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More FOBT home truths from real people

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Viewing 17 posts - 1 through 17 (of 124 total)
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  • #20931
    betlarge
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    • Total Posts 2789

    From The New Stateman and originally published in 2005. The replies beneath the article have been going right up to today. If you read a selection of them, you’ll see most of them are utterly desperate, some suicidal.

    I’ll wait the usual ‘It’s their ‘freedom of choice isn’t it’, ‘Nobody forced them into the shop did they?’ etc etc.

    Christ, some freedom.

    http://www.newstatesman.com/200502210022

    Mike

    #390045
    Marcus Weedon
    Participant
    • Total Posts 66

    I got through the comments left up until about 18 months ago, when I had to stop because a) it was sad, but b) I was starting to get immune to it. Different people but the same experience, over and over.

    I was working in betting shops for a small independent when these machines appeared on the scene. I saw people get deep into them – people I knew, and saw very much as ‘fun’ punters. They seem to have an extra addictive element that isn’t present in more traditional forms of gambling. I would speculate that this is because the excitement / satiation cycle happens so much faster.

    The saddest comments on there? The ones railing against the machines because they are allegedly rigged. The classic loser’s mentality: refusal to accept total responsibility as part of the reason for their losses is the ‘crooked’ machine. It leaves the door open for the addicted gambler to justify continuing, because they feverishly imagine that one day they might crack the code.

    The shops I was working in? Sold to a big chain. The people I was working for were racing / sports fans who enjoyed running a small business that coincided with their interests. 15 years ago they saw that betting shops were becoming unlicensed casinos and got out.

    #390050
    Seven Towers
    Participant
    • Total Posts 608

    I’ve read through a load of the comments on there and it is truly tragic. People who are convinced that the staff in the bookies are personally fixing the machine so they will lose (the staff can’t do this,) and yet still pumping money into them. It beggars belief.

    #390051
    sberry
    Member
    • Total Posts 1801

    I can not like FOBTs because of what they are and what they turn the good old fashioned bookies into, arcades, but I can understand why a business would install them if they make so much money.

    I can’t feel sympathy for people doing their conkers on them though and you can’t blame the company, the machine, or the way they work – if someone is weak minded enough to do their dough on them they would do that dough elsewhere if the FOBTs didn’t exist.

    Though these days we have reached the stage in society where nothing is anybody’s fault anymore. Maybe the next step for the ambulance chasing lawyer firms is to start advertising ‘no win no fee’ offers to people who have lost money on gambling, on the basis they were mis-sold?

    #390156
    Getzippy
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1152

    Wow – sobering stuff reading the 3500 odd repiles to that article.

    Funnily enough, I lost £100 squids yesterday in a few sessions playing the fruities and getting bored (no features coming up) and then ending up on the wibbly wobbly wheel of death.

    I deffo don’t think the staff behind the counter are rigging them, that is ridiculous and depressing to think some peeps believe that.

    All I can say on the random aspect is that computer programming is very complex and I’m sure it could satisfy this auditing that goes on with the bookies. I spoke to an engineer for the machines and he couldn’t be sure they weren’t programmed beyond the 2.7% natural edge. It’s all very secretive with these machines and answers are not very uniform when you ask varied staff.

    There is no proof that they aren’t genuinely random as much as there isn’t any proof that they are 100% random IMHO.

    Having been to a G casino a few times with my mate I find the sequences much more random at the real casino and less psychologically compulsive.

    I don’t find real roulette nearly as addictive as the machines. I spose that is to do with the difference in spin intervals but I also think it is to do with the "randomness" aspect.

    It’s a great leveler, roulette and gambling in general. Peeps from all walks of life, some more educated than others can all get sucked in. I do think these machines prey on the vulnerable along with internet casinos more than any other form of gambling.

    Machines are all about greed and that should not be what punting is about, it should be fun too, a hobby.

    I understand the whole responsibility of the individual argument but sometimes people do need to be protected more.

