Crio’s Question: Can a flutter become a disease?

Benny is variously referred to as “keen punter” or “desperate”.

It can be a fine line.

A couple of months ago we were settling after the last and he conceded that he’d had a “big day”.

I was glad and told him so.

There’d been a spate of contentious protests and Benny confided to me that if the last of ’em had been upheld (in line with the headshakers that had preceded it) he’d have been cast and finished….and what a good thing that would have been.

It was rare candour from a seemingly easy going fella. He seemed to accept that he was skating on thin ice.

Last week was Responsible Gambling Awareness Week.

The gambling landscape has changed. The racecourse is mostly barren. Pokie revenues have stopped climbing. Tatts tickets remain as the visible but rarely criticised gambling avenue.

The big shift has been to online betting. Slot games and poker tournaments flourish globally. Sports bets and multis are punched in to phones “just for fun”.

And an avalanche of ads present incredible offers, associating the punt with mates or glamour or simply being involved. It has permeated all facets of a sporting life. Ask your kids. Quoting odds is now part of footy vernacular – like Supercoach points!

Some of this is pretty harmless. A lot of it is not.

Betting can be a disease and does wreck lives. Greed (or easy money) has undone many otherwise decent folk….on the racecourse, in the casino, at the stockmarket.

The present situation cannot be left to go unchecked. Self regulation is never the solution.

There has to be a way of educating people that having a bet and gambling must not become the same thing. That, ultimately, most people lose.

I love the races and occasionally have a small bet.

I’m lucky.

I don’t want prohibition but I’m worried at the explosion of betting options and the general gullibility of the public.

Responsible Gambling Awareness Week challenged us to check ourselves and our mates for any signs of danger. Here’s the link:- http://www.rgaw.com.au/

Comments

  1. Peter_B says:

    Thanks Crio. Eloquently put. I now work as a mental health support worker, so I don’t make a secret of the swathe of destruction that the punt cut through my personal and professional life – and the lives of those unfortunate enough to be close to me for a lot of years. How or why is a subject for a thesis, not a comment, but a couple of aphorisms ring true:
    – One bet is too many for me, and a thousand is never enough.
    – A man takes a bet; a bet takes a bet; a bet takes a man.
    Pretty common trajectory whatever your escape/poison/addiction. The good news is that over half the people with problems who SEEK treatment and persist do recover. Today I lead an emotionally and financially rich life that I never imagined as a puntdrunk. The sad fact is that less than 5% of sufferers do seek help, due to shame, fear, self loathing and a belief that they are bad/hopeless – not sick. Recovery is not a quick or easy road but it is ultimately an amazingly rewarding one.
    I will always love the romance of racing, but I had to learn the hard way that indulging in it was always the start of a slippery slope. I make a point of not taking much interest in the wonderful racing banter on this site unless it is historical events of 20+ years ago (I figure no one will let me bet on those dead’uns – unlike the current day ones).
    I hope Stainless (who is definitely not a punt drunk like me) won’t mind me referring to a wonderful post he wrote back in 2011 on how it can sneak up on you and spoil your enjoyment of sport. http://www.footyalmanac.com.au/a-dud-bet/
    I am no prohibitionist (except for the ability to advertise) and good luck to the 90% who can have a flutter without a problem. But that is not who the casino, pokies and on-line bookies are trying to attract. The desperates and the embezzlers pay their bills, and the ‘bet responsibly’ tags are only there to minimise legal liabilities – not to actively discourage donations from those who can least control themselves or afford it.
    Addiction is an equal opportunity disease that cuts across all races, genders, educations and income stratas (the educated and clever just manage to hide it longer).
    It is an emotional disease with financial symptoms.
    Any Almanacker who wants to talk about the problem for themselves or family can contact me anytime – confidentially and off line:
    peterbaulderstone@yahoo.com.au

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Great article Crio and comment , Peter I am lucky in I don’t punt but had problems with the grog finally admitted it to myself with exactly the same problem , 1 beer is to many and a hundred is not enough it requires self control and is hard at times but so far so good ( 16 months ) gambling is now a , 24 hour a day v easy option
    I would love to see adds with high profile sports people , actors etc how it has affected there lives as a deterrent thanks , Crio

