Category : Gambling

(Bloomberg) The Poorest Americans Risk the Most in Hopes of Striking it Rich

Americans spend tens of billions of dollars on government-run lotteries each year. But as income inequality widens, low-earning households spend a disproportionate amount of money on lottery tickets, according to a new study.

The lowest-income households in the U.S. on average spend $412 annually on lottery tickets, which is nearly four times the $105 a year spent by the highest-earning households, according to a study released on Wednesday by Bankrate.com. And almost 3 in 10 Americans in the lowest income bracket play the lottery once a week, compared with nearly 2 in 10 who earn more than that.

The Bankrate.com study was conducted by research firm GfK, which surveyed a national sample of 1,000 American adults on Aug. 17-19.

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, Poverty, State Government, Theology

(C of E) Fixed Odds Betting Terminals: £2 maximum stake is ‘right decision’, says Bishop Alan Smith

The Bishop of St Albans, Alan Smith, has welcomed Government plans to limit the maximum stake on Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) to £2.

Dr Alan Smith said the decision was an “essential” step in curbing the harm done by the machines, which he said have “taken advantage of the vulnerable for too long”.

He thanked ministers for their action, announced today as part of a package of measures in response to a Government consultation.

Bishop Alan had previously written to all members of the Church of England’s General Synod, encouraging them to respond to the consultation with evidence of the consequences of these machines for their communities.

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, Personal Finance & Investing, Religion & Culture

(Local Paper front page) South Carolina unlikely to legalize sports betting, despite U.S. Supreme Court ruling

A short stack of South Carolina legislators is pushing to allow sports betting in the Palmetto State following a U.S. Supreme Court decision Monday that overturned a federal ban.

But the odds are long.

The ruling by the nation’s high court leaves states to decide whether people can legally bet on football, basketball and other sports. Under the 1992 federal law it struck, Nevada was the only place where people could bet on results of a single game.

About three dozen states could offer sports betting within five years — from California to Iowa to Delaware. At least five states including New Jersey, Mississippi and West Virginia have passed laws awaiting the high court’s ruling.

But don’t bet on those including South Carolina, where even church raffles weren’t legal until 2015.

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Posted in * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, Law & Legal Issues, Sports, State Government, Supreme Court

(NPR) Supreme Court Rules States Are Free To Legalize Sports Betting

The Supreme Court’s court decision reversing that outcome will make it easier to open the door to sports betting.

But the status quo struck down by the Supreme Court looks almost quaint in light of increased pressure to legalize sports betting across the board.

The American Gaming Association estimates that illegal sports betting has grown to $150-billion-a-year market. And cash-starved states are salivating at the thought of raising billions from legalizing and licensing that activity, not to mention taxing the proceeds.

New Jersey, home to at least a half dozen shuttered Atlantic City casinos, is a state where Republicans and Democrats since 2011 have been trying to overturn the federal ban or somehow get around it.

After oral arguments in December, then-Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., said on the Supreme Court steps, “If we’re successful here, we can have bets being taken in New Jersey within two weeks of a decision by the court. We’re like boy scouts; we’re prepared.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, Law & Legal Issues, Sports, State Government, Supreme Court, Theology

(Mirror) Punters would lose £500 a session under Gambling Commission’s recommendation for fixed bet terminals to set the maximum stake at £30

Gambling addicts will lose more than £500 a session if the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals is set at £30.

Government minister Tracey Crouch wants a £2 limit on the ­bookies’ shop machines – nicknamed the crack cocaine of gambling.

But her plans received a blow from the Gambling Commission – the body that advises the Government – which has recommended she sets the top stake at £30.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, Personal Finance & Investing, Religion & Culture, Theology

Bishop of St Albans: Fixed Odds Betting Terminals proposal ‘simply does not go far enough’ to protect most vulnerable

The Bishop of St Albans, a leading campaigner for measures to limit the harm done by Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), has responded to recommendations from the Gambling Commission.

