Firstly, the one thing that everybody should realise is that nobody is ever forced to gamble. Gambling is not a physical addiction like smoking tobacco or using heroin or cocaine. Nobody is ever dragged out of bed at gunpoint, made to get dressed and frogmarched to a casino, club, hotel, bookmaker or TAB and forced to lay bets or to play any of the machines. Gambling is a completely voluntary activity and the important aspect to understand is that most gamblers are generally motivated by greed - they wager their money in the hope of making more without having to work for it. Gambling might be a mental addiction, aided by compulsive behavioural syndromes, but it's certainly not like a physical heroin addiction.
Gambling is not a disease, despite some stupid fools trying to excuse the problems of gamblers by inferring that people become punters because they have somehow been infected by the mythical gambling bug. Of course there are always psychologists, doctors, counsellors and other social workers who will blame casinos and other gambling venues for the woes of problem gamblers, but they are all wrong. Of course there are a small handful of people with mental disorders that lead them to loss of control, but the great majority of problem gamblers know exactly what they are doing, which is trying to make a fast buck. This is the entire principle behind most gambling - that the punter believes that the big win is always around the corner.
Imagine that you are tossing a coin and you get the following sequence: Heads, Heads, Tails, Tails, Tails, Tails, Tails, Tails, Tails, Tails, Tails, Tails. What's the chance that you will now get a heads? Many people believe that the odds change, so that the sequence must somehow even out, increasing the chance of a heads on the subsequent goes. Somehow, it just feels inevitable that a heads will come next.
But basic probability theory says that the events are statistically independent, meaning the odds are exactly the same on each flip. The chance of a heads is still 50% even if there were 500 or 5,000 tails all in a row. For the same reason, HTHTTH is just as likely as HHHHHH. Once again, however, many disagree and think that the mixed sequence is somehow more probable than the streak.
The Gambler's Fallacy has been of most interest to researchers studying games of chance. Surprisingly, education and intelligence do not protect people against the bias. Indeed, one study by Chinese and American researchers found that people with higher IQs are actually more susceptible to the Gambler's Fallacy than people who score less well on standardised tests. It could be that the more intelligent people overthink the patterns and believe that they are smart enough to predict what comes next.
Lottery companies understand human nature and they prey on people by leading them to believe that if a lottery has not been won after two or three draws, that the chances that it will be won are much higher at the third draw. That is nonsense, simply because the odds of somebody winning the lottery on the third draw are exactly the same as the odds in the first two draws. Gambling on anything where the odds are stacked against you is foolish, especially a lottery where the odds of winning are astronomical.
Some nations and states have passed self-exclusion laws, where gamblers can ask venues to prevent them entering and gambling. Yet in so many cases, chronic gamblers under self-exclusion have sneaked into those venues and continued to gamble, lost fortunes and then blamed the venues for not keeping them out. This behaviour is disgusting, because those gamblers have tried to make venues responsible for their own deliberate misbehaviour and flouting of their own self-exclusion orders. There are many cases of people suing gambling venues for their own stupidity. Here are a few examples of idiots who completely abandoned their own personal responsibility and tried to extort venues with preposterous demands and legal actions.
The above examples and their unsuccessful lawsuits clearly show how gamblers have used the legal system to try to extort money from gambling venues for their own insane and uncontrollable behaviour. What is really interesting is whether gamblers such as Fitzsimons, Kakavas, Foroughi and Calvert would have launched those lawsuits if they had won money from those establishments. I think that we all know the answer to that.
Self-exclusion is exactly what its title means - a person takes the voluntary step of asking a gambling business to bar him from gambling. That's fair enough, but this should only apply to the closing of gambling accounts and nothing more. Casinos are open to the general public and bookmakers are free to accept bets from any adult. They are not moral policemen and should never be forced into that role. If people under self-exclusion orders then violate them and sneak into casinos and gamble, or fool bookmakers into accepting their bets, then that has to be nobody else's responsibility but their own.
Of course there has never been a case of any gambler under a self-exclusion order who violated it, won money and then refunded it. Gamblers would never dream of handing back winnings, even if they came from violating self-exclusion orders or other surreptitious means of circumventing gambling rules and to this day, I have never heard of a gambler doing this.