  3. Great honesty PB, brilliant that you will bare your soul to aid others. Great also Rulebook for sharing. I don’t have addictions, and I am thankful for it, but I completely sympathise with the affliction, and feel awful at the ubiquity of gambling ads and odds, all saying just how easy (and glamorous) it is to never lose. Sad

    Well done and raised Crio

    Sean

  4. Malcolm, you have dented Peter’s confidence….don’t you consider him a high profile enough sports identity?

  5. matt watson says:

    Crio,
    I’m a hopeless gambler, as I admitted in a recent post:
    http://www.footyalmanac.com.au/hopeless-on-the-punt/
    A mate of mine admitted to a gambling addiction about a decade ago. He still gambles but only in small amounts.
    Another mate of mine won $36,000 on the punt recently. It paid for the deposit on his house. Unfortunately that big win didn’t cover his overall losses.
    And an acquaintance of mine recently lost his house, his wife and kids and half his super because of his gambling addiction. He had debts of $150,000.
    I don’t find gambling fun, which is lucky because I have an addictive personality.
    As I said to my mate years ago, seek help if you have a problem.

  6. Intriguing thread.

    Each story has its own quiddity; its own truth.

    I think, when discussing gambling, each scenario needs to be understood very clearly.

    I wrote a book about my own.

    I think the place of chance in life generally cannot be dismissed in gambling discussions. But perhaps that is not the case if you are in its grip.

    Addiction is a key element in these discussions.

    Equally, so is joy. The notion of beating the gods, and the odds, of preparing a horse, or preparing a bet with careful analysis.

    Such a huge discussion, and a vital one, which is why I took so many pages to do it in Memoirs of a Mug Punter.

  7. Working in Community Health, as well as being partial to the pint and punt, i feel i have an empathy with this subject. However i was totally unaware of the Responsible Gambling Awareness Week until the weekend; maybe i’d missed the ads. Better promotion would certailnly be a goer. However, a major concern is that it coincides/clashes with the week we recognise the First Australians, means one important message takes precedence over the other important message. If the dates could be changed, giving this week the prominece it requires, maybe it could have a greater prescence.

    Glen!

    Glen!

  8. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Crio , Peter would be chairman and senior statesman of the advisory group !

  9. John, I reckon there is quite a distinction between being a “mug” and a “desperate”.
    Poring and postulating over the Post is challenging and enjoyable for some of us.
    I assume that, like with many addictions, there’s an underlying problem/insecurity which is revealed in compulsive gambling.
    I’ll never knock someone enjoying a bet.
    I’m wary of anyone looking for a”soft option” who cries poor afterwards.
    But I concede that society is creating a culture for which it needs to take some responsibility – there’s a pretty good reason why international agencies are prepared to spend tens of millions to buy in to our marketplace.

  10. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    I get really p*ssed off when there are complaints about late withdrawals from footy teams and it is considered “unfair” to the punters. Things have gone way too far when that viewpoint gets a sympathetic hearing.

  11. Having a bet is not too disimilar to having a drink; it’s when it goes from being a good servant to a bad master, which for many people is a thin line, does it become problematic.

    The constant advertising of the odds, be it in footy, cricket, boxing, even political elections helps push it into the problem area. Like Mark said in the previous posting, the issue of a late withdrawal from a footy side, with its talked about impact upon gamblers, is indicative of the growth of gambling , and its influence across all sporting codes. In recent years we sw the power of big gambling interests stifle the mild reforms endeavoured by the Gillard Federal Government, to show how much influence this wealthy sector has. Combined with their political power, the increases in technology allowing people to bet on their phones/on line, makes for an environment where problem gambling becomes even more prevalent. For young people to constantly hear/see talk about the odds in all sporting events produces a mind set that gambling is the primary factor in sporting contests.
    Me i stiil like the punt, but am concious of the social problems gambling has become in recent decades. As i was taught as a kid, many years ago, “it’s a mugs game”.

