The Gambling Industry

Thread inspired by seeing this article which I found repulsive

Wasn’t sure whether to put here or in SSP, but as it’s potentially a ‘debate’ topic this is probably the better place?

I developed a pretty strong anti-gambling stance working as a debt advisor, which has over time become a very strong, but admittedly not very well informed, stance. I know the industry itself is to blame, but I also find it hard not to judge people who boast about winnings as, sure, they might be fine, but they’re making the money at the expense of people with addictions, people who are in desperate circumstances, and people who are vulnerable to suggestion. I think there’s often an attitude of ‘I’m smart enough to not be played by the industry, if you’re not then that’s your problem’ including from people who are normally more socially minded than that.

I don’t understand gambling as a leisure activity though, which means I’m always going to see the bad stuff outweighing any enjoyment it may bring to some. But where is the line? National Lottery? Copper slots at seaside? Is insurance gambling? So I guess it’s not entirely black and white.

I’d be really interested to hear any general views or personal experiences relating to the gambling industry (whether a specific part of it or in general).

Please be respectful of any personal experiences etc shared :slightly_smiling_face:

I know a couple of friends who say there’s a certain type of gambling online in US sports like golf I think where you can just make money in a steady way if you just keep your head or something.

Definitely feels to me that gambling is much like alcohol except if the majority of drinkers were alcoholics but we still listened to the guys who could just go out for a couple of pints and decided there was no problem.

Of course there are people who can enjoy it and not lose out and there are people who can do it and turn profits but like you say, it’s not a victimless activity really. My mate used to earn himself $1000 USD a year doing online poker when he was teaching English as a foreign language in China, because he always played fairly low stakes boards and worked at it a lot (and was a brilliant statistician) which seemed impressive at the time. But obviously that means there were a bunch of people there who were losing. Almost certainly not loads but we don’t really know do we?

But (as I guess you acknowledge in your next paragraph) if everybody was just gambling occasionally and ‘sensibly’, there would hardly be any money on offer. So unlike alcohol, it doesn’t work in moderation.

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Yeah, all part of the cognitive dissonance around it I suppose.

Obviously the results are very different. No one is suddenly surprisingly getting rich from alcohol, yet for some people I absolutely assume they are occasionally hitting it big even though they’re not a ‘sensible’ gambler and maybe that changes their life around?

I have no knowledge of how gambling addiction works so possibly you can change it to something else if you suddenly have the money to change your life, for example?

It’s telling that the BGC’s choice of the public face of the gambling industry, Michael Dugher, is a thin-skinned, abusive, nasty piece of work, who mocks recovering gambling addicts and those who seek to help problem gamblers.

It’s just a grubby industry all round.

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I think it’s an absolutely disgusting, predatory industry, and I’m appalled at how normalised sports betting is.


Its so deeply entrenched in football now it’s scary. I believe half of the PL teams have a shirt betting sponsor and nearly all I think have a betting partner. Betting adverts are everywhere you look, even if you choose a ‘respectable’ podcast to listen to.

That volume of sponsorship makes it an all-pervasive presence in football and normalises things like the ‘Acca culture’ but it also makes it nigh-on impossible for football to have a reckoning moment about its gambling problem as all the media is paid for by betting adverts.

The internet has also exacerbated this problem massively. Its so so so easy to download an app and get set up for betting online in minutes. You don’t have to leave the sofa. You don’t have to go into a dodgy looking betting shop. You don’t have to hand over any real cash from your wallet across the counter. It doesn’t feel like real money being spent.

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Denise Coates must be one of the worst people living today based on. That one article. 500 million of stolen money directly in her pocket

I feel like at some point the gambling industry must be in for the same kind of reckoning that tobacco and cigarette advertising ran into, but right now the sheer amount of advertising for it is growing at a horrendous rate.

Seems like they’ve really ramped up their advertising in prime time tv slots over the past year. Targeting people whilst they’re stuck at home and bored, or struggling for money and looking for a break of some kind. Really unpleasant tactics.


It’s basically the same as all capitalism. The more money you have the easier it is to win.

For example you’ve got peak federer playing me at tennis he’s a 1/10,000 on and I’m 9500/1 to win. There’s a tiny chance he might get injured so lots
of people will put small amounts on me for a big win. Jeff bezos puts 1,000,000 on federer and gets £100 winnings to add to his vast fortune.

If you’ve got enough money or influence you can manipulate the betting market into favourable terms for you

Stocks and shares are exactly the same.

Job market is pretty similar.

I had a really long answer written here but I’m not sure where I was going with it.

I’ve seen some really bad cases when I worked in betting shops but I think, often, those people have been let down by governments/ companies who don’t really want gambling to be regulated properly and safely. The process to self-ban was slow and involved forms and photos. You could only self-ban from one chain and specific shops at a time.

There are social/ cultural issues with the way we view traits like risk-taking or prosperity or cleverness which create a halo around people who are ‘good’ at gambling. They aren’t allowed to advertise that gambling makes you cool or rich but if you’re lonely and vulnerable, it’s definitely cooler to do that than be at home alone.

The online industry seems more dangerous to me because it’s much more secretive and accessible.

I’m definitely on of the people who think they’re fine - very small, reasonably regular wagers that I don’t expect to win but am always happy if they do. I know the house always wins so I am happy if I beat the house a few times a year.


I know someone who makes a lot of money playing the gambling system. It sounds pretty complicated but it’s something to do with betting with multiple bookies across multiple accounts on all potential outcomes of an event, involving very complex algorithims and so on. He justifies it in the sense that he’s reducing the profits of these evil companies but as you say, it’s part of a very harmful industry.

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Proper citation needed stuff this. By which I mean is he just telling himself that or is his particular type of betting really that?!

I mean he does earn a 5 figure salary from doing it, so yeah I think it is if you accept the framing of it

I’m vaguely aware of someone who does a similar thing. Apparently he earns about £10k a year from it but he has to spend 3 hours a night doing it…

yeah it’s a full time job for this guy

arbitraging is a way of making some money but the bookies tend to have good systems in place to try to avoid this.

Yeah, one of my mates used to do it, but the bookies kept shutting down his accounts.

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In physical shops, they’ll have customers tracked by pseudonyms and restricted on stakes/ prices if they’re too profitable.

There’ll often be a list of events/ prices they’re concerned about each morning, followed by changes to those prices after they’ve seen how the money moves.

Eight Premier League teams (40%) have a gambling company on the front of their shirts. A further two clubs (10%) have a gambling company as their sleeve sponsor.

None of the traditional top six has a betting or gambling logo on their shirtfronts (or sleeve). Gambling companies are likely willing to pay more than most non-gambling companies to partner ‘smaller’ clubs, while ‘big’ clubs have more options to choose from.

All clubs partner with gambling companies. Some of them even have deals with multiple firms.

The all-party parliamentary group on gambling harm has recommended that banning gambling logos on sportswear would be a welcome step, but given the risks presented by gambling a complete ban on gambling advertising is long overdue.

The government has not taken any steps to ban gambling advertising in sport yet.

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