The problem with this whole self-exclusion system is that it is completely biased against gambling providers and forces them to take responsibility for the voluntary actions and stupidity of others. The way self-exclusion orders should work is via a legislative framework that makes it a criminal offence for people under self-exclusion orders to violate them in any way and be jailed if they do. That puts the onus squarely back on the people who take out the orders on themselves to be legally responsible for keeping out of the places covered by those orders.
In the era of the Internet, many on-line betting organisations have sprung up to entice mugs into parting with their money. But these gambling organisations ensure that they will always win, as was revealed in a leaked internal document from Tabcorp called "Fixed Odds Liability" that proves beyond doubt how the betting industry is rigged against punters.
In the document, Tabcorp identifies two types of customers: "genuine customers" - code for losers - and "individual customers who are not commercially viable" - code for winners. Tabcorp's advice to outlets is to get rid of fixed-odds winners as customers by "liability management" and focus on servicing the losers. "By helping to identify the individual customers who are not commercially viable, you can prevent your whole venue from being managed," the document states. By "managed", Tabcorp means taken over and managed by head office. At present 100 of 2600 TABs are being managed.
This is how it works and it is all too simple. It is obvious that the online betting companies want to take bets only from losers. Fixed-odds punters who might consistently win, even those who bet in small amounts, will either have their bet sizes curtailed or their accounts frozen altogether. One such punter revealed that he had had his accounts closed or severely restricted by all of the five top online bookmakers in the Northern Territory: Luxbet, Sportingbet, Sportsbet, Centrebet and Bet365.
He stated that restrictions were as good as a closure, as the bookies no longer offered a fixed-price service. The point of difference to the TAB and its totalisator system is that bookies generally offer fixed prices to their clients. "The odds are locked in at the time of placing the bet, whereas the TAB totalisator system is a pool of money that is distributed by weight of money for a particular result. So, by not allowing you to bet fixed price with them, these bookies are effectively closing your account as well," he said.
Although they are very reluctant to publicise their business model of deliberately targeting losing gamblers, many of whom are addicts, it is logical to assume that online bookmakers would wish to avoid taking on customers who will regularly beat them. Bookmaking is a highly competitive business and is not a charity, but predatory targeting of losers, which is unfair, immoral and unethical. Before the advent of online bookies, on-course bookmakers were required to offer minimum fixed-price odds. One punter demanded that on-line wagering companies should be forced to carry a prominent disclaimer stating that winning gamblers are not welcome, but only losers should apply.
The TAB's "expanded risk management", as the Tabcorp document labels it, arose as successful punters who used to bet online with the TAB started going direct to the TAB agencies and betting cash after the TAB site began shutting them down. The policy of centralised management was introduced, once these punters started winning too much.
So the truth is that if an on-line punter starts winning consistently, he will either have his betting severely curtailed to the point of becoming irrelevant or be completely frozen out by the on-line bookmaker. But even though this is a despicable practice, it is hard to feel sorry for gamblers who risk their money purely out of greed, to try and literally get money for nothing. Of course with on-line betting, the usual system applies that the odds are against them anyway, but if they happen to be successful, they will be dumped by the on-line wagering company. In other words, they can't win, no matter what they do.
Every day on TV and radio, the viewing and listening public is inundated by advertisements from on-line bookmakers. They spend an inordinate amount of money on media advertising and this tells us one thing - that every cent of the many millions of dollars that they spend on advertising every month has to come from gamblers who have lost their money to those bookies. So you would have to wonder why gamblers who sit in front of their TVs or listen to their radios every day and are flooded with such saturation advertising don't stop and wonder how these bookies can plague TV, radio and newspapers with so much advertising, if anybody ever wins money by gambling with them.
The one thing that you never ever see in any of those on-line gambling advertisements are gamblers who have lost money. They never show people walking home from the races because they have wagered every cent they had and lost and they don't even have a bus fare. They never show people who have been prosecuted and jailed for stealing from their employers to feed their gambling habits. They never show punters who have committed suicide because they lost their homes, their families and their life savings to their gambling stupidity.
Those bookies never tell you the truth, that virtually nobody can beat them in the long run, no matter how many inducements they offer. The whole idea is to entice idiots to punt with them by showing them how they can WIN WIN WIN - but never how they always LOSE LOSE and LOSE some more. That is the problem with all those advertisements, that they give a false impression to gullible people who think that they are somebody special and that they can beat the bookies. Nothing could be further from the truth.
