Vice Squad
Monday, September 06, 2004
The British Gambling Boom

To complete today's gambling trifecta, here's a thoughtful article about the expansion of gambling in Scotland and the UK generally. The author, a gambler himself, is sympathetic to gambling, but he paints quite a portrait of the aftermath of both winning and losing sessions. He admits to ambivalence about the expansion of gambling:
Most visits, it’s a couple of hundred quid win or lose. Then it is about paying for my entertainment, with any winnings coming as a bonus. The problem is how easy it is for an enjoyable night to slide into a downward spiral of chasing losses and going on tilt.
The author also provides a little history on the regulation of gambling in the UK, and he claims that the introduction of the British National Lottery a decade ago "helped make gambling respectable." His description of sociability within casinos mimics my own limited observation in this arena:
All that whooping and shouting around a craps table that goes on in American films looks very lively and exciting, but I've never seen anything like it in a British casino. Win or lose, a night at my local casino can be a joyless experience. A group of strangers having a good or bad run at a blackjack or roulette table might congratulate or commiserate with one another, but it's difficult to imagine a more hollow form of social intercourse.

Going with friends is pointless because essentially casino gambling is not a team sport. The restaurant and bar areas in any casino give everything a veneer of sociability but in the end it's all about the money. After all, who is really socialising at 5am on a Wednesday?

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