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Frank Hovis

Betting machines, games addiction, social media

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This was a cracking programme on the whole subject where the goal is to maximise "time on screen" because when you're on their screen you're paying them or watching their adverts.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09byh8d

There is a whole lot of effort gone into this and the aim is to get the player into "the zone" so that they are locked into a state of interaction purely with the machine and ignoring their surroundings.

For gambling it includes not having big jackpots as that breaks the "spell".

The Facebook "like" button was lauded as a great invention in the field because people then invest emotionally in selfies and keep checking how many likes they have now: time on screen.

There was also the perceived, if false, sense of importance where you post something on Twitter or Facebook where you have a thousand friends / followers and think everyone reads it when it fact 95% don't.

It wasn't about gambling addiction but touched upon it; I forget the exact figures but people (all the stories I've read feature men though) lose loads on fixed odds betting machines in bookies with the most I've read being £250k.

There's a proposal today to cut the maximum stake on these machines from £100 every 20 seconds down to something like £2.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41814465

The programme was great at putting this into context. If you're playing video games into the small hours, checking Facebook (or DOSBODS...) multiple times an hour to see how many reactions you have, or losing £5k a day on gambling machines then you have fallen for very sophisticated strategies that are trying to maximise your time on screen.

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I think with the like thing most people, who aren't just looking for an audience to talk at, will be interested in seeing which things they have to say people concur with.

The screen time thing is a bit difficult as well as if I've got a dosbods tab open I'II have at least half a dozen other tabs open some of which will probably be work related so to a certain extent (sorry dosbods) it probably isn't enough alone to make me spend time looking at the screen. 

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15 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

This was a cracking programme on the whole subject where the goal is to maximise "time on screen" because when you're on their screen you're paying them or watching their adverts.

...

There's a proposal today to cut the maximum stake on these machines from £100 every 20 seconds down to something like £2.

The Fixed-odds max-stakes rules are all about money laundering and not about gambling.

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10 minutes ago, SNACR said:

I think with the like thing most people, who aren't just looking for an audience to talk at, will be interested in seeing which things they have to say people concur with.

The screen time thing is a bit difficult as well as if I've got a dosbods tab open I'II have at least half a dozen other tabs open some of which will probably be work related so to a certain extent (sorry dosbods) it probably isn't enough alone to make me spend time looking at the screen. 

I was jesting about DOSBODS; the goal here IMHO is to have a decent discussion about the topics of the day and I often learn something here in its role as a non-mainstream news source.

There are also a lot of QI type topics - inherently interesting such as @Turned Out Nice Again's camper van conversion or whole things you just didn't know.

Plus a lot of humour.

It's not the subject matter of the programme unless someone is deliberately crafting posts purely to obtain "likes" and they are hanging on them and keep checking for them.

The only person AFAIK who's done that was @Carl Fimble but he was open that he just wanted to win that week; which he did.

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The only thing I don't understand is why TPTB would want to do anything to limit gambling spending when presumably it contributes toward GDP? They're quite happy for entire generations to enslave themselves for decades in £300k worth of mortgage and car finance but not happy for someone to spunk that into a machine.

Re the Facebook point, bang on IMO. It's not until you pack it in that you see it so clearly yourself.

 

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11 minutes ago, Fully Detached said:

The only thing I don't understand is why TPTB would want to do anything to limit gambling spending when presumably it contributes toward GDP? They're quite happy for entire generations to enslave themselves for decades in £300k worth of mortgage and car finance but not happy for someone to spunk that into a machine.

Re the Facebook point, bang on IMO. It's not until you pack it in that you see it so clearly yourself.

 

I think TPTB woudl be delighted if as well as buying loads of tat to load ourselves up with debt we aslo gambled so that we were spending 110% of our (after tax) income every year and accumulating an ever-growing debt however the current level of addictiveness of these machines means that people can just go mad and the hamster spins off the wheel of working, paying tax, consuming, building debt, paying interest on that debt:

E.g. this guy (and again it's a man) who has gone from paying tax and NI on a £40k income to going bust and not working so drawing benefits.  Lose for the TPTB there:
 

Quote

 

“I’ve worked hard all my life but I don’t have a pension or savings. I don’t own anything. I’ve lost a girlfriend, jobs, the lot. I don’t have a family, I don’t have a business.

“I don’t think I will ever ­recover from this. That’s the impact these slots have.”

James spiralled into debt after being introduced to the fixed odds terminals in 2002.

