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Page 23: Addictions: Gambling.

Please read on.

Feeling Lucky

Money Surgery does not recommend gambling. We would prefer more encouragement from the government given to "investment" rather than the lottery and the development of the bookmakers shop. Anyone who bets even a pound here and there on the lottery or on the Derby is not demonstrating the attitude necessary to beat debt and leave debt behind. We are back to priorities again. Carry on gambling and you will lose your house. You will lose it all. Wanna bet? No thanks. To us at the Surgery, we believe that gambling when in debt is the ultimate folly. Nobody is perfect, especially the Money Surgery Doctors. We have all taken silly chances, it's part of life's fun. But let's get focussed. Let's get wise. Let's fight back.

We recommend Premium Bonds to anyone who likes gambling because you still get your stake money back, although it still only pays an average return of about 2%. Philosophically, every purchase we make, every investment, is a gamble. Anything we do with money is a gamble. However with the following, the odds are stacked against you every time:

    • The National Lottery
    • Scratchcards
    • Bingo
    • Horse Racing, Greyhounds and anything in a Licensed Betting Office
    • Fruit Machines
    • Raffles
    • Casinos, although the house takes a very small percentage only

For those of you who would like help with gambling addictions, please have a look at our Contacts page. Good Luck.

Please read on.

Taking the Cera-Mick

(20:00 Wednesday 18th May 2005 news story)

I have not seen anyone mention this anywhere, maybe it's just me, but have you noticed how the "shop window" of every amusement arcade in every town in Britain has awful china ornaments?

These ceramic "prizes" are the most tragic, kitsch, objets d'art in the world. If Brian Sewell was dead he'd be spinning in his earthenware grave. And each piece is assembled so carefully, like the display is a sort of shrine, each miniature china spaniel or victorian couple or old lady figurine on fake velvet fabric at varying levels and spot-lit with such drama.

Lets look at the evidence:
Bad Porcelain. Not Good China.

The big question is: Why?
Does every gambler secretly harbour a desire to blow his winnings on china crap? Sh** a brick, these things must put off the average punter. Anything would be better. How about a picture of a pretty young lady's head with a speech-bubble saying "You can't stop, can you?", or "This could be your lucky night, sexy". That'll draw the lads in. Perhaps if the lady in the picture was eating chocolate seductively, then she'd appeal to both sexes. Anything but pottery. No-one else uses porcelain in their shop windows at all, let alone all the time, apart from some branches of H Samuel, so just stop it. Now.

Still, hark at me suggesting, free of charge, how the gambling industry can get more custom: The less we gamble, the better, See here. Carry on using the ornaments, me old china, at least it gives me some amusement.

Only One Thing You Can Bet On.

(Tuesday 8th February 2005 news story)

Our Surgeons have been in action this evening, dissecting some weekend horse racing betting odds. They knew what the test results would be, but they had to be certain. They operated on three races, adding up the odds and made a certain diagnosis. They concluded that gambling will lose you money.
Surprise, surprise

If a horse has odds of 3-to-1, it has a 1 in 4 chance of winning. Theoretically all odds should add up to exactly 1. Three horses each with an equal chance of winning should be priced at 2-to-1 (1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3). Two horses, equally matched would each be 1-to-1, or evens. The Surgeons went through each race, adding-up the odds and got these results:

Race 1 1.28
Race 2 1.08
Race 3 1.18

The collective odds added-up to more than 1. That's a bit like saying, "We've got ten horses in this race, all at 3-to-1."
Conclusion: The bookies always win. End of story.
Noticeably, the odds aren't overwhelmingly stacked in favour of the bookie. Averaging at 1.18, they are tantalisingly close to making him no profit. It's not even very noticable unless you dissect the figures like our Surgeons did.
I guess that's the tease: Mr Bookmaker could be out-foxed.
All gambling is like this. The odds are stacked against you in every form gambling takes. Only one thing you can safely bet on: Bookies will always win in the long run.

When in debt, cut out... Ayr, Lingfield, Market Rasen, Leopardstown, Kempton...
Like a Surgeon.

Casinos to Overtake The Lottery

(Saturday 17th August 2002 news story)

Our fascination with the national lottery might be fading. "It could be you" has been transformed in the public's collective imagination to "It probably will never be me". The Government is, at the same time, encouraging the growth of casinos. A Government report found that gambling regulations were ripe for reform. It discovered that nearly three-quarters of UK adults take part in some form of gambling, the legal framework for gambling is one of grudging toleration, taking no account of internet or interactive betting and that while many feel gambling is a pleasure, the report admitted that for a few it causes deep distress.

There are 126 casinos in the UK and the easing of restrictions could see twice as many result. Leisure Parcs has applied to develop in Blackpool a 1,000-bed hotel with 100,000 square feet of space for machines offering big payouts, hoping to attract the 400,000 Britons who travel to Las Vegas each year. Resort-style casinos like those in Blackpool might be the solution to the decline of traditional British resorts but we could instead see "gaming sheds" spring up on the edge of urban areas, undermining such plans, if there is too much easing of restrictions. Meanwhile, more may desert the Lottery. "These games have a finite life-cycle - we eventually tire of them," Professor Ian Walker of Warwick University notes.

At the Surgery, we put Gambling in the file marked "Toxic Substances". Handle with care. They could seriously damage the health of your finances. Our thoughts are here.

Betting Bonanza boosts Bookies.

(Wednesday 3rd October news story)

Gambling tax will be scrapped on Saturday in time for England's vital World Cup football match against Greece. This should set the tills ringing at turf accountant's throughout Britain and marks another step in the relaxation of restrictions on gambling. A spokesman for Ladbrokes said that the binning of betting duty will ensure that the industry is set for a golden age. Ironically, the tax was introduced before the World Cup of 1966.

When someone is struggling to be rid of debt, going without the luxuries and some necessities of life to keep every penny, the notion that some cash can be found to put on a horse or a lottery ticket is perverse. Then again, if they've got no debts and fancy a flutter, there is very little argument for trying to stop them. It's their money after all, not borrowed from a bank.

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