    Zip

    #390175
    Marcus Weedon
    Participant
    • Total Posts 66

    Zippy, I’m not a maths expert, but I would imagine the reason most people lose more than 2.7% of their stakes on these machines is due to the way they play them.

    The ‘average player’, should make a small loss at roulette based on the 2.7% house advantage. The probability of a big win from a small stake (i.e. a sequence of correct guesses) is small. I’ve watched plenty of people play these things. They put in £20 and within a few spins have increased it to, say, £50. The law of averages suggests that if they continue to play they will make some wrong guesses and their pot will decrease. Do they take their free £30 and run? Of course not! They feel lucky and want to win more.

    The same player is now £100 down. The law of averages suggests that if they continue to play, they will eventually get somewhere closer to break-even. However, if they have no money left this isn’t an option.

    #390197
    betlarge
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2789

    Zippy, I’m not a maths expert, but I would imagine the reason most people lose more than 2.7% of their stakes on these machines is due to the way they play them.

    The ‘average player’, should make a small loss at roulette based on the 2.7% house advantage. The probability of a big win from a small stake (i.e. a sequence of correct guesses) is small. I’ve watched plenty of people play these things. They put in £20 and within a few spins have increased it to, say, £50. The law of averages suggests that if they continue to play they will make some wrong guesses and their pot will decrease. Do they take their free £30 and run? Of course not! They feel lucky and want to win more.

    The same player is now £100 down. The law of averages suggests that if they continue to play, they will eventually get somewhere closer to break-even. However, if they have no money left this isn’t an option.

    Yes, there’s absolutely no way these things are ‘fixed’ or even need to be. The speed of the action not only fuels the addiction but compounds the stake degredation.

    For example, a player receives an average 97% return on any spin. Let’s presume he has a dead-on average return every spin (impossible obviously over a small sample-size but exactly what will occur globally over a long period). If he starts with £100 in his pocket then after just 30 spins, he will have lost £60 of that.

    Bookmakers can’t go wrong.

    Mike

    #390198
    Eclipse First
    Member
    • Total Posts 1569

    The brutal truth is that if you even contemplate putting your money in one of these machines, then you are already doomed.

    #390204
    JJMSports
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2036

    The part I HATE about working in a bookies. Truly is depressing seeing people do their absolutes. Have been cautioned by my employers already for telling people not to play them. Stupid I know, but hard to sit and watch.

    #390219
    sberry
    Member
    • Total Posts 1801

    The brutal truth is that if you even contemplate putting your money in one of these machines, then you are already doomed.

    Correct, they are financial re-allocation devices, some people are just too stupid to be allowed to have money so they must be given a means for it to be redistributed to people who can look after it properly.

    It’s not new, I remember one of the workers in the local snooker hall 20 years ago, he got paid on Thursdays and when he’d put his wages in the fruit machine he was allowed to put IOUs in the safe for up to a weeks wages, which he would often do as well, having to go home and explain he’d not only lost the weeks wages but next weeks as well. If he won, he’d be in the next day to do it until he eventually lost.

    Does anybody know what the rules are on putting them in shops, are bookmakers the only places that can have them, where would one find licencing info for them?

    #390222
    % MAN
    Participant
    • Total Posts 5104

    Does anybody know what the rules are on putting them in shops, are bookmakers the only places that can have them, where would one find licencing info for them?

    This should answer your question Simon

    http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/gambling_sectors/gaming_machines/getting_a_licence_what_you_ne/do_i_need_a_licence.aspx

    #390224
    Zarkava
    Participant
    • Total Posts 4704

    I’m sorry if this sounds harsh, but having worked for Coral and having seen several thousand people play these machines and lose their money, I feel no sympathy.

    These machines have been around for long enough now. Everybody knows they are licences to print money. There is a reason that shops are open from 8.30am until 9.30pm and it is not so people have enough time to read the Racing Post.