He recalled: “I’d lose £20 and chase it with £40. Soon I was spending all my wages in one go and taking out loans. I had ­multiple overdrafts and credit cards. I’d make up excuses for having no cash. But I split from my girlfriend when she found the extent of my betting.

“I had a good job in London. I was clearing £40,000 a year and lived rent-free with a relative. I didn’t even have to pay ­electricity, gas or council tax.

“But I spent everything I had on the machines. I started losing jobs because I was too poor to fill up my car to get to work.”

 

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/james-petherick-gambling-addiction-man-2870070

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3 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

I think TPTB woudl be delighted if as well as buying loads of tat to load ourselves up with debt we aslo gambled so that we were spending 110% of our (after tax) income every year and accumulating an ever-growing debt however the current level of addictiveness of these machines means that people can just go mad and the hamster spins off the wheel of working, paying tax, consuming, building debt, paying interest on that debt:

E.g. this guy (and again it's a man) who has gone from paying tax and NI on a £40k income to going bust and not working so drawing benefits.  Lose for the TPTB there:
 

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/james-petherick-gambling-addiction-man-2870070

True, true. Flog the donkey as long as it can still walk, otherwise all you have is a useless eater.

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59 minutes ago, Fully Detached said:

The only thing I don't understand is why TPTB would want to do anything to limit gambling spending when presumably it contributes toward GDP? They're quite happy for entire generations to enslave themselves for decades in £300k worth of mortgage and car finance but not happy for someone to spunk that into a machine.

Re the Facebook point, bang on IMO. It's not until you pack it in that you see it so clearly yourself.

 

Oh, they're more than happy. Liberalisation and expansion of the gambling industry has been going on for the last couple of decades. It was mainly driven by Labour funnily enough - amazing how they love to fuck over their own voters - remember them pushing for super casinos? Noticed how gambling ads are on daytime TV and all over sports programmes that kids watch? This "policy" is just reeling it back a bit, perhaps now that they're aware of the true consequences of this liberalisation, although it was bloody obvious what the consequences would be. Like many shit things, gambling has become normalised when it used to be just for losers or a day at the races.

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2 minutes ago, The Idiocrat said:

Oh, they're more than happy. Liberalisation and expansion of the gambling industry has been going on for the last couple of decades. It was mainly driven by Labour funnily enough - amazing how they love to fuck over their own voters - remember them pushing for super casinos? Noticed how gambling ads are on daytime TV and all over sports programmes that kids watch? This "policy" is just reeling it back a bit, perhaps now that they're aware of the true consequences of this liberalisation, although it was bloody obvious what the consequences would be. Like many shit things, gambling has become normalised when it used to be just for losers or a day at the races.

The "time on screen" programme is very much worth a listen; it's eye-opening to realise quite how much you're being "played" and how sophisicated are the algorithms for these fixed odds machines in particular.  Whilst they don't want you to walk away without having given them all your money they are programmed to keep you there for a long time, losing it very very slowly, so that you have been sucked into it for a long period of time and it's been pressing your endoprhin buttons as you press the spins.  You win lots and in many ways but you lose just slightly more, and you're enjoying it so you keep playing it until you can no longer play it because your money is gone.  But you will came back because the experience of playing was enjoyable; addicitively so.

There were stories of how angry the problem gamblers became when they were shown the loss / reward curve against time and realised for all that they thought they were playing the machine they were no more than lab rats and paying for the privilege.  There was an experiment where if a rat could press a button and get a pellet of food then it would after a while get bored of it; if however it had a one in three (say) chance of retunring a pellet of food then it would keep pressing it and not get bored because there was an apparent unpredictability of income that kept its interest and meant it kept pressing the button.

This realisation that this will all that they were and the resultant anger was the big thing that stopped them gambling again.

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Interesting with modern betting that people are ok with a computer screen but if you'd replicated that in a casino years ago where a card mysteriously appeared pressed to a glass window everyone would have massively smelt a rat. Although I guess the true luck of the draw disappeared years ago with slot machines.

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How much of the economy is based on this nonsensical gambling stuff?

Paying for betting on plastic (of any sort) is wrong surely. If you have to go into a shop and part with cash then it's harder and fewer people would do it.

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I'm not on FB, only have twitter to follow J K Rowling, don't bother with forums.

I mostly on post on DOSBODS when I'm driving. If I wasn't looking at DOSBODS I would just be looking through the windscreen.

That's quite boring especially on the motorway.

DOSBODS is great.

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The media even denigrating gambling etc is an indirect form of publicising it.  A reminder to those who are vulnerable that it's still there for them.

I read some time ago that economies in decline often intentionally turn to casino and gambling operations and stuff like super casinos etc as a significant sector to supplement an economy. 

Quote

Ultimately it more than likely ends up wrecking the economy.

 

Quote

On average it transfers wealth from the many to the few - otherwise why would the few invest in it.

.

 

 

 

 

Edited by twocents

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1 hour ago, sarahbell said:

How much of the economy is based on this nonsensical gambling stuff?

Paying for betting on plastic (of any sort) is wrong surely. If you have to go into a shop and part with cash then it's harder and fewer people would do it.

The question is more: what proportion of the black-economy launders money through these channels, and what proportion of FOBT turnover is due to money laundering?

 

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6 hours ago, The Idiocrat said:

Oh, they're more than happy. Liberalisation and expansion of the gambling industry has been going on for the last couple of decades. It was mainly driven by Labour funnily enough - amazing how they love to fuck over their own voters - remember them pushing for super casinos? Noticed how gambling ads are on daytime TV and all over sports programmes that kids watch? This "policy" is just reeling it back a bit, perhaps now that they're aware of the true consequences of this liberalisation, although it was bloody obvious what the consequences would be. Like many shit things, gambling has become normalised when it used to be just for losers or a day at the races.

Like fags and booze the government likes to lecture gamblers about their moral failings, weep crocodile tears over any 'victims' and to continue to trouser its cut from any takings in tax. It is only when the costs of the consequences outweigh the revenues that the state starts thinking about legislating on such issues. I expect the Chancellor to show his concern in due course by raising gaming duty.

Edited by Virgil Caine

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37 minutes ago, dgul said:

The question is more: what proportion of the black-economy launders money through these channels, and what proportion of FOBT turnover is due to money laundering?

 

A cynic might wonder why there's always at least one money laundering loophole they seem to mysteriously lack enthusiasm for closing.

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2 hours ago, sarahbell said:

How much of the economy is based on this nonsensical gambling stuff?

 

42 minutes ago, SNACR said:

A cynic might wonder why there's always at least one money laundering loophole they seem to mysteriously lack enthusiasm for closing.

It is a really important part of the economy.

See, in the olden days, the drugs dealer might take in a pile of notes, then store them, slowly drawing down on the pile of cash as and when they could.  Perhaps each £100 taken might be removed from the economy for a few years -- and if it is removed from the economy it isn't contributing to the economy.

These days, the dealer goes into the betting shop and bets the £100, getting £95* of nice clean money.  So they can now go out and spend it, keeping the money within the economy (ie increasing the velocity of that bunch of notes) and contributing to GDP.

Everyone wins!

[Well, some poor people spend all their money and can't eat.  But it is only a side effect of the main use of FOBT, so can be ignored.  Anyway, their losses are someone else's gains** (ie, staff and shareholders), so, again, the money spins around the economy supporting GDP.]

[* or whatever.   And the £5 goes to staff and shareholders, so is clean and spent as well]

[**defining losses/gains as the long-run average, rather than instantaneous 'I had a good/bad day'.  But even this contributes to GDP.  See, losses are just borne; you might spend a bit less, but it'll be boring stuff like food.  Winnings, however, they're always great!  So wins are often spent on high margin stuff,  like a night on the town or a new TV.  So, in the long run, the gambler is hungry (sure) and poor, but also does splash out on occasion, which arguably has a greater contribution to GDP than just boring old surviving with sufficient food.]

Edited by dgul

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12 minutes ago, dgul said:

 

It is a really important part of the economy.

See, in the olden days, the drugs dealer might take in a pile of notes, then store them, slowly drawing down on the pile of cash as and when they could.  Perhaps each £100 taken might be removed from the economy for a few years -- and if it is removed from the economy it isn't contributing to the economy.

These days, the dealer goes into the betting shop and bets the £100, getting £95* of nice clean money.  So they can now go out and spend it, keeping the money within the economy (ie increasing the velocity of that bunch of notes) and contributing to GDP.

Everyone wins!

[Well, some poor people spend all their money and can't eat.  But it is only a side effect of the main use of FOBT, so can be ignored.  Anyway, their losses are someone else's gains** (ie, staff and shareholders), so, again, the money spins around the economy supporting GDP.]

[* or whatever.   And the £5 goes to staff and shareholders, so is clean and spent as well]

[**defining losses/gains as the long-run average, rather than instantaneous 'I had a good/bad day'.  But even this contributes to GDP.  See, losses are just borne; you might spend a bit less, but it'll be boring stuff like food.  Winnings, however, they're always great!  So wins are often spent on high margin stuff,  like a night on the town or a new TV.  So, in the long run, the gambler is hungry (sure) and poor, but also does splash out on occasion, which arguably has a greater contribution to GDP than just boring old surviving with sufficient food.]

