Are the gamblers sick people ?

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.
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Are the gamblers sick people ?

Post by cosmicway » Sun Dec 10, 2017 5:32 pm

The mainstream public opinion says they are.
I disagree or at least I take a critical view of it.

I tend to believe that a gambler is no more sick than a chess player who spends all his afternoons in the chess players union, or a snooker player
who visits a snooker club - and you have to play quite a few thousand frames of snooker to develop into any sort of good snooker player.
Nobody calls these people "sick".

In gambling there is the thing that you can lose a lot of money.
That's bad and they can call you sick.

I distinguish two types of issue interrelated in some sort of cartesian plane graph.

One is which type of game of chance can cause addiction and which type cannot.
In this respect the extreme case of non-addictive must be the lotto (6 out of 49, 5 out of 45 and other types).
In three weeks you are going to stop playing it.
I knew several who started off as systematic players -impressed by the ads too when it was announced as the "new game".
Nobody was still around after a month or so.
Lotto continues to exist of course because the housewives buy a one-one and a half euro ticket, but it's not something that catches anyone's imagination any longer.
There is the ad with the guy who boards a transatlantic ferry and the captain comes along and says to him "it's one of your ferries, did n't you know ?", but it does n't impress anyone.

On the other side of the spectrum you will find the horses.
The sport of kings.
Once upon a time in Athens-Greece there was someone with a pirate SIS license and he ran an illegal betting joint.
They caught him and it was in the 9 o clock tv news.
But the newsman chose to display in the background a race from Cheltenham, at the same time as saying that "the hideous criminal was apprehended" and so forth.
But everybody who watched saw the Cheltenham race course. They said "how beautiful, that's where I 'd like to be" !
So racing catches everybody's imagination.

In racing it is possible to score wins, so you are not in a lose-lose-lose situation.
That makes you become attached.

The other dimension is the mistakes made by the punters.
What are the things that place them in danger.
It is those things:

a) They accept to play under adverse conditions. If you play footbal matches in the price range of say evens -or 2.0- you sure one out of two of those come true ?
Probably not, so you stand to lose.
b) Bad management of one's portfolio. Your personal fortune is 5000 pounds sterling - you back an evens bet for 5000 pounds sterling. That's an invitation for ruin.
If you escape, keep doing it and you will see what happens. But it's a fairly common attitude.

What are the so called "anti-addiction" authorities doing now ?
I don't know if they ever advocated turning everything into "lotto" - i.e. introduce high degree of difficulty. Maybe they did 20-25 years ago, but I 'm not sure about it.
They are certainly not saying that now - it won't be liked by the bookies.

Are they trying to educate people not to play when the prices offered are poor ?
No, they do not even touch the subject.

Are they trying to tell people not to make high wagers ? This is something thet they actually do, from what I have seen.

They are trying to do something in between:
Slash prices by as much as possible and let those who wish to carry on like this, carry on.
The lowering of the prices is to come about as a result of higher take off percentages - higher tax.
The bookies like this idea, it's not at all bad for them !

Meanwhile the ignorance of the masses remains as proverbial as ever.

One of my pet thought experiments is this:
Hack one of the walls of your house and install a fruit machine.
You, in your side of the wall, will be the punter and the bloke who lives in the next house will be the casino.
If you live in a country house you can't do it, but you can go to the apartment of a friend of yours who lives in town and do it there.
Play all night and come back and tell me which side of the wall was filled with coins.

I bet 90% of the people in any country do not understand this.

I do not wish to call frauds all the people who work as advisers to problem gamblers, or all the organizations who do this work.
That might be a far sweeping accusation for me to make.
But especially in recent years, after the appearance of the internet and other electronics based types of gambling, they are by and
large moles and frauds. In many places they assume a marxist profile as well - revolucionarios popolaros anticapitalistas out to save the masses.

Other things being equal problem gamblers will increase by 100%.
Or will the shopkeepers be unable to afford the electricity bill for the new fruit machines ?

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