    Glen!

  12. Dave Brown says:

    Top discussion Crio and everyone in the thread. I find myself becoming more of a wowser as the years progress – having seen the damage both gambling and alcohol have made to the lives of people I love.

    My concern at the moment is the direct dependence of many sports on gambling, particularly poker machine revenue. Here in Adelaide the SANFL clubs are all dependent upon pokie revenue to be viable. My own club moved its licences to a poorer area of town because they could make more money there and it is the clubs in the poorest areas which are the most financially sound. I’m not sure how this fits with clubs that are supposed to be a good citizen in their communities. I want my club and league to be successful but not at that cost.

  13. Comlpex issues.

    Some thoughts – in no real form.

    I agree with Swish.

    But then again, the number is an easy way to quantify it. Hot favourite is not as clear as $1.12 favourite. And favourite is not necessarily a gambling word. You could always explain that you would expect one side to win eight times in nine attempts.

    I find pokies the hardest to take. And that they provide revenue for govt, who then find money for patch-up services. Please.

    Level of problem illustrated at a major rugby league club. When you get your coins you are given ‘club dollars’. There is a table of fruit and veges and canned foods where, on leaving, you can spend your ‘club dollars’.

    I view racing and sports betting differently.

    As for late withdrawals etc there can be no complaint. IN punting it is caveat emptor.

    No doubt gambling companies rely on the understanding that not many withdraw from their accounts. But there are many punters who don’t expect to. What price the fun of a day on the punt?

    I agree Crio it’s best to discuss the difference between gambling and problem gambling, mug and desperate.

    Ultimately, though, I reckon this thread is a rather middle class discussion.

    The human lottery, the notion of chance, and the deep need for hope are all part of the consideration. Go to Collingwood in Phar Lap’s time and in the laneways they NEED to find a winner. They’re not backing Phar Lap at $1.10 (They’re odds for the affluent). They’re looking for the daily double – and the long-range doubles (Caulfield Cup into Melbourne Cup etc). They’re not betting the rent money at $1.10. 5 shillings to sixpence. They’re betting one shilling to win 2 quid.

    You want to deal with the gambling issue: create a more equitable society, appropriate levels of taxation which provide services to the community.

  14. Peter_B says:

    JTH – I respect your viewpoint, but I reckon you tolerate things about the corporate gambling industry that you would not stick up for in any other industry.
    Your final paras seem to imply that the needy have always been greedy, so its ok. Your usual preference for societal and economic context seems to be missing. “Freedom of choice” to punt – yes – up to a point. But the old Fabian maxim was “freedom for the pike is death for the minnow”.
    I know of two middle aged blokes who sleep in the parks and get $35O a week on the disability pension. Their primary problems are family abuse and mental illness. But one goes to the casino on pension day and blows most of it. The other spends the days in the TAB where it is warm and dry this time of year, and has no money as a result. Gambling just exploits their neediness and vulnerability. It is not their primary problem. But where is the “responsible gambling” that says “mate you don’t look/smell/sound right?” The operators doubtless think, if I don’t take their money someone else will. Neither drinks much and I guess it is just their tenuous foothold into the society that has forgotten them. They are left alone in the gambling venue as long as they ‘contribute’. Safe from being mugged except by corporate criminals. But hardly an informed ‘freedom to choose’. There are many parallels with the grog and drugs in indigenous communities. White rent-seekers hold their nose and grow fat on the misery. Leave me out of it, save for trying to persuade them there is something better. But what?
    Only a couple of examples from my recent experience, but as per Matt’s comments – I could give you hundreds more from across all stratas of society – based on many years in Gamblers Anonymous meetings doing my own learning and sharing.
    I am against the advertising of gambling. Corporate spin will talk about market share, but if Rolf Harris did it publicly we would call it grooming, and add an extra 20 years to the sentence. It is genetically modified gambling to ensure that in 10 years time their market has been tripled.
    I have worked for bookies and I know that 80% of the business is money in/money out. Turning over customers to find the desperates/addicts that yield the profits.
    The ‘middle class discussion’ bit is romanticised defence of indefensible vulture capitalism, which is not normally your go
    Even more galling as any successful punter will tell you, the corporates all close your account and refuse to take your bets if you are a regular winner. They only want mugs happy to reinvest, or desperates chasing losses and adrenaline.
    Institutionalised gambling is just one small part of the cycle of inter-generational despair and exploitation that has become passe’ in all capitalist economies. If you can’t give ’em bread, give ’em circuses (so long as the admission prices are heavily taxed).
    Dave Brown’s insightful comment about footy clubs moving their gambling and bar venues to the poorer suburbs where people have nothing better to do with their time than ‘donate’ is a telling one.
    Governments and corporates collude in their economic and power interests to expand gambling, and only pay lip service to harm minimisation, prevention or treatment.
    It may have been ever thus, but that doesn’t make it right. It may be hard to shift, but there are many more things that a society that truly cared for the vulnerable could do.
    And most compellingly – turning a historical drip into an industrial siphon is bloody criminal.
    I don’t reckon you see gambling through the same prism as other social and political issues. We all have our blind spots. This is probably mine.

