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reb
09 Sep 15 15:50
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Date Joined: 28 Jul 03
| Topic/replies: 1,097 | Blogger: reb's blog
Successful Gamblers Barred From Betting

Aaron Rogan - The Times online (Ireland) 7/9/2015


Irish-based bookmakers are boosting their profits by singling out, restricting and effectively banning successful gamblers.

Paddy Power, **** and Ladbrokes, the three biggest bookmaking companies in Ireland, severely restrict some of those who win regularly.

Former employees of Paddy Power claim that the company uses specialist software to monitor gamblers and detect regular winners.

The same software can also pick out losers, and two former employees said that less successful gamblers were often encouraged to bet more or to switch to online casino games, which offer the company a guaranteed return on bets.

The former Paddy Power traders said that customers were tracked from the moment they registered and that the information was used to build a profile.

A gambler who won €25,000 in a single event had his Paddy Power account restricted so that he could win just 10 per cent of the amount the bookmaker was willing to lose to other gamblers on any sport bet. The company held a file on him noting that his bets were very occasional and that he was a careful gambler. The file was obtained using data protection law, which allows anyone to apply for all the information a company holds on them.

“I don’t blame bookmakers for trying to weed out the big winners but that’s not what is happening. Fun punters who have had a few wins are finding themselves restricted when they come along with their €40. I’ve heard of people who’ve had three or four bets and their accounts have been practically frozen. They are absolutely monitoring winning accounts,” Paul Kealy, betting editor of the Racing Post, said.

Paddy Power announced pre-tax profits of €167 million for 2014 in March and recently confirmed a merger with Betfair, the online betting exchange.

The Times has obtained images of betting slips that clearly demonstrate the extent to which gamblers have been limited. In certain cases restricted gamblers found that accounts owned by their families or relatives were also limited.

Some winning gamblers received emails from Paddy Power, **** or Ladbrokes telling them that they would no longer be able to bet or that their accounts had been restricted from using the same services as other customers.

Kevin Blake, a broadcaster with the betting channel At The Races, said that bookmakers had recently started targeting customers who researched odds online, even if they were losing money overall.

“Morally it is wrong to shut down guys who are winning when another guy who quite clearly has a very serious gambling problem and is losing money just continues on. I know of losing gamblers who are given free hospitality at events and treated like kings,” he added.

Gambling in Ireland is still regulated under bills from 1931 and 1956. A gambling control bill was published in 2013 but it has not been implemented, meaning that the rapidly changing industry is still largely unregulated.

Paddy Power and Ladbrokes Ireland said that they promoted responsible gambling and restricted winning customers to offer better value to others. **** denied restricting customers on the basis that they won bets. All three declined to comment on specific examples sent to them by The Times.

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Replies: 113
By:
Roger De Bris
When: 09 Sep 15 16:00
About time something was done about "The Big Bamboozle".....
By:
PBK
When: 09 Sep 15 20:21
You put this up like it's news, been going on for years. They want a hundred blokes betting a pound rather than one fella betting a hundred Sad
By:
Kelly
When: 10 Sep 15 10:36
Cant remember when I was alerted "officially" about such procedures , but it was a long time ago , I have not seen my informant for years and years .

That this is classified as news shows how much people in general are out of touch , or how effective contra propoganda can be .  And the silence of the press / partners etc ....

That both of the major bookmaking companies now "officially" are involved with exchanges is a worrying development for the astute or random ( winning) punter .
By:
kincsem
When: 10 Sep 15 10:38
" The file was obtained using data protection law, which allows anyone to apply for all the information a company holds on them."
I would love to see what they have on me.
By:
kincsem
When: 10 Sep 15 10:46
I downloaded the Freedom Of Information request form.
Paddy Power offices are a short drive from me.
I'm tempted to find out if they have anything about me on file.
By:
Ozymandius
When: 10 Sep 15 11:06
As long as you are prepared for some non-complimentary descrptions, Kincsem!
By:
tony57
When: 10 Sep 15 13:47
go for it kincsem..be great to see were it leads?
By:
reb
When: 10 Sep 15 14:36
Animal Welfare Warning - Please ensure that your cat/dog is a suitably safe distance away before reading the article below :



We Limit Some Gamblers To Benefit Others, Say Bookmakers


Paddy Power said that it restricted some customers to manage financial risk


Aaron Rogan The Times online (Ireland) 7/9/2015



Ireland’s biggest bookmakers have defended their practice of limiting the amount some customers can bet.

Paddy Power, **** and Ladbrokes routinely restrict winning customers, an investigation by The Times has found. Industry insiders said that the process was not transparent enough.

Paddy Power said that it managed financial risk and worked to prevent bets that were against its terms and conditions.

“We take a ‘one for all’ rather than an ‘all for one’ view so, for instance, if we’re prepared to lose €2 million on an event, we would much prefer to lose €2,000 to a thousand different customers rather than €2 million to one individual,” it said.

**** denied restricting winning customers and said that it would not comment on evidence that a customer was restricted to 14c when he tried to place a bet on a horse that its traders had priced at 11/8.

A spokesman for the company said: “Disclosing a precise reason for a restriction would lead some customers to continue to engage in abusive behaviour by circumventing the precise way the original behaviour was detected.

“It has been our strategy to be very price competitive and, as a result, it would not make sense for us to shy away from customers who are betting on price.”

Ladbrokes Ireland, which recently exited examinership after receiving €12.8 million investment from its UK parent company, would not comment on a customer’s claim that his bet was cancelled in a Dublin city centre shop when a trader in the company’s head office complained to shop staff that he had been allowed to bet €50 on a 14/1 horse.

