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[Help] Gambling: The Unique Addiction?

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I worked for William Hill for 30 years, the first 15 were fine, saw a few sights but nothing I couldn’t handle. Then came the FOBTs and by then I was sort of trapped as I felt I had no options with regards to a change of employment. The suffering I observed was painful, I hated seeing it but there was little I could do. I did more RGIs (Responsible Gambling Interactions) than a lot of my colleagues however, the punter was usually non responsive, or it simply wasn’t practical as I often worked on my own while someone underage was on one machine, another machine had someone spitting and punching it while I was keeping an eye out for self excluded punters. money launderers or drug addicts locking themselves in the bog. Meanwhile I was expecting to sign people up for a bastard loyalty card. There was a culture of fear amongst the middle management obsessed with targets regardless of the human cost. When I plucked up the courage to leave my mental and physical health improved ten fold.
Thanks for your post and I can only sympathise with you as you were simply doing your job.
 


Thanks for your post and I can only sympathise with you as you were simply doing your job.
I felt hypocritical staying, but I had to put food on the table and felt I had no qualifications to be able to leave. When I saw people losing their rent money I often went home feeling like I was some sort of Heroin dealer.
 

Harry Wilson's tackle

Harry Wilson's Tackle
Oct 8, 2003
40,677
Faversham
Only read the first page but I am not sure that gambling is a 'unique' addiction. The outcome is of course unique, just as cooking a steak and cooking a fish generate unique outcomes. There is a genetic tendency to addictive behaviour. Not everyone who gambles/drinks or takes drugs is addicted. Also there is no single 'addictive behaviour' phenotype, just as there is more than one type of risk-taking behaviour.

I'll say this first. The constant advertising for gambling, the 'play responsibly' bollocks, and the rigging (as whitechapel mentioned) when if you become successful (like The Lizard, and like a mate of mine who bought a flat in Dulwich on the back of his winnings) your account is limited but, if you lose, the same company is happy to take all you own, are all disgusting and should be banned.

I'll say this as well. Humans demand the freedom to do all sorts of dangerous shit. Smoking. Add other stuff to the list as you see fit. So 'banning' gambling will never happen.

So, yes, the two points above suggest to me that there could be a ban on advertizing it (as with ciggies), but there must be more controls on allowing people to spend without showing they have the ability to pay. You couldn't walk into an estate agents and offer to buy a house and your bank just says 'OK mate, here is the money'. Sub-prime lending of yore, notwithstanding. So commercial gambling is a con and it is rigged, and it takes advantage of the most unfortunate, with the strong tendency to addictive bahaviour, and the constellation of other characteristics and personal circumstances that can lead them into potentially mortal danger.

However. In a wider context, risk taking is genetically encoded and marks us humans out as the species that is always expanding its reach.

So we need some politicians with a bit of courage, and the ability to take on this peculiar situation without being derailed by the 'stealing our freedoms' brigade.
 

Harry Wilson's tackle

Harry Wilson's Tackle
Oct 8, 2003
40,677
Faversham
Three or four years or so the Swedish police started a special group to deal with match fixing.

While it is difficult to give a specific number, in a survey back in 2020, SVT (our BBC equivalent) sent a survey to all the players in the top three divisions. 619 players answered, 73 of them answered that they knew that they had participated in fixed games. And obviously the less money you earn, the more likely you are to accept some offer to fix the game, so what those numbers look like in the lower divisions... there's a lot of match fixing here. And then if you think of poorer countries than Sweden (there's a couple) I think we easily reach 100 games on a normal Saturday or Sunday.

Some of the more high-profile match fixing cases in Sweden:
before a game between AIK and IFK Göteborg, AIK goalie Kenny Stamatopoulous was contacted by two men (one being his former teammate, ex-City player Dickson Etuhu) who wanted him to lose the game for AIK while receiving a fee of £20-40k. Kenny went to the Swedish FA and told about it, and the game was cancelled. Etuhu was later found guilty.

Other famous cases is Pawel Cibicki getting a two year ban from FIFA due to picking up a yellow card that his brother had bettet on.