  15. Cheers PB

    No, I’m not saying the needy are greedy, I’m actually saying they needy are needy. In the historical example I used: in an inequitable society they felt gambling was almost their only chance. Hard to work your way out of strife in a Depression. We still have inequity, and we are spending less and less providing opportunity for all.

    No, I don’t accept shameless exploitation.

    Yes, I am trying to understand the motivation of those of us who punt – across the social spectrum.

    As with most things, I am intrigued by notions of meaning, and not just as an intellectual exercise.

  16. Peter_B says:

    Fair enough John. I guess I am saying that the real underlying purpose/driver for the punt is existential – not financial as you seem to imply.
    Financial lure is the bait to catch the mouse.
    But ESCAPE and EXCITEMENT that removes us however momentarily and fleetingly is what keeps the mouse going back to the trap. Other than for the 5% of truly analytical and controlled investors (which you seem to be).
    Its adrenaline and dopamine not dollars for the rest of us – mugs or desperates – its just that mugs can generally stop at some reasonable self determined limit. Us desperates can’t.
    Ask a meth user and gambler – the internal rush is qualitatively the same. Obviously a bit more intense and sustained with meth – but the same subjective feeling “as they top the rise”.

  17. Tom Martin says:

    Thanks Crio. Very thought-provoking, reinforced by the candour of the comments.

    It’s a fine mess, but a familiar pattern. Humans are designed for addiction. The challenge is to choose your ‘poison’ wisely. A positive feedback loop can become entrenched and self-perpetuating with practically any kind of behaviour. The more you take, the more you want, the more you take, and so on. It’s not just a quirk of the brain’s reward pathways, it’s central to the ability to learn new behaviours and the formation of identity. People can get addicted to exercise, or sex (both seemed like too much hard work to me).

    Extreme amounts of any substance or activity will almost always be harmful in the long run. Fortunately the irrepressible desire for novelty tends to save us from ourselves. I could eat bacon and eggs every day for a month I reckon, but a year? No thanks. Some things just don’t offer a big enough payoff to get out of control. I can drink green tea all day long but it’s a doddle to cope without it.

    There are, however, certain pleasures in human life that are dangerously potent for reshaping neural circuitry. Turbo-charged V8 ploughs that trace furrows in the brain. It doesn’t take too many laps of the paddock before they have carved a nice little rut. If the land is worked too hard the rut becomes a trench and sometimes, tragically, a grave. There are few more pitiful possibilities in the human condition than a person being trapped into desperately wanting more of something that they know is destroying them.

    Yet society’s appetite for these pleasures is unquenchable. Even the ones that are currently illegal are deeply embedded in culture. Total prohibition seems futile. Those that aren’t prohibited must be regulated. Regulation won’t save everyone, but it does set a barrier to mitigate risk. Wherever the regulatory line is drawn, it will inevitably impinge on the freedom of the unafflicted, but that’s the price to be paid for protecting the vulnerable, at least in theory. Alcohol bans in indigenous communities are a prime example of how difficult this can actually be in practice.