A spokeswoman for Ladbrokes Ireland said: “The vast majority of our customers are able to bet their requested stake at the available odds. Our priority is protecting value for the overwhelming majority of our customer base, who are recreational punters, over a small number of highly and solely price-sensitive clients who, as a proportion of our entire customer base, remain very small,” a spokeswoman for Ladbrokes Ireland said.

None of the three companies would say what percentage of customers were restricted from betting.
By:
Kelly
When: 10 Sep 15 17:34
Time for regulation for bookies , in exchange for gambling debts being enforceable by law .

Anyone tried to get a credit account recently ?
By:
p_r_e_m_i_e_r__f_a_n_t_a_s_y
When: 10 Sep 15 17:40
They are regulated, IBAS unsurprisingly funded by, yes you have guessed it, bookmakers
By:
p_r_e_m_i_e_r__f_a_n_t_a_s_y
When: 10 Sep 15 17:46
It beggars belief how even when the evidence is put right in front of their face they still lie Laugh

I do wonder what they put on the ad when they're looking for new PR people ?? Must be proficient in telling bare faced lies
By:
mincer11
When: 10 Sep 15 17:51
Thats a classic, we dont want one individual winning 2 million.
The tide is starting to turn though, people are at lasrt starting to realise, its fools only that can bet
By:
kincsem
When: 10 Sep 15 18:25
I'm tempted to contact Paddy Power and see if they will give me some insight into the great kincsem.
A few years back I got a download from PP and Betfair and was ahead on both (not much).
I phoned in bets to PP a lot back in the day, but the phone was costing 200/300 a month dial-up call charges for poker (PokerStars) so I got rid on the phone.
I was acquainted with someone who was high up in PP (or was it some other Irish bookies).
They are less than three miles away.
Reading up on freedom of info in Ireland I can't figure if it a minimum fee of €105 or not.
It would be fun to find out if I am a useless compulsive gambler and a cretin or worse.
PP escaped in 2003 when my €250 at 100/1 Thomas Bjorn ended when he started fecking about in a bunker.
I'll post on here if I get some info.
By:
oldbean
When: 10 Sep 15 19:19
its rampant, even us small indo's have the software to built a profile on you quickly.. a pp manager told me almost everyone in the shop is tagged at some point, then released after x amount of bets when u are of no danger to them, they even track who collects your bet if u dont, create a profile on him to, i cant imagine how much they'll know about the punter when they merge with betfair..
By:
kincsem
When: 11 Sep 15 11:29
Friday 11/09/15 11:13
I have returned from my visit this morning to Paddy Power HQ in Clonskeagh, Dublin.
From leaving the house to returning was 53 minutes.  PP HQ is three miles away.

I brought two blank "Request For Acess To Records Under The Freedom Of Information Act, 2014!" with me but didn't use them.
I had a list of questions written on a blank sheet of A4 paper.

After a ten minutes wait in reception I met two people.
My questions were along these lines
(1) is Personal information given by PP to other organisations (e.g. banks, building societies, credit rating agencies)?
(2) is personal information requested/received by PP from other organisations?
(3) is there a list/schedule of information held by PP on customers (databases etc)?
(4) is there info on betting markets, events favoured by the customer and their ability/lack of ability/profitability?
(5) is PP/Betfair info customer info shared/will it be shares?

I was told they will send me responses by e-mail.  They retained the A4 sheet with the questions.
They also said it would be better to contact them by e-mail or phone for info requests.
I asked why.  They said staff may not be available when a caller arrives.

My PP account is almost dormant.  I mostly use Betfair.
My €250 at 100/1 with PP on Thomas Bjorn in the 2003 Open was a driver for my move.  I could not cash out.

I did not find out what information they hold.  They did not supply a list.
They did not encourage me to fill out the FOI form (or discourage me).
The meeting lasted 10/15 minutes in reception.
If I don't get a reasonable response I will return.
By:
mincer11
When: 11 Sep 15 11:31
Well done kincsem.
By:
kincsem
When: 11 Sep 15 11:33
Nothing happened.
I didn't even get barred. Happy
By:
mincer11
When: 11 Sep 15 11:38
The more hassle they get the better, and i applaud anyone who makes life uncomfortable for them, and their staff.
By:
reb
When: 11 Sep 15 11:38
Gambling Problem

If bookies can spot winning gamblers and close their accounts, they should do the same for addicts.

The Times online (Ireland) Editorial 7/9/2015




“When the fun stops, stop.” This was the tagline of a recent responsible gambling campaign paid for by Paddy Power and its competitors in the UK. It was an eye-catching initiative — but not half as eye-catching as the betting industry’s constant press releases, carried as news by many outlets, about the lucky punter who struck it rich through dumb luck on a football accumulator.

Paddy Power’s online “punting hall of fame” is regularly updated with tales of gamblers who turned €1 into €38,000 with a lucky run.

The company’s spokesman, also called Paddy Power, told The Sunday Times in March that he was not selling a dream, just entertainment. For every €100 you bet he wants to take €10, and you will be happy for him to have it because you’ve been entertained along the way. It’s all a bit of fun.

What he failed to mention was that if you start to take home a bit more than €90 out of every €100, the company’s risk management team may spring into action.

Today’s revelations in The Times showing that winning punters are severely restricted suggest all is not quite as fun as it seems in Power Tower, where pre-tax profits for 2014 reached €167 million. It is a business and its main activity is making money.

There have been high-profile cases of people losing it all, and more besides, by betting away their savings but the PR departments of large bookmakers do not seem as keen on these stories. When that happens, they do not comment on individual cases.

Gambling has insidiously turned from an on-track treat to part of everyday life. Through online services, punters have