But these two examples are just the easier ones, the ones that got anywhere. Every week there's suspicions about a game, and it usually takes two years or so to investigate the claims and often it is impossible to track down what has happened and to really prove something. The Swedish police disbanded their match fixing-investigation group because it just took too much resources with too little gain: most of the fixing is done by Asian match-fixing syndicates and there's no realistic way of getting them to a court in Sweden.

Some things have been done to solve this in recent years. On licensed betting companies there it is no longer possible to bet on yellow cards in Swedish games, games where the majority of players are below 18 years are not available, games below the fourth division are not available. But on the Asian markets there's no need to follow these regulations.

So thats the situation in Sweden, one of the wealthiest countries on the planet where no one needs to get involved in match fixing. Then imagine what a goalkeeper in the Indian second division or something would do if they were offered two or three times their annual income to let in a few easy goals in a game.

Its a massive problem. England is probably one of the countries with the least amount of match fixing because anyone from PL to National League have a fair chance of making decent-good money, but in most countries football is a dirty, dirty criminal business.
That's quite an eye opener, and when you explain it so eloquently......crikey. o_O

Asian betting syndicates were allegedly responsible for a spate of floodlight 'failures' in the noughties in the 'premiership' as it was then. We appear to have snuffed that out.

Apologies for contributing to the thread derailing, but I expect all the key points have already been made.

My last comment - back in the 70s, my girlfriend's dad told me of a fixed dog race I should bet on. My first ever bet! I lost a fiver (about 10% of my weekly income at the time) when the dog failed to finish. These days I have an account that I use occasionally (3 bets in 5 years) for 'insurance' bets (e.g., I bet on Brighton getting relegated at some point during Chris H's last season in charge). I have been informed that despite my numerous dangerous vices, I don't have addictive tendences. So, my follies are entirely down to willful negligence.
 

Lenny Rider

Well-known member
Sep 15, 2010
4,282
Only read the first page but I am not sure that gambling is a 'unique' addiction. The outcome is of course unique, just as cooking a steak and cooking a fish generate unique outcomes. There is a genetic tendency to addictive behaviour. Not everyone who gambles/drinks or takes drugs is addicted. Also there is no single 'addictive behaviour' phenotype, just as there is more than one type of risk-taking behaviour.

I'll say this first. The constant advertising for gambling, the 'play responsibly' bollocks, and the rigging (as whitechapel mentioned) when if you become successful (like The Lizard, and like a mate of mine who bought a flat in Dulwich on the back of his winnings) your account is limited but, if you lose, the same company is happy to take all you own, are all disgusting and should be banned.

I'll say this as well. Humans demand the freedom to do all sorts of dangerous shit. Smoking. Add other stuff to the list as you see fit. So 'banning' gambling will never happen.

So, yes, the two points above suggest to me that there could be a ban on advertizing it (as with ciggies), but there must be more controls on allowing people to spend without showing they have the ability to pay. You couldn't walk into an estate agents and offer to buy a house and your bank just says 'OK mate, here is the money'. Sub-prime lending of yore, notwithstanding. So commercial gambling is a con and it is rigged, and it takes advantage of the most unfortunate, with the strong tendency to addictive bahaviour, and the constellation of other characteristics and personal circumstances that can lead them into potentially mortal danger.

However. In a wider context, risk taking is genetically encoded and marks us humans out as the species that is always expanding its reach.
Easy enough to get an overdraft (gamblers will lie about why they need one) and run up to that......seen it hundreds of times
One of most bizarre stories I heard in rehab was a compulsive gambler back in the day getting a home improvement loan from Lloyds Bank for a new conservatory whilst he was living in a third floor flat.

He unfortunately gambled the whole lot away within days.
 
One of most bizarre stories I heard in rehab was a compulsive gambler back in the day getting a home improvement loan from Lloyds Bank for a new conservatory whilst he was living in a third floor flat.