    Ultimately each individual has to take responsibility for their own health and well-being. It’s a travesty though to focus narrowly on the addict’s failure to self-regulate when Big Gaming, Big Tobacco, Big Alcohol, Big Pharma, even Big Food, are all hooked on profit. Whole business sectors have become dependent on the misery and suffering of others for their survival. And the major political parties are junkies for campaign donations and the approval of industry. Moralising about the lack of self-restraint in business or politics is about as effective as lecturing a skid row drunk on the virtues of moderation. All you’ll hear back is rationalisation and deceit. Self-interest reigns.

    Negative feedback is how you reverse or reduce a positive feedback loop. Often it takes someone from outside to show leadership, intervene and break the cycle. I’m sure almost all the people who work in these industries are good, honest and respectable. Taken in isolation, what they do to earn a crust is blameless. It’s the system that is so pernicious and only dramatic, symbolic action will provide the shock required to prompt change from within.

    In that light, it disgusts me that organisations like the AFL and Cricket Australia still shamelessly suck on the teat of the alcohol and gaming industry. These bodies supposedly exist for the benefit of the community. They claim special status (and tax breaks) because of it. And yet they are perfectly willing for financial gain to increase the risk of addiction of the most vulnerable in society, i.e. children. They were tardy in giving up the fags, and nothing has changed. For either the AFL or Cricket Australia to make a bold statement that it won’t accept advertising from gaming or alcohol would be a landmark, and potentially shift the national conversation. I’m not suggesting a political stance on all issues is required, far from it. Just a sense of responsibility about the community they serve. I think we should be able to expect more. Maybe they are too myopic and insular to understand the privileged position of influence they have in Australia, but the AFL’s self-congratulation over the indigenous round suggests otherwise. People forget that if it wasn’t for Michael Long and Kevin Sheedy it would never have happened.

  18. PB, I agree. Whether physiological or psychological or spiritual or a combination of all three people are drawn to it. I think we’re arguing the same thing. People don’t necessarily do it for financial reasons, in fact very few do. I think that’s the point. (I think there’s a stack of reasons, which is why I said in an earlier comment you need to consider each one individually – and then make some general observation).

    For me, for example, I love that a day of cavalier punting makes you feel a freedom of sprirt – that you are at least fighting back in the face of life’s realities. As I wrote in Memoirs (in the section that got a lot of response) wins give you a temporary high, while losses allow you to wallow in your own lot.

    Love and death are at the heart of all things.

  19. Brilliant Tom.

    So much in your response.

    We have to fight the rut, and fight the tendency to romanticise and mythologise the self-narratives which rationalise/justify behaviours.

    I think you are right to consider children when discussing all of these matters. They must come first – all aspects of their welfare and development.

    The celebration of self-destruction and self-loathing, while making for characters who are good company, good conversation (and good art),, is the preserve of the self-absorbed.

    But then, how best we face the human reality, when we really face it? When we really understand void, nothingness, finality?

    And how best do we deal with ongoing and perpetual failure?

  20. Just as every cigarette pack now comes with a pic of gangrenous feet or sooty lungs, maybe every TAB ticket should come with a pic of a broken soul clutching a maxed out credit card statement.

  21. Tom Martin says:

    Your last two pars get to the crux of it, John.

    Or the place where the crux used to be. Organised religion’s slow drift out of modern society has left a hollow, yet to be filled.

    No doubt there’s a measure of solace in a foaming glass, and a punch of the air at the finishing post. I’ve usually got no better suggestions.

    Though of late I’ve been plugging my existential void with the Almanac, hence the 2.37am essay from Perth!

  22. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Brilliant as usual Tom ( I must admit I was wondering when you sleep ) , JTH and PB at least we are discussing a huge social problem of addiction and not sweeping it under the carpet like governments in general do , Nick X excepted
    Browny where there were some dramas were , Norwood could place there pokie machines the club would struggle to argue that in essence that you are not spot on

  23. Brilliant discussion. I don’t understand the punting bug, even though I love to have a bit of a go in the Spring carnival and at various other times. To me its the fun of mixing with others rather than the punt itself.

