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Amadeus

Hello from Macau

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Give me a Govt that is truly democratic and fair in policy and principle and I will have little to be negative about.

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You staying over for the Stones, Amadeus?

Nope. Never liked them. Pensioners with guitars.

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Wait a sec, so the only pro-government thread in a while is one applauding the government securing an immoral sector of the economy? Great. I don't get it. I understand to an extent how blinkered and biased Manx residents can be when looking at the benefits to the Island of a booming economy without regarding to the costs, especially on the Isle of Man which depends on the finance sector, but e-gaming? Are we that desperate for a lifeline that we completely ignore just what a dirty business it is?

 

My understanding, and please correct me if I am wrong, is that much or all of this e-gaming is gambling and involves these companies actively promoting their games and trying to get people hooked on gambling. At the very least, there ought to be more an attitude of possibly picking the lesser of two evils (of which one is economic poverty).

 

Maybe it is just popular hypocrisy. A common thing. But it all seems all the more ridiculous when you consider how ridiculous people get over drug dealing but would at the same time think it is fine having Pokerstars or Microgaming operating from their nation.

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LDV, I appreciate you know little about the industry and how it has changed in the last decade. Yes, it's still gambling and always will be, but regulations have tightened a lot over the years. I've posted to that effect before.

 

When I started in the industry, Responsible Gaming was a term that was mostly ignored. Nobody cared much about it. Things have evolved a lot since. IoM gambling commission is considered as very strict and on the ball. These days, operators are supposed to not only help punters when they ask for help (close account, self exclusion, etc) but are also required to actively look out for potential problem gambling behaviour. And that's not just lip service. If you hold an IOM license, then your service will be tested all the time. They will try and poke holes in your systems, pretend to be players and catch you out, etc... That's a good thing.

 

So what about gambling itself? While you consider it an evil vice with your European mindset, you have to understand that attitudes are different in Asia. Brits are known to go drinking a lot and waste their money that way. Many Chinese people like to go gambling. I'm staying at the Venetian right now. Largest casino in the world by floor space. Place is huge, and 98% Chinese players. You're not gonna stop them from playing but you can provide a safe place for them to do so. You have to realise that they simply like it. Surely you as anarchist should give people the freedom to do what they want?

 

Of course do some people get addicted. Gambling has recently been reclassified I think in terms of addiction definition. Now more seen in the same light as alcohol. At least if you play with an IoM registered online bookmaker, there is some working protection in place. Once you're banned, you're banned. Player protection is more than just a buzz term.

 

Now, if you want the real gamblers, the real Mafia type criminals who care nothing about regulations and will happily ruin lives for a quick buck, then look towards banks and the finance industry. They are the real danger to society.

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The fundamental issue for me is whether these companies advertise their gambling facilities to the public. Do they still do this? And aren't these companies out there to portray their company and games as squeeky clean? It isn't difficult to see through the reasons for offering so much sponsorship money to charities and local community groups. They want business! And that business is customers playing around with their money.

 

This is the immorality of it.

 

The majority of gamblers are not rich people but are working class folks who have the least when it comes to assets and capital. Clever marketing and advertising is used to attract people to gamble. And gambling is about taking a risk with your earnings from your wage packet. Exploiting people to make money is bad, but to do it by encouraging people to gamble with their finances and engage in a highly addictive mental process is simply disgusting. No better than finance sector companies trying to exploit people through advertising to make dodgy financial decisions.

 

It doesn't matter if there is regulation or practices to make sure people don't get too addicted. Having these interventions only affirms the addictive potential of the games. People are very prone to getting addicted to gambling and addiction isn't determined by how bad the problem is. People can and do go elsewhere once they have started getting a taste for gambling.

 

Now, I can't say much about gambling facilities where there is no advertising. In such cases, all that can be said it is unfortunate and sad that people do it if done regularly when they have little, just as I feel with people addictive to drugs. That's there decision. But it is a different situation where popular advertising is concerned. Then it all becomes a highly immoral activity. No different than someone pushing drugs onto people (though maybe some oversight, as you say, so they won't completely fuck up their life online).

Edited by La_Dolce_Vita
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Playing online with an IOM registered operator is probably the safest way to gamble if you feel the need to.

 

Like I said, it's a cultural thing. I bet you a tenner you have no idea how big gambling is in Asia. Macau alone now pulls in three times what Las Vegas does. Advertising depends on market. An IOM license whitelists operators, meaning you can advertise on UK TV for example. We don't but many others do. I fail to see how this is immoral. Nobody is selling anything as whiter than white or harmless. I've seen a lot of ad watchdog rulings in recent times were uk operators got into trouble about just that. Again, controls are in place. Nobody pretends this is harmless.

 

You should also keep in mind that, at least with sports betting, you have a good chance of winning good money if you do your homework. A lot of people make a living out of it, thanks to many operators and things like betfair to play with. Coincidentally, betfair's head of Asia is in stage right now. He's the one on the right. post-1086-0-61199100-1394076559_thumb.jpg

 

Anyway, online gambling is ok in my book. It's well regulated (at least in IOM, where a lot of the biggest operators are now registered), it is fair and you can make money if you're smart enough. It also employs a lot of people.