He unfortunately gambled the whole lot away within days.
Likewise a guy who was at the GA group I was going to, he was given an American express gold card with a 20 grand limit! He maxed it out within a month and was unemployed at the time although credit card companies dished them out like confetti back then
 

Justice

Dangerous Idiot
Jun 21, 2012
14,722
Born In Shoreham
I worked for William Hill for 30 years, the first 15 were fine, saw a few sights but nothing I couldn’t handle. Then came the FOBTs and by then I was sort of trapped as I felt I had no options with regards to a change of employment. The suffering I observed was painful, I hated seeing it but there was little I could do. I did more RGIs (Responsible Gambling Interactions) than a lot of my colleagues however, the punter was usually non responsive, or it simply wasn’t practical as I often worked on my own while someone underage was on one machine, another machine had someone spitting and punching it while I was keeping an eye out for self excluded punters. money launderers or drug addicts locking themselves in the bog. Meanwhile I was expecting to sign people up for a bastard loyalty card. There was a culture of fear amongst the middle management obsessed with targets regardless of the human cost. When I plucked up the courage to leave my mental and physical health improved ten fold.
Anyone who bets against computer software has to be mental in the first place. I watched someone playing the roulette it seemed to glitch over the numbers the punter had money on.
 


When I was at William Hill, if the manager actually cared about the punter and their losses they would interact with them and one tool offered would be self exclusion. I often succeeded in helping some large staking losers in this way.

I would subsequently find myself constantly called into the office by Area Management and having to constantly justify why my turnover had dropped whilst giving myself sleepless nights trying to provide action plans about what “I” was going to do about the reduced takings. I lot of my colleagues would then be very reluctant to offer this to large staking punters
 
Anyone who bets against computer software has to be mental in the first place. I watched someone playing the roulette it seemed to glitch over the numbers the punter had money on.
In fairness the Roulette machines didn’t need to be fixed. The profit margin is about 4% of TURNOVER. The punter would lose £100 fairly quickly due to the speed of the ‘repeat bet’ feature. Although they’ve lost £100 in real cash if they’ve had a couple of winnings spins on the way they may have turned over two or three grand without even noticing it. The addiction element of these machines was the speed and ease of the ‘repeat bet’ I watched the punters very often get into a winning position only for me to go and put the kettle on then walk back in to find a machine covered in spit and the front door of the shop swinging in the breeze
 

dazzer6666

Members
Mar 27, 2013
44,933
Burgess Hill
When I was at William Hill, if the manager actually cared about the punter and their losses they would interact with them and one tool offered would be self exclusion. I often succeeded in helping some large staking losers in this way.

I would subsequently find myself constantly called into the office by Area Management and having to constantly justify why my turnover had dropped whilst giving myself sleepless nights trying to provide action plans about what “I” was going to do about the reduced takings. I lot of my colleagues would then be very reluctant to offer this to large staking punters
Sounds very similar to my mate…..if you’ve got any kind of morals, the business absolutely stinks.
 

BadFish

Huge Member
Oct 19, 2003
15,045
Anyone who bets against computer software has to be mental in the first place. I watched someone playing the roulette it seemed to glitch over the numbers the punter had money on.
There was an interesting doco on over here about our 'pokie' machine a few years ago. I can't remember the details but no stone is left unturned in designing those things and keeping the punters pushing money into them. Dopamine and serotonin engaged by carefully considered sound frequencies and lights was one thing I remember.
 


The Seagull

Members
Jan 17, 2021
220
Got an old football mate GD from Worthing who lost the lot on gambling. Brilliant bloke back in the day. I hate the gambling adverts, especially the ones that make out as those it’s a sociable activity, it’s far from that. A boxing podcast I listen to incorporated gambling adverts in to their show, offering better odds etc. completely ruined it for me to the point I complained to the actual bookmaker about it. Unfortunately gambling slips in to people’s conversations without anybody noticing, whilst you’re talking about a game somebody will just butt in that they had a fiver on such and such a score, and how close it was to winning. I do think gambling adverts will get banned at some point but we just haven’t got there yet.
 

Whitechapel

A tad aggressive.
Jul 19, 2014
3,442
Not in Whitechapel
Only read the first page but I am not sure that gambling is a 'unique' addiction. The outcome is of course unique, just as cooking a steak and cooking a fish generate unique outcomes. There is a genetic tendency to addictive behaviour. Not everyone who gambles/drinks or takes drugs is addicted. Also there is no single 'addictive behaviour' phenotype, just as there is more than one type of risk-taking behaviour.

