I've never really been interested in gambling. It seems to me that if gambling is such big business, with the bookies and casinos making the huge profits they are renowned for, only an idiot would think they can make consistent, profitable winnings from betting, right?
Well, actually, it's not that simple. I've known a couple of people with gambling problems. One person lost a job, a family, and indeed a life from gambling addiction coupled with alcohol addiction. The other person is wrestling with a gambling addiction problem, and working hard to beat it.
So - "gambling adiction"... Really? Is it actually a thing? Yes it is. If you've turned on the TV recently, you can't fail to notice that gambling is advertised all the time. From Ray Winstone and his big head, to hot casino chicks winking at you through your screen, you can't get away from it. Bet365, Skybet, Betfair, Paddy Power... the list goes on. With that in mind, I'd like to share with you a short list of Fun Facts About Gambling! Enjoy!
Bet all you like, Winstone will laugh his fee all the way to the bank. Will you?
Bet 365 was founded by Denise Coates, in 2000, and was run from a portakabin. Five years later, she sold the business to Coral for a cool £40 million, getting filthy rich on the back of gambling profits!
Meanwhile, the NHS reports that around 450,000 people in the Uk suffer from gambling addiction.
In September 2013, Skybet announced a surge in yearly profits up to £32 million.
Gambling addiction is commonly considered a hidden problem. A gambling addict does not display the obvious physical signs and symptoms of a drug or alcohol addict. Loved ones are often blindsided by the consequences of a gambling addiction, realizing the problem only after the person has spent huge sums of money and incurred significant debts.
C'mon... just try it. You can have the first one for free. All the cool kids are doing it...
Paddy Power is a lovely gambling business. They do things like take bets on which will be the first species to be wiped out by an oil spill. And they sometimes refuse to pay out on big odds winners.
Gamblingaddiction.org.uk states: The vast majority of people who could be classed as ‘problem gamblers’ do not seek help for their addiction. In fact, NHS statistics show that only around 5 percent of people seek help and only 1 percent get treatment for their gambling problem. If a gambling problem is left to develop, debts can spiral out of control and people can become withdrawn and depressed, which can affect their professional lives and relationships with other people.
Gambling is very addictive; the adrenaline rush associated with the possibility of pulling off a big win is often described by gamblers as an unbeatable feeling and it is easy to see how people get hooked on gambling, especially if they have the means to access gambling outlets 24 hours a day. Most people can control the desire to gamble and if they start losing, they will stop. However, for some, the possibility of a win is extremely enticing and they will carry on going until they win, regardless of how much money they lose along the way.
Yeah, but gambling's sexy, right? Except when you've blown everything, and no one wants to know you any more...
You'll never beat the gambling system. If you could, the bookies would go out of business rather than making their obscene profits. Even if you find a legal, straight way of getting a big win, the chances are the bookies will punish you for it - like Betfair, who charge big winners an extra 'premium' - just one of several controversies surrounding Betfair.
Meanwhile... It's all too easy to destroy your life through gambling addiction:
Fun Fact: Betting machines: How one man lost everything, £1,000 at a time.
Fun Fact: Online gambling: how I lost my wife, children and £750,000.
Fun Fact: WHAT DIGITAL GAMBLING IS DOING TO BRITAIN.
Fun Fact: Reports suggest that as many as one in five people with gambling problems attempt to take their own life.
Think about it.
Need help with gambling problems? Here are a few useful links.
Words © Darren R. Scothern 2015