    Tom, I think you are spot on – “Organised religion’s slow drift out of modern society has left a hollow, yet to be filled”. People will always try to find meaning somewhere.

    I always remember the great line delivered by The Chief in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. The discussion was about alcoholism in particular but addiction in general. The Chief was describing his own father’s addition to the bottle:
    “Every time he put the bottle to his mouth, he didn’t suck out of it, it sucked out of him”.

  24. Peter_B says:

    Great line Dips. The overlap between family dysfunction, mental illness and addiction was summarised by a mate of mine who goes to a couple of fellowships. He says:
    “You can take out the rum, but you’ve still got a fruitcake.”

  25. Gregor Lewis says:

    Well thought write-up from Crio.

    Great comments from ALL, Peter_B especially.

    A mirror for me to recognise, what I thought was a prism that let me see clearly, is in fact a mirage of an oasis I can see, on a horizon I will never reach.

    Reading the above and thinking about what I can see clearly now, I can say the main problems are two-fold. A society-wide lack of occupation, combined with the unthinking ruthlessness of market penetration.

    When I say lack of occupation, I don’t mean unemployment. I mean a lack of involvement. That’s why the social nature of gambling ads works so well. Even if one is part of a big social circle, the leisure industry’s grand collusion is getting us to see added vibrancy in their mirage.

    I’ve been part of ‘social days’ centred on gambling. I’ve organised more than a few myself. However, we always strived to make community the key, not the punt. Those infernally persistent ads would like us to switch those variables, so we see the punt as key to community.

    Prohibition is a mistake rooted in the uneducated blind faith of religion. Education is the key to growth and independence. Awareness of risk needs to be facilitated by replacing the pervasiveness of the awareness of your ‘betting options’.

    Gambling exists on the margins of society, hence the relocations of those clubs mentioned above, to suburbs full of people on the brink. Those nominally both responsible and educated enough to exercise that responsibility ought to eschew the cheap money on offer. They need to legislate to relegate gambling advertising to those same margins the industry actually inhabits.

    Allowing these vertices of blind greed in, so they can entice you out to their ‘habitat’ is the clearest sign of corporate decay that exists today. There is no redemption to be found in the punt. Just greedy folk determined to give you the opportunity to lose and the irresponsible enablers who are only too keen to blindly take their weregild, while insisting they are brave, courageous and forward-thinking enough, in cutting the rest of us off at the knees.

    Take it from me folks. Have a look at the prism again. What looks like disposable income today, will seem an inescapable anchor in your mind’s eye tomorrow. Don’t ‘play to live’.

    Live.
    And Learn.
    From the mistakes of people like me and in recognising your own. The reason the vultures thrive is because they’re betting you never will, or that by the time YOU DO, they will have snapped up 10; 100; 1000 more just like you.

    Live.
    And Learn.
    Find a way to get involved. In Work. In Life. In Authentic Play.

    grl

  26. E.regnans says:

    Brilliant thread all.
    Exremely laudable bravery and vulnerability shared, along with vexing scenarios.
    Thankfully I’ve not been addicted to anything proven harmful to my health nor relationships, but I recognise this search for meaning and applaud the invoking of children’s needs.

    I think it’s right to start by walking in the shoes of children.
    And always asking: Are we doing the best we can do?
    Tom, I agree that “Ultimately each individual has to take responsibility for their own health and well-being.” This is reinforced with the sacking of Josh Bootsma this week. And of course with our criminal justice system. Each individual should be responsible for their own behaviour.
    And yet, we should always consider the social and cultural and familial factors that influenced an individual to make a particular decision. (Again, this occurs in the criminal justice system.)

    So if given an idle moment, why, of all the things available in the world, of all the ways to find inclusivity/ connectivity, would I choose online betting? Because my Dad did it? Because it’s on TV and commentators talk about it? Because my peer group do it? Because I need a high?