I would argue there is a unique nature to gambling addictions. A drug addict doesn’t think doing more heroin is going to make it easier to stop doing heroin. They might convince themselves that they’ll stop after one more hit but shooting up more isn’t going to reverse the damage.

Gambling addicts believe that they need to gamble more to win back what they’ve lost. It’s not just chasing the high of a win, it can very easily become “obvious” that the best way out of the hole gambling has put you in to is simply to gamble more.
That's quite an eye opener, and when you explain it so eloquently......crikey. o_O

Asian betting syndicates were allegedly responsible for a spate of floodlight 'failures' in the noughties in the 'premiership' as it was then. We appear to have snuffed that out.

I don’t know what markets are and aren’t available in Sweden, although as @Swansman listed a few markets that aren’t available it’s safe to assume that some of the markets you see on English football are banned in Sweden for being so easy to manipulate.

Whilst they aren’t available for every game I’ve seen some of the big UK bookies offer odds on player offsides, player fouls, team throw-ins, team offsides, team free kicks etc etc.

You’d like to think you’d sport a keeper throwing three pea rollers in to the back of his own net. You might even get suspicious if a player hoofs a ball away after giving away a free kick in the 90th minute in order to get booked. But are you going to look at Andrija Zivkovic* being offside twice tomorrow and worry that him and some of his team mates are match fixing? Because SkyBet have him being offside two or more times at 22/1 tomorrow.

Now Serbia are a team of players in big leagues so almost certainly wouldn’t need the money. But when you think about some of the smaller nations at the World Cup… let alone domestic leagues across the globe. If Asian bookies are offering these markets then I think small level events like this are rigged across the world every single day.


*Probably doesn’t need saying but this is obviously just an example. Although I’m claim it as a tip if it comes in tomorrow.
 

dazzer6666

Members
Mar 27, 2013
44,933
Burgess Hill
I would argue there is a unique nature to gambling addictions. A drug addict doesn’t think doing more heroin is going to make it easier to stop doing heroin. They might convince themselves that they’ll stop after one more hit but shooting up more isn’t going to reverse the damage.

Gambling addicts believe that they need to gamble more to win back what they’ve lost. It’s not just chasing the high of a win, it can very easily become “obvious” that the best way out of the hole gambling has put you in to is simply to gamble more.


I don’t know what markets are and aren’t available in Sweden, although as @Swansman listed a few markets that aren’t available it’s safe to assume that some of the markets you see on English football are banned in Sweden for being so easy to manipulate.

Whilst they aren’t available for every game I’ve seen some of the big UK bookies offer odds on player offsides, player fouls, team throw-ins, team offsides, team free kicks etc etc.

You’d like to think you’d sport a keeper throwing three pea rollers in to the back of his own net. You might even get suspicious if a player hoofs a ball away after giving away a free kick in the 90th minute in order to get booked. But are you going to look at Andrija Zivkovic* being offside twice tomorrow and worry that him and some of his team mates are match fixing? Because SkyBet have him being offside two or more times at 22/1 tomorrow.

Now Serbia are a team of players in big leagues so almost certainly wouldn’t need the money. But when you think about some of the smaller nations at the World Cup… let alone domestic leagues across the globe. If Asian bookies are offering these markets then I think small level events like this are rigged across the world every single day.


*Probably doesn’t need saying but this is obviously just an example. Although I’m claim it as a tip if it comes in tomorrow.
Ivan Toney is (was ?) in a big league and doesn’t need the money……
 

Lenny Rider

Well-known member
Sep 15, 2010
4,282
And online you now have virtual sports to bet on as well.
When I was walking down to the Co Op in Broadwater once, looked through the door of WH and couldn’t believe they were effectively gambling on cartoon racing 🙈
 

Lenny Rider

Well-known member
Sep 15, 2010
4,282
Ivan Toney is (was ?) in a big league and doesn’t need the money……
Ivan Toney could actually come out of this current situation of his with some credit, if he becomes the ‘poster boy’ for the fight against addiction?
 

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