The Rt Revd Alan Smith supports reducing the maximum stake on the machines to £2, from the current level of £100. The Commission has recommended limiting the stake to at least £30, but has left it up to the Government to decide the final figure.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Telegraph) Church of England calls for daytime ban on betting adverts amid fears of ‘moral crisis’ facing children

The Church of England has called for a ban on betting adverts before the 9pm watershed in a bid to tackle the growing “moral crisis” facing children and young people.

The Rt Rev Alan Smith, the Bishop of St Albans, told The Daily Telegraph that society will reap a ‘terrible harvest’ because gambling is being ‘normalised’ for children and young people.

The Church is calling for the exemption which allows gambling companies to show adverts before the 9pm watershed to be closed and for social media giants to take greater responsibility.

According to official figures, children see an average of 185 gambling adverts a year, equivalent to nearly four a weeks. Premier League football games have around five commercials from betting firms per game.

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Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, Movies & Television

(Guardian) Alex Hern–Video games are unlocking child gambling. This has to be reined in

In a tale of gambling addiction posted to Reddit shortly before Christmas, the numbers were as shocking as they were unsurprising. First the anonymous addict frittered away $200 (£149), in November 2016. Then $700 more, later that month. Then $300, $400, $1,500 … eventually, by December 2017, a credit card debt of $16,000, too large to be kept a secret any longer. It’s a painful narrative, one that’s not softened through repeated telling.

What might be more surprising is the particular type of gambling under discussion. This man hadn’t lost his money betting on football, or feeding notes into a fixed-odds betting terminal. He had been playing the mobile video game Final Fantasy: Brave Exodus (FFBE), a free-to-play game for android and iOS based on the Final Fantasy series.

It’s one of a number of games which use a similar system to reel in, and profit from, players. Unlockables – be they new characters in FFBE, new players in the Fifa football sims, weapon upgrades in the new Star Wars game Battlefront II, or car parts in racing game Need For Speed – aren’t available for direct sale. Instead players buy, with real money or in-game currency, a random item or set of items, in what are termed “loot boxes”. Players have no guarantee of what they’ll get, and no way to guide the game into giving them something they need or want.

The system is a sort of weaponised behavioural psychology, perfectly pitched to exploit all the cognitive weaknesses that make people so susceptible to addiction and compulsion.

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Posted in Anthropology, Children, England / UK, Entertainment, Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling

Bishop Alan Smith urges Christians to make voices heard on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals

A bishop is seeking to mobilise Christians to press the Government to curb Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) to help protect the most vulnerable people.

The Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, is urging members of the Church of England and other churches to add their voices to calls to limit the maximum stake on the addictive machines to £2, instead of its current level of £100.

He is calling for people to respond to the Government’s consultation on its review of gaming machines which is open for the next two months.

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, Religion & Culture, Theology

Cut stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals to £2, Bishop Smith of St Albans urges Government

The Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, has responded to the Government’s announcement today of The Triennial Review of Stakes and Prizes.

He said: “The Triennial Review of Stakes and Prizes has proposed a range of possible stakes for fixed-odds betting terminals. While a reduction in stakes is welcome, any stake higher than £2 does not go far enough to address the harm these machines cause to families and communities around the UK.

“In our broader response to the consultation, the Church of England will urge the Government to consider the experiences of those affected most by these machines, and to choose to lower the stake to £2.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Local Paper Front Page) Some bet on casinos to fix South Carolina’s crumbling infrastructure

With the chances of a gas-tax increase to pay for road repairs dwindling, advocates of bringing casinos to South Carolina think they have found a winning hand.

Republican Gov. Henry McMaster declared last week that he would veto raising the state fuel tax for the first time in 30 years to fix crumbling roads and bridges. He favors a plan to borrow $1 billion, which would cover a small portion of the state’s repair tab and comes a year after lawmakers already agreed to borrow $2 billion for roads.

But there’s another roads-funding plan, one favored by a majority of South Carolinians, that’s on the table.

