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Sunday 19 April 2020

The Perception of the Gamble

I enjoy many and varied things in life. 

I guess we all have things we find pleasurable even though they may seem quite contradictory to the perception others hold of us. For example, I like art and crafts but would you consider a gambler having a penchant for watercolour painting?

Gambling can give a negative impression. The classic stereotype. Someone who is a little chipped around the edges.

Serving the Queen, she may be handed a cup of earl grey tea from fine bone china. While on a cold winter's day at Market Rasen a punter is pushed a beaker made of polystyrene. A cheap supermarket-branded teabag bobs up and down like a stranded whale. A dop of milk and two spoonfuls of sugar plonked in the deep end, turning the sugar in the dish a yucky brown because one hundred people have bad manners. 

Everything is about perception. 

Ask those with plenty of cash who hire their spin doctors. 

People believe what they are told, especially if it is said in a certain way. 

I remember reading about a high-flying CEO. To justify his position, authority and wage, someone, somewhere, added a touch of spin. They had some mumbo-jumbo tagline on his website and all media output that he had ''the fastest brain in the business''. As if this separated him from the average man, women or beast who worked for the corporation. 

People would talk to each other and say: ''He's got the fastest brain in the business''. It became some kind of mantra. 

There wasn't a grain of truth in this statement. It didn't even mean anything. It was just something that people had been told. 

In ways, gambling is the same. 

People are told what to believe. Whether it is fake news, propaganda, or some random person on Twitter with an axe to grind. 

What is the truth of anything?

With Coronavirus we have seen a slew of news. Where do facts start and opinions end? It doesn't seem to matter when social media gives a platform to tell the world your ''facts'' or ''loaded opinions'' because you are at the mercy of what is shared the most. It's usually rested on some emotional claptrap. It doesn't make sense but seemingly becomes a truth by the volume of engagement.

I wouldn't want to be part of some communist ideology where there is ''one tarnished voice of truth''. However, we are all being bludgeoned by an avalanche of words that often have no basis other than to manipulate with some hidden agenda. 

In many ways, bookmakers are spinning a similar truth. The thought that gambling is fun, that you can open an account and just take their money and this will continue as if in some kind of angelic state akin to reading a bedtime story to a child. 

''I'll keep reading the story as long as you believe what I say.''

Those who win will see the truth. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory turned into some adult film with an unsavory twist. 

Account closed. No reason was given.

We no longer wish to pay for your ration of spin. 

That will be saved for the latest mug punter. If you keep losing we will treat you like a king. You'll be given the greatest service, free bets, even invited to the racecourse if he/she is a high-rolling loser (spin: you're a winner in our eyes). 

It is a sad fact that today's bookmakers merge into a business that looks nothing like the tradition of older generations. Gambling has morphed into something which takes advantage of the vulnerable. It's akin to a loan shark who gave you no money to start with but keeps coming back for more.  

The perception of the truth is something we all need to consider carefully because whether dealing with the government, bookmakers, family or foe it's often a manipulation that's harsher than we would like to believe.

Author Jason Coote

1 comment:

thomas said...

a good read. and maybe a sad indictment on todays digital platform we live in