Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Enjoy Life Responsibly

The subject of the morality of betting has recently been raised by John the Gambler with comments on his own and on Bert Black’s blog.

He wrote:
“Back to the “gambling” front, I am predicting a “paradigm shift” in attitudes to gambling, particularly gambling on the internet. At the moment it is possible to lose an absolute fortune on the internet 24/7/365. I have recent experience of this destroying one friend’s life, and having a very serious impact on another friend’s life, not to mention both families and a wide circle of friends. I feel slightly culpable as I introduced him to Betfair. I thought he was a social gambler who liked the odd fiver on the gee-gees. 18 months later I find out he had discovered Betfair Casino where he had been wagering vast sums, which he had allegedly stolen form my other friend’s company. Consequently both parties are now seriously in debt.”

“For every winner there is a loser. It has definitely changed my attitude to gambling, and sometimes I can be “ahead of the curve” on these things. I don’t believe the story above is a one-off, and as these stories emerge over the months to come, I predict a change in people’s attitudes, and some sort of government legislation.”

Bert Black’s measured response was quite correctly that “this is not a new problem or necessarily a growing one in the UK. It is a very important issue, but regulation already exists and I’d be surprised if much were to change in the short term.”

In my opinion, it is hardly the responsibility of the government to nanny us all and put rules in place to the detriment of the majority, just because a minority can’t control themselves. Let’s be honest, anyone who thinks they can win long-term by playing in an on-line casino has got some serious problems. 

Fair enough, we all make mistakes, but when the losses begin to mount, is it too much to expect that an individual should be responsible enough to stop their activity themselves? Learning from your mistakes seems to me to be an essential part of life. Touch a hot stove once, and you tend not to do it again.

The idea that the government should pass legislation that may benefit a few, but to the detriment of many, seems extreme. Prohibition didn’t work, and in this Internet age, if people want to bet, they will. What kind of legislation would help in this situation anyway? While it is sad that a minority of people can’t enjoy alcohol responsibly, or can’t enjoy an occasional flutter, the problem lies with those individuals. Such people typically have problems coping in other areas of life too. They are the ones that need help.

We should all be responsible for our own actions, whether it relates to diet, exercise, financial investments or whatever, and passing legislation to restrict the rights of the majority to enjoy life responsibly is not the answer.


Scott Ferguson said...

spot on. Australia has become a nanny state with all the gambling regulations (no betting in-play online, all the paperwork you need for the Betfair Aus wallet etc). Problem gamblers will always find a way to get around responsible gambling restrictions, just as determined criminals will always find ways to break the law. There's only so much the govt is responsible for. People need to stop blaming everyone else for their problems and take responsbility for their own actions.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I was neccesarily arguing for legislation.

Information is more important. Be aware of the perils.

But I do think being able to put 10K on the toss of a coin on the internet is a slight concern.


Cassini said...

John - I would suggest that if someone wants to put 10k on a coin toss, that is a decision for them to make after weighing up the odds and determining whether or not they can afford to lose. I think Bill Gates putting 10k on a coin toss and a pensioner to whom 10k represents his last savings are clearly quite different scenarios. Only the individual can (or should) make that decision.

Anonymous said...

I think if if Bill Gates put 10K on a coin toss that would be immoral.

People arouund the world are starving or freezing. Even in this coutry we have pensioners who are cold as we speak. If he has 10K spare he should give it to someone who needs it. Just my opinion.

HNY. :-).


Dariusz said...

Hi there, I suppose you must be pissed off with Betfair, their charges and customer service and the general lack of competition in betting exchanges. I developed a website: www.betdaqrevolution.com we have a couple of members already even though the site is on for a couple of hours.

Check it out and please do sign in. It would be awesome if you could write something about the website on your blog and try to motivate people to sign in and take part in our experiment. Tell it to people you know as well. I know the website will not do a miracle but anyway it will raise awareness of Betdaq and that something is happening there. Plus it will show to Betfair that there is some resistance and this may make them think twice before any new scams.

You can leave your blog name in the Name section of the “create an account” and I will post a link to your blog next to your name on the list. If you have any comments, suggestions, want to contribute an article please write to: contact@betdaqrevolution.com

Cassini said...

HNY to you too John. FWIW I believe Bill Gates does already give a great deal of his immense fortune to various charities operating in the third world :) UK pensioners probably aren't included in his beneficiaries though.