    I remember hearing while studying Dip Ed that young people are most influenced by (1) their parents up until age ~10; (2) another adult in their circle from age 10-13; (3) by their peer group from age 13 onwards. Of course, experiences are laid down throughout a life – and they all count.

    Society probably agrees that we need to to make meaningful differences for people struggling under the weight of gambling addiction.
    So how best to help children, the next adults?

    I suspect that the digital natives, now teenagers, will and do spend many many hours alone with their e-devices, in bedrooms and in backyards around the world, trawling for who-knows-what. (“I’ve got so many friends on the internet that I never feel alone; lucky me”).

    In this light. problem online gambling as a social condition, with suburban identities and cultural influences, could easily explode.
    Very important discussion. But I think it’s people not reading here who may be most at risk. How best to help?
    Maybe by continuing the conversation.

  27. ned_wilson says:

    Very thought provoking stuff. I’ve a bit of a scientific bent to the way I like to think about problems and happen to be married to a neuroscientist. A few of her colleagues specialise in the process of addiction so I might try to get some more information on the site outlining the scientific theories around why gambling is a problem for some and not others.

    Of course even if you understand the biology you can then move onto the interplay between biological predisposition and socioeconomic risk factors – complex to say the least. And should these problems be thought of as a “fault” caused by biology, society or people exercising their good old fashioned right to make poor decisions? Whatever the cause I have a personal belief that the government’s actively profiting from a pastime that destroys the lives of some of its constituents is a very bad look.

    But then I enjoy being part of a punters club and a punt at spring carnival time. My head hurts…

  28. A few dot points to this excellent discussion.
    1. Essentially I agree with JTH
    2. Get pissed off with the “poor me” when something goes wrong (e.g. late withdrawal from AFL game). For every loser there’s another winner. You may just be lucky enough to have backed the other team.
    3. SPOILER ALERT; there’s a lot of luck involved in betting (good and bad) so if you’re not prepared to be shocked don’t get involved.
    4. Corporate bookies only really piss me off the way they ban any punter who wins. Their general philosophy of “there’s a sucker born every minute” is replicated across society in most businesses. Sad but true.
    5. Unfortunately PB, those guys who do their dough on the pokies. If they were banned, they’d find somewhere else to blow it. You can’t protect everyone from themselves.
    6. Great points from Tom Martin but ultimately business is business and relies on making money for their owners/investors. The AFL is no different. Another sad reality but that’s the real world.
    7. Can never understand why the banks that exhort everyone to spend big (I.e. beyond their means) on credit cards don’t suffer quite the same vilification as the corporate bookies!

  29. Way back in 2000 a good mate of mine , Royce Millar, edited a book with Tim Costello, called “Wanna Bet”, put out by Allen and Unwin. A good read on the history, and role of gambling in Australian society. A damn good read, but as more and more forms of gambling have appeared, and its influence, and power become even more insidious, maybe it’;s time for a new, updated edition.

    Glen!

  30. Graeme Rule says:

    What a healthy discussion, on a potentially toxic subject/behaviour for many, while incessantly marketed by corporations. Do I recall correctly a WA royal commission into the Neddies that found skullduggery in every third race across our wide brown land.

  31. Paddy O'Peace says:

    The articulation of Crio and scribes of the above threads are commendable.
    A little Gambling is fun too much is a scourge as are all addictions.
    I’m yet to meet a Punter/ Gambler who account for their betting/gambling.
    That is keep a book with columns headed date, amount bet, result, running tally ( profit/ loss).
    By using this simple business method punters/gamblers would see for themselves how profitable their activities are.

  32. Thanks Paddy (and others).
    Your comment is pretty much on the ball, Paddy, but there is a actually a Maltese gentleman who goes to every Melbourne city meeting, backs every fav and then spends several sessions each week at the Casino – he accounts for every cent.
    He just lost last year!

    People are, indeed, drawn to money schemes – listen to the ads on racing radio for all sorts of inducements.
    Bill Vlahos trekked a well worn path.

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