On-line bookmakers are turning over billions of dollars annually, meaning that mug punters are obviously losing those billions every year with them. This just proves how many fools there are and why every second TV commercial seems to be advertising an on-line bookmaker. People should look at the massive amount of money spent by on-line bookies on advertising and understand that every cent of it has been lost by punters and there is a big fat margin on those losses that on-line bookies get to keep. So just don't be suckered into betting, because you can NEVER EVER win. You won't see a casino go broke and you won't see an on-line bookie go broke either. Gambling is ALWAYS rigged.
In 2014, Australian federal and state governments announced a crackdown on what they call illegal on-line gambling by punters laying bets with off-shore betting companies. There are already Australian-headquartered organisations that are operating in this way by basing their betting operations in unregulated international jurisdictions, including in the Pacific and Asia regions. There are also significant numbers of offshore operators targeting Australian racing and sport and Australian governments want to impose a regulatory regime to address the revenue risks that they pose. Recommendations made include requiring local internet service providers to block access to foreign bookmakers.
The governments say that off-shore betting is illegal, but this is a blatant lie. These off-shore bookmakers are outside of Australian jurisdiction and their operations are obviously legal in the nations from which they operate. They are quite free to target Australian punters and the government cannot do a thing about it. Not only that, it is the Australian punters who initiate the on-line gambling and on-line bookmakers are quite free to accept their bets. As for governments forcing Australian ISPs to block access to foreign bookmakers, that is laughable and typical of.those idiots who have tried for so many years to block various websites, such as those offering pornography, with absolutely no success whatsoever.
Anybody who wishes to lay bets with off-shore bookmakers can easily bypass any restrictions and ISP blocking by using an anonymising browser or a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and neither the government or the ISP will be the wiser as to what traffic passes through such a portal. There are many ways for punters to circumvent any blocking and in any case, they should be free to lay bets with whoever they choose, if they are so stupid as to gamble. It is only the loss of revenue from taxing the gambling industry that is driving governments to try and stop off-shore gambling by Australians and it is doomed to failure.
Casinos never go broke and that should be an indicator of the futility of gambling. All the games at casinos are skewed in a way that in the long term, the casino will always win. Sure, there are some big winners, but casinos love them and will publicise their massive wins, because this brings the suckers in even more. But in the long term, even if a casino pays out 95% of its takings in winnings, it still keeps 5%. so over time, players will eventually lose, unless they have the self-discipline to walk out when they do win more than they have bet. However, with most small punters, this does not happen and they keep playing until they go broke, because they live in hope that the next bet will produce the big win - but this seldom happens.
Poker machines are for idiots. A punter will keep feeding money into a poker machine, hoping to get the big jackpot, but knowing that the odds of actually getting it are astronomical. Most modern electronic poker machines have 5 reels with 52 symbols each. The major jackpot symbol generally only appears once on each reel. So the odds of getting all 5 of those jackpot symbols to line up is around 2.6 million to 1. In other words, almost impossible.
This warning about the impossibly high odds of winning the major jackpot is even printed on each poker machine in NSW. The highest poker machine payout in NSW is $10,000 and the minimum payout in the long term is 85%. So for every $100 that punters put into poker machines, they will lose about $15 on average to the house. Even an imbecile should see that playing these devices is a mug's game. But people will sit in front of these machines for hours at a time in the hope of winning a fortune - but never do.
The obvious problem with poker machines is that of diminishing returns. For instance, if a player is gambling $1 per spin for a maximum prize of $10,000, on the first dollar coin, he is really playing for 10,000 to 1 odds, despite the fact that the real odds of winning the major jackpot are around 2.6 million to 1. But if he doesn't immediately win the jackpot, on the second dollar, he has doubled his stake to win the same prize. After $10 without winning the jackpot, he has laid out ten times his original stake for the same prize that has not increased.
It is not uncommon to see a player spending $100 or more in the one machine, but if he does that and still has not won a jackpot, his odds have reduced substantially, but the chance of winning the major jackpot still remain at around 2.6 million to 1. And as the player continues, he will lose around 15% of his stake, so eventually he will lose all his money unless he really strikes it lucky and wins his money back with a minor jackpot and that is also highly unlikely. So playing the poker machines is an exercise in futility and the only winner is the venue that has those machines installed and the government that rakes off enormous taxes from them.
In NSW, the government makes noises about the dangers of gambling, especially on poker machines, yet refuses to pass laws to stop hotel and club managements preventing staff dealing with problem gamblers. For instance in 2020, poker machine room attendants stated on the record that they were not allowed to intervene when they saw problem gambling. They said that they had seen patrons wet themselves or use adult nappies while playing the machines, rather than go to the toilet and lose the machines to other players.