Casinos in the Myrtle Beach area and along the borders of North Carolina and Georgia could have South Carolina cashing in a potential $500 million a year while not raising gas pump prices or adding to the state debt load, legalized gambling backers say.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Gambling, State Government, Taxes, Travel

([London] Times) University of Bristol study finds Gambling problems for ‘1 in 4 young men’

A quarter of young men have a gambling problem and GPs should consider screening them for the addiction, researchers say.

A University of Bristol study found that 25 per cent of men aged between 18 and 24 had gambling problems of varying degrees of severity. The researchers polled more than 1,000 patients in 11 Bristol GP waiting rooms. About one in 20 people had a gambling problem and one in five of those had a severe problem. Young men were much more likely to have a problem, as were people who used drugs and those who had depression or risky drinking habits.

Sean Cowlishaw, from the university’s Centre for Academic Primary Care, who conducted the study, said that young men were often a vulnerable group. He added: “We are seeing the first generation who have grown up with high levels of gambling exposure normalised. We are talking about advertising constantly, online gambling, on smartphones as well, and betting shops clustered on high streets with electronic gambling machines.”

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Posted in England / UK, Gambling, Men, Young Adults

Conflicts of interest between industry+rehabilitation programs stall Romanian fight vs gambling

On the cusp of turning 40, Dan has been living with addiction for half his life. Yet his eyes behind thin-rimmed glasses are not bloodshot; his arms are not punctured or bruised by needles. Under a fine Bucharest drizzle, he heads for a gambling hall, convinced he has lost almost everything. “People believe that all humans are fit to survive,” said Dan, a pseudonym to protect his identity. “But nature is not like that.”

Gambling venues have become ubiquitous across Romania since the first big betting hall opened its doors in Bucharest’s central train station in the spring of 1990, just months after Nicolae CeauÅŸescu’s communist rule ended in popular revolt and a Christmas Day firing squad.

In May 2015, the Romanian parliament approved a law on gambling that included measures designed to tackle the scourge of addiction. But more than a year later, there are reasons to doubt their effectiveness.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Gambling, Romania, Theology

The Bp of St Albans asks the Govt abt links between betting terminals and violent crime

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I thank the Minister for his Answer. Gambling-related harm is not restricted to people with problem gambling””it affects family, it affects friends, it affects even people who work in gambling shops. I recently put in a freedom of information request to the Metropolitan Police which revealed that since 2010 there has been a 68% rise in violent crime associated with betting shops across the capital. In the light of that, will the Minister tell the House what assessment the Government have made of the link between this rapid rise in violent crime associated with betting shops and the increase in the number of fixed-odds betting terminals in those shops?

Lord Ashton of Hyde: Any rise in crime figures is of course concerning, and Ministers and the Gambling Commission will look at those figures closely. One of the three licensing objectives that all operators must comply with is to prevent gambling being a source of crime. On the right reverend Prelate’s specific question about the link between fixed-odds betting terminals and the rise in crime, I hesitate at the moment to draw a causal link between them in the absence of evidence on the specific means of betting. However, this is exactly the sort of evidence that should be provided to the forthcoming triennial review.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Theology

(NYT) The Billion-Dollar Jackpot: Engineered to Drain Your Wallet

If you’ve noticed that colossal lottery winnings are becoming almost common this year, it’s no accident. Four of the 10 biggest jackpots in United States history have already occurred in 2016, an engineered outcome intended to generate mind-bogglingly big winners.

That’s thrilling if you are the rare winner of hundreds of millions of dollars. But whether it’s a good thing for scores of millions of other people who play government-sponsored lottery games is highly questionable, as a close look at the numbers reveals.

What is immediately evident, though, is that the high frequency of enormous jackpots results from skillful planning, says Salil Mehta, an independent statistician. “This was deliberate,” Mr. Mehta says. “The jackpots are growing very rapidly, and at a certain point when the jackpot rises into the hundreds of millions of dollars, there is a buzz, and people start betting much more….

At a minimum, the government ought to be doing no harm to its citizens, yet it appears to be promoting and benefiting from activities that are surely harming the life prospects of many people.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, Psychology, Theology