 

Now, there are types of gambling I disagree with, and those are FOBTs and fruit machines in Pubs, but we don't operate those. They need reigning in, though.

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Let's not be silly about it. Gambling is as addictive as many class A drugs, and can be just as devastating to the user, their family, and society. The majority of gamblers are on low incomes. Very few people make any money out of it; if they did the gaming industry wouldn't be as vast and lucrative as it is. By eating away at the user's income, gambling reduces their standard of living, and severely inhibits their quality of life by occupying large amounts of their leisure time.

 

I have worked in the gaming industry at ground level and found it a most depressing, despicable, and immoral business. I witnessed people coming straight from the office every night of the week to spend every penny they made in their working day on gambling machines. I saw widows cashing their pension cheques to pour them into these hateful machines, then scrounging for change to get the bus home, or feed the cat. A young woman would sell sex to other patrons to get money for gambling. They were all addicts of course, and they were being systematically exploited. From them the company made most of its money - not from those who had an occasional flutter.

 

Online gambling is no different. But it has made the problem less visible. The casino floor is emptying as people satiate their addiction at home by the glow of their laptop screen. Many hours they will spend hunched over, repeatedly clicking brightly coloured buttons in anticipation of a reward that is the basis of their addiction.

 

I would not want to deprive people of their right to spend their money as they please, but I think that any morally minded government would see gambling as a problem to be discouraged, and assist users in ditching their dependency, rather than actively promote, support, and gloat about this deplorable and exploitative industry.

Edited by Vulgarian
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Of course do some people develop a problem with gambling, but comparing it to Class A drugs in this way is inaccurate. There's a difference between trying a slot machine and crack cocaine. I also disagree that online gambling has simply made it less visible. Like I said, there's been a massive shift in responsible gambling and player protection. Your Man in China called it the Gold Standard today, and that is indeed what the IOM is implementing when it comes to player protection. Do you know how strict regulations are now? It's not just talk. If all online operators stuck to the same strict regulations as the IOM demands, things would be much better.

 

Sadly, the UK and many other jurisdictions are lacking behind in this, but over-all things do have changed and are still changing for the better. Playing online is safer than playing at your local bookie in many ways. The UK also needs to get its act together regarding FOBTs. I did say I don't like this type of gambling, or fruit machines.

 

What the IOM is doing is offering a well regulated environment and leading the way in regulating the industry, an industry that will always exist, like it or not. I rather see it regulated well and kept fair than having players sign up with mickey mouse books in Curacao or Costa Rica, where they don't give a toss about you as player.

 

You will always have people who have problems with things, may this be gambling, drinking, or hard drugs. Fact is that the online gambling sector has a lot stricter regulations than many other industries. I wasn't kidding when I said if you want the real dodgy types, go after the bankers.

 

Fact is also that you have to be an adult to gamble online, and that you are responsible for your own actions as an adult, not only when it comes to gambling but also in other ways. You can't forbid it all or nanny people in all aspects of their lives. You have witnessed the ugly side of this industry and trust me that over the years I have seen that as well, but also trust me that I have a better idea of the whole picture and that it's not as bleak as you make it out. Maybe things are indeed still bad in the shops, but I'm not involved with that. Again, FOBTs should be limited, but I'm online only.

 

For once IOMG has landed a proper winner and is doing everything right, is leading the way in a multi-billion industry and reaping the rewards. Loads of operators now work with Manx Telecom and many other IOM companies. This is bringing cash and employment to the island. In a perfect world there would be no problem gamblers and we'd all get unlimited free bets. The world isn't perfect. My industry isn't perfect, but what IOMG is doing is as good as it gets and I respect them for that.

 

Here's your man on the ground doing his thing earlier today:

 

IMG_5430.jpg

 

IMG_5433.jpg

 

I admit when this one came up, I had to bite my tongue, hard smile.png

 

IMG_5459.jpg

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It's preying on human weaknesses. You're just like a bully who only takes dinner money from mentally handicapped kids.

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http://www.manxradio.com/newsread.aspx?id=55492

 

Amadeus, I remember chatting to the then IOM Gov Director Tim Craine about the morals of egaming, and the above article, and I found his comments a tad niaive. Also, Ethical Investment companies interestingly shy away from Egaming.

 

Great bottom photo btw.

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Of course do some people develop a problem with gambling, but comparing it to Class A drugs in this way is inaccurate. There's a difference between trying a slot machine and crack cocaine. I also disagree that online gambling has simply made it less visible.

 

I was not merely making a flippant comparison. The effects of drugs and gambling on the brain are very similar: The neurobiology of pathological gambling and drug addiction,

 

"Another finding is that the pattern of brain activity changes more closely paralleled those observed in the cocaine cravings of cocaine addicts than the anticipatory urges in persons with OCD"

 

 

I also disagree that online gambling has simply made it less visible.

 

The move to internet gambling has certainly made the problem a less obvious one; it has allowed people to more successfully hide their problem, and made gambling much easier. You don't have to leave the house to go down the casino any longer. You can sit on the sofa with your family, and play what resembles a simple game on your laptop such as a child might play (the parallels between the two are also interesting). The difference is you are spending problematic amounts of money on it.

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