One attendant said, "There's one woman who comes into the club and sits on one machine all day. She will have a couple of drinks and she won't give up the machine. I've seen her wee herself all over the chair instead of giving up that machine and going to the toilet."
The attendant stated that when this happens, she puts on some gloves, grabs some wipes and a mop and bucket and cleans up the urine. One thing she will not do is ask the patron to leave, or whether she might want to seek help. "No-one at work will ever approach anyone about problem gambling. We are told not to," she said. "If someone who was just drinking pissed themselves, it would be different. They would be asked to leave. Because they are gambling, well, we are told to keep them happy, to do anything we can to make them stay."
Gambling venues love poker machines. They require very little maintenance, they just need some electricity to operate and there are more than enough stupid idiots out there to play them, like these women who prefer to piss their pants, rather than take a toilet break from playing those pokies. Of course state governments love the revenue from the taxes and they don't care how many lives are destroyed by those devices and the reports from poker machine room attendants just prove how insidious the whole poker machine scam really is.
There are many legendary punters who have made a comfortable living from gambling on horses. They are not the average fools who go to the track or TAB and lay relatively small bets and invariably lose. Professional horse punters might sit at home and study form guides, weather patterns and best of all, get insider tips from jockeys and trainers and then possibly only lay one huge bet on one horse in a week - but in many cases, that horse will win, because the professional punter has done the one thing that gives him an advantage - he has done his homework and effectively reduced the odds of him losing by applying hard knowledge and treating his activity as a hard-nosed business.
However, the typical mug punter will glance at the form guide, read somebody's suggestions or listen to a tip from another mug punter and then go to the track and lay bets with a course bookmaker, place bets at the TAB or with an on-line bookie. The knowledge that a bookmaker has regarding the odds of a horse winning determines what he offers the punter, but at least the odds remain the same on a particular bet, even if the odds on the horse that is bet on become much shorter.
The TAB is a different story and is a real mug's game. When a punter places a bet with the TAB, the odds are calculated on the total number of bets placed and the amount. Therefore, the punter will always be on a losing streak, as the amount of money he bets remains the same, but the return can vastly diminish if more punters bet on the same horse. No really savvy punter will waste his time betting with the TAB.
The odds of winning a lottery are simply staggering. The rakeoffs to lottery operators and the government are massive, which means that even if a person bought every ticket in a lottery and won every prize, he would still lose a massive amount of money. The higher the odds in a lottery, the less chance of winning a prize. Sure, the outlay is very small compared to the top prize, but the chances of winning that top prize are infinitesimal. People buy lottery tickets for one reason only - greed. They dream of making a fortune without having to work for it and that's all that lotteries are about.
Lotteries are certainly not a good way of gambling, because there is no way to predict an outcome. At least with blackjack, a good player gets to choose the cards that he flips. A good horse-racing punter gets to study the various factors such as the track conditions, the previous record of the horse and the current odds and can make a type of informed decision on which horse to bet. But like poker machines, lotteries don't provide any of that because the numbers are randomly selected by machines and despite what some people think, there is absolutely no pattern of previously selected numbers that can give any insight as to which numbers will be selected the next time. The only thing about lotteries is that they can be played occasionally for fun, but there should never be any expectation of winning.
There is literally only one form of gambling where a punter has an even chance and that is on the toss of a coin. All other forms of institutionalised gambling, such as casinos, poker machines, Keno, horse-racing and lotteries are skewed away from the player. Gambling is fine if punters play within their means and understand that the odds of them winning in the long term is zero. A couple of dollars in a poker machine doesn't hurt and neither does buying the occasional lottery ticket. But if doing this becomes an obsession, then lives are easily destroyed.
But one always has to keep in mind that gambling problems are not the fault of casinos, bookmakers and other gambling facilities. Nobody is forced to gamble. Those who gamble do so because of greed or desperation - the prospect of making money without working for it. But if people are stupid enough to lose their wages every week on poker machines, horse-racing or any other form of gambling, then it's nobody else's fault except their own.
Every person is totally responsible for his actions and cannot blame other factors, such as temptation. Everybody has the power to say "No". Banning various forms of gambling or trying to mitigate losses never works, because people who want to gamble will always find a way. These people are very rightly called mug punters and are invariably poor or broke.