Okay, I’m switching it up. Inspired by the overwhelming disinterest outside of my nearest and dearest, I’m going to try writing shorter and more frequent blogs.
It dawned on me quite early that I was doing myself no favours, and making no friends, by ranting at the gambling industry as an insider. Essentially I’ve been doing a Jerry Maguire, with nary a Zellweger or Gooding Jr to make the whole thing watchable.
Despite that early revelation, it’s taken me 30,000+ words to change tack. You could take that as evidence that I’m a slow learner, but in my defense, I’ve been having a lovely time.
Since I started this blog, the unpronounceable chap that invented the concept of Flow has passed away – and the only time I currently seem to achieve that blissful level of zen-like focus is when I’m slagging off evil slot operators. Thanks Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, your legacy lives on.
And so to this blog’s pithy point. Besides Christmas, what is December actually for?
In October, you give up alcohol and learn about the amazing contribution of black people to human progress. In November, you grow a moustache to raise money for defeating prostate cancer. January is for cutting out the consumption of animal products.
To be clear, I don’t mean to be glib about any of those things. I’m a late admirer of sobriety and veganism, I don’t relish the prospect of pokey-bum time at the doctors, and I’ve always been keen on equality and celebrating great people. So surely we’re missing a trick with December.
Whilst contemplating the utter w#nkfest that was Safer Gambling Week, it occurred to me that consumers should take the issue out of the industry’s hands. We should not allow big betting firms to dictate the terms of responsible operating.
Therefore, as of Wednesday, I’ll be pioneering No-Betsember. A whole month where I’ll be abstaining from any form of wager.
That means watching the Ashes, UK Snooker Champs, PDC World Darts and Christmas football just for the joy of the sport. That might make for quite a nice change. I could even spend quality time with some loved ones.
I don’t expect it to catch on, but it’s a worthy idea. I can’t think of any other way that gambling firms will start to take their social harm seriously.
A small reduction in gambling in December could easily cost the industry £100M. For all the vast sums they are taking in, that is still an amount they would notice. And it would be cash that disproportionately stays in the pockets of the poor.
More important than the money is the message that it would send. Gambling companies need to know that we are not mindless cows to be aggressively milked. Most of us are not hooked on their high, and can take our entertainment budget elsewhere.
If they keep exploiting us then we need to walk away until they do better. I’m going to start by spending my first couple of bets on the new Ghostbusters movie.
I got to see Liverpool Vs Porto on Weds but didn’t get any bets down before reaching the stadium. By the time 50K people are in Anfield you’ve got no chance of connecting to the internet. I made a couple of props with a mate instead and walked away with a sweet £12 profit.