, as I 'm into editing sports websites and blogs.

It's extraordinary.
Everybody knows the laws of physics concerning electric wires and nobody touches a live high tension wire with his bare hands.
But such ignorance about the laws of gambling is extraordinary.

I believe the current so called campaign for "responsible gambling", whether it is conducted by bookies or by others is a fraud.
It is meant to justify high taxation and nothing else.

Back in the 90s the machines were illegal in Greece.
There was the popular tv program "the yellow press" every week with a certain people's hero-journalist.
He said the illegal machines are programmed so you are going to lose. The properly authorised and taxed legal machines are ok - go on and play - when they are introduced.
If I was around I 'd honestly hit the man.
Never mind police-arrest etc, I 'd hit him.

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Re: Responsible Gambling Red Lines?

Post by Del » Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:15 am

Cosmicway - I think there is a good case for education in schools, but I honestly believe most people know full well the risks of gambling, just as they do with drugs or alcohol. But human beings are not perfect and addiction overshadows rational thought.

Bearing that in mind, your comparison with not touching live electric wires isn't really relevant. We know you will get a shock if you touch the live wire, but a gambler knows that having a bet sometimes involves winning money. That is the draw or the juice. A person gambling who didn't get a win within their first few bets of their betting life usually gives up for good, never to return. But those who get a taste of the winning thrill will forever know it's out there for consumption again and again, but it will cost you big time in the long run without any sense of control. But as compulsive gambling falls under the area of mental health, people who suffer from it really cannot be cured. They just have to find a way to avoid being at risk to it and that should involve licensed operators taking measures to protect those people from their illness. And it is an illness. Common sense, intelligence and academic skill are no barrier to it's grasp. Some of the brightest minds in history were compulsive gamblers.

Responsible gambling is a daft term anyway. It's just a PR phrase to fool governments into believing operators are "doing their bit" to prevent the vulnerable doing their conkers. It's actually really simple. There are those who can gamble within their means and not let it rule their life or destroy it and then there are those who simply cannot. Not because they lack intelligence or common sense, but because their mind over rides all of that whilst they are engaging in gambling activity. It's a compulsion, not a lack of education.

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Re: Responsible Gambling Red Lines?

Post by cosmicway » Mon Oct 23, 2017 4:39 pm

Del, I do some gambling myself so that's why I 'm a member here.
I did not say the electric wires is an exact analog, because it is n't. I 'm talking about the law of nature (ie the activity is lossy if the odds are against you). The folks around us don't know, they have no appreciation, believe me.
I don't know the latest school curriculum. Maybe I should ask the ministry of education which library displays the books currently in use. But in my days there was no education of any kind (while some sex education we did get - to avoid catching vd !).

I know there is this thing called "gambling addiction" and it catches some (2% of the gamblers according to my estimates).
I knew an addict once. I will relate to you a true story.
He comes to me one night at 11 o clock with two other friends and he says, come on we go to a pub in the other side of town where they have electronic machines and we are also going to have a few drinks.
So I went along. The two others did n't play any significant role, they vanished somewhere, I don't remember. But as the machines were occupied, I managed to get hold of one and that friend -the addict- had to wait.
I gambled for more than an hour -one half euro at a time- and I was some 15 euros ahead, but then the other one comes along and pulls me out of the seat and he says "come on you had enough, I 'll take your seat because no other seat seems to be emptying".
I complied with his wish and also the other two friends reappeared from where they have been and we stood there staring for a while.
Result ? In about 15 minutes he lost about 500, all the day's receipts from his shop and more !
He rushes out of the pub. The woman says "hey, there are railway bridges nearby, you don't suppose ...". The other one says "forget it, he 's going to his mum".
After this we left, but the man was mad. Totally crazy.

Another one I knew was a chemist. We used to tease him by saying "you are the only chemist's shop in town without aspirin". But I 'm not sure he was doing the same things. Maybe not.

Be it as it may, excess is part of all kinds of acitivities in life.
Marketing, stock exchange, personal relations.
So what do we do ?
The list of tragedies from personal relations is far bigger than that of gambling addiction, if ever published.

Unless the opposite is proven we seem have an education system that is not devoting a single page in the school books.
But the salient point is this:
If you make some money out of gambling it is not a real job.
You are not a car manufacturer, you are not a producer of apples-watermelons-grapes, you are not a teacher.
You did something for yourself and only for yourself.
That, in the eyes of the system, is an economic crime. Not illegal but an economic crime nevertheless.
In communism it is forbidden. In Trump system too (n.b. recall the prohibitionist legislation of G.W. Bush, who was a Trump-like president in his days).
So they want to drip you dry. The "addiction" issue is just a convenient escape clause - and they 're not even handling it properly.
I know them like false coins, all of them who are in charge of affairs. This is how they think and act.

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Re: Responsible Gambling Red Lines?

Post by Del » Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:18 pm

Like you, Cosmic I have known many different types of gamblers over the years, especially when I managed several high street bookies. I've seen all walks of life become addicted to either the horses, dogs, football and then the FOBTs. I've seen people I thought had it under control end up in prison for serious fraud & theft, I've seen marriages and families wrecked, jobs lost, trust lost all due to gambling getting out of their control.

I personally think this 2 to 4% of gamblers being problem or addicts is well wide of the mark in reality. Compulsive gamblers are usually very secretive about their true gambling status. In my experience it's the old boys who sit and watch for the afternoon just turning over the loose change in their pocket who have the game well under their control. A large proportion of the rest either lose more than they can really afford or considerably more.

Now not all of this group let it ruin their lives to the extent of say my pal who went to prison or even myself. I've literally lost houses over 25 years because I don't have the requirements to know when to stop. I've won over £20k in a day before but seldom had it for longer than a week. It doesn't matter how much it always goes back. And that is why I think firms should be required to identify such punters. Because those punters, like myself, will always lose everything to the bookies. We never draw stumps for more than a short period and whilst we have experienced so many loses before after great runs of fortune, we still think this time it will be different. As an old pal of mine used to say, "I really thought I was going to kick on then." It doesn't happen. From big string race horse owners to postmen, I've seen them all end up with very little left of a small fortune through not knowing when or how to stop. The action seduces them. Just as it does me. To the point of bankruptcy.

So the bookies cannot lose with these punters. They are a cash cow and the know it. They are genuinely vulnerable people though like many gamblers they don't like to be labelled as such. I hate admitting my mental failings where gambling is concerned. I actually regard myself as a decent race judge and paddock wise I've got a great eye for what it takes. But that's not enough. You need self control and discipline to know when to leave a race alone. But I seldom could adhere to that, though it has to be said I was much better in the past but over time my self control got worse to the point of wreckless. So it's tough to admit that betting is futile for me because I do miss the action. But to an online company or high street bookies I'm a cash cow. So I have to avoid them.

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Re: Responsible Gambling Red Lines?

Post by Jimmy Justice » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:05 am

"Responsible gambling is a daft term anyway. It's just a PR phrase to fool governments into believing operators are "doing their bit" to prevent the vulnerable doing their conkers."

Del, you're so right.

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