It's certainly clear from the regular banknote redesigns they don't like cash being hoarded.

One area where I think you see evidence of the black economy is certain types of cars on ebay where in private sales they go for nearly as much, or the same, as they could be bought from a dealer, with some form of warranty. I think this is likely because some illicit cash can be disposed of.

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7 minutes ago, SNACR said:

 

One area where I think you see evidence of the black economy is certain types of cars on ebay where in private sales they go for nearly as much, or the same, as they could be bought from a dealer, with some form of warranty. I think this is likely because some illicit cash can be disposed of.

IMO ebay is rife with it.

You see it in all sorts of second hand goods -- suddenly you'll see something priced obviously very 'high', but not a simple 'added a zero by mistake'.  As far as I can tell, these items are 'sold' for cash to 'people' who 'collect'.  You'll often see that they'll have several of the item for sale, so they can repeat the 'cash sale' multiple times.  I guess sometimes people mistakenly purchase the 'expensive' item, but that is just pure profit (and adds legitimacy) for the launderers, so I guess they'll happily send out the goods.  But it looks like they're buying a laptop (or whatever) cheaply and refurbishing it before selling at a profit -- a legitimate activity.

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1 hour ago, dgul said:

See, in the olden days, the drugs dealer might take in a pile of notes, then store them, slowly drawing down on the pile of cash as and when they could.  Perhaps each £100 taken might be removed from the economy for a few years -- and if it is removed from the economy it isn't contributing to the economy.

These days, the dealer goes into the betting shop and bets the £100, getting £95* of nice clean money.  So they can now go out and spend it, keeping the money within the economy (ie increasing the velocity of that bunch of notes) and contributing to GDP.

I doubt these terminals provide a way to launder anything significant. You have £5000 in cash and get £4750 with a receipt in return. That receipt might explain why you have £4750 in cash on you but it doesn't explain how you get £4750 week in week out. In other words it launders cash but it still doesn't launder an income.

Edited by Panther

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51 minutes ago, Panther said:

I doubt these terminals provide a way to launder anything significant. You have £5000 in cash and get £4750 with a receipt in return. That receipt might explain why you have £4750 in cash on you but it doesn't explain how you get £4750 week in week out. In other words it launders cash but it still doesn't launder an income.

We're not talking about their tax return here.

These guys are the ones who are worried about being stopped by the police with £5k in their glovebox.  This way they can say they've had an amazing turn of luck and the police can't do anything about it.

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14 hours ago, SNACR said:

Interesting with modern betting that people are ok with a computer screen but if you'd replicated that in a casino years ago where a card mysteriously appeared pressed to a glass window everyone would have massively smelt a rat. Although I guess the true luck of the draw disappeared years ago with slot machines.

As someone who plays slots and online blackjack a fair bit in my capacity as a bonus abuser, I have never had any reason to believe that they are fixed in any way- if you play proper strategy, the house edge on online blackjack really is <1%. What you soon realize though if you join a game of multiplayer live blackjack is that a hell of a lot of people don't play proper strategy at all...

5 hours ago, Panther said:

I doubt these terminals provide a way to launder anything significant. You have £5000 in cash and get £4750 with a receipt in return. That receipt might explain why you have £4750 in cash on you but it doesn't explain how you get £4750 week in week out. In other words it launders cash but it still doesn't launder an income.

I've never had occasion to launder cash through one, but I was under the impression that a FOBT will take payments in cash and pay winnings to a debit card.
 

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If you turn on the TV, in the wee hours, there do seem to be a lot of roulette channels. What happened to the Open University?

I used to like the maths progams, which had a better explanation of probability than a poker game.

It's a sine of the times.:ph34r:

Edited by MrPin

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1 hour ago, MrPin said:

If you turn on the TV, in the wee hours, there do seem to be a lot of roulette channels. What happened to the Open University?

I used to like the maths progams, which had a better explanation of probability than a poker game.

It's a sine of the times.:ph34r:

I did used to sit through them in some half-drunk/half-awake state and always used to think the content was stretching it to be A-level stuff. An ex, who was a deputy head, used to moan about some OU graduate they'd taken on but said at least they got a free computer out of it - apparently they got a free computer for every OU graduate they took on FFS - TBH this was decades ago so the crazy's been going a long time.

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