    If people are stupid enough to put their money in a second time, that’s their fault. I was more than happy to tell people how much profit we made from those machines during my time at Coral. It didn’t make a blind bit of difference. I told the customers over and over again. 3 losing weeks out of 52, £220k profit from Sept 09 to Sept 10. Nobody listens. It’s a fantastic psychological experiment actually. A bit like when Clive Owen pushes the addicted gambler’s chip over from 33 to the corner covering the winning number 36 in Croupier. Pays him out, but the guy walks straight over to another wheel.

    No wonder the bookies are so keen to have so many shops with 4 FOBTs in if these addicted fools are going to come in and play them.

    All you guys giving them the sympathetic treatment, ‘oh poor you, you’re a victim, blah blah blah’. Rubbish. You’re not helping them, you’re making it worse. If these people were intelligent, banned themselves from every single shop close to them & had friends, other people giving them tough love AND a desire to stop playing them, they’d kick it no problem.

    #390229
    Gingertipster
    Participant
    • Total Posts 28471

    You can be "sypathetic", yet still believe it is up to the person concerned to take responsibility and seek help for his/her addiction. Certainly would not call anyone a "victim".

    It is possible for an addict to ban himself/herself from a particular bookmaker’s shop and so from FOBTs. To make it illegal for the bookmaker to knowingly allow the person to use FOBTs.

    Value Is Everything
    #390230
    Zarkava
    Participant
    • Total Posts 4704

    Yes, you can walk into any bookmakers and ban yourself from 6 months up to 5 years, either from exclusively that shop or that shop & any surrounding ones, or from all shops nationwide. It helps to take passport photos with you when you fill in the forms, otherwise the form is simply meaningless as staff would only realise who you are if they ID’d you, and even then only if they’d know to look out for your name.

    #390231
    Gingertipster
    Participant
    • Total Posts 28471

    How do staff approach a banned person using an FOBT Zark?

    Are bookies legally obliged to do so?

    Value Is Everything
    #390234
    Zarkava
    Participant
    • Total Posts 4704

    Well the Coral system was updated about a year ago so you can remotely suspend any activity on a FOBT, so if they suddenly recognise somebody, they can terminate the session, remotely withdraw the money and then pay the customer out before asking him/her to leave the shop.

    And before anybody gets anymore wild conspiracy theories in their heads, no, staff cannot see the next winning roulette number. You honestly think any bookmaker would design a system with that flaw? Every single member of staff would leave within a fortnight, either due to winning £200,000 or being sacked for giving customers the information. Bookmakers would become bankrupt within months.

    Never happened to me. Personally I wouldn’t want to confront someone that had banned themselves though. I saw another manager deal with it once and it wasn’t exactly a calm situation.

    Whether the staff are legally obliged to do so, no idea. Would probably result in a disciplinary meeting at the very least.

    #390235
    betlarge
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2789

    All you guys giving them the sympathetic treatment, ‘oh poor you, you’re a victim, blah blah blah’. Rubbish. You’re not helping them, you’re making it worse. If these people were intelligent, banned themselves from every single shop close to them & had friends, other people giving them tough love AND a desire to stop playing them, they’d kick it no problem.

    And if they’re not intelligent and don’t have friends? Not everyone enjoys a perfect support network.

    ‘oh poor you, you’re a victim, blah blah blah’

    Can’t exactly remember where I said that?? Personally, I think these people are fools – but then, so do they. But I also think that they’re vulnerable fools and I am pretty unimpressed with how Big Bookmaking (for want of a better label) has instantly focussed and preyed on their addictions as a source for huge –

    really huge

    – profits. Increased stakes, increased methods of payments, more machines per shop, more shops per area – it’s not exactly edifying is it?

    Bookmakers used to cencentrate on racing almost exclusively. it was you against them, which had a certain

    noblesse

    about it! Milking the vulnerable via an unwinnable, addictive system is a dismal replacement for that and seems an awfully tawdry way to bolster their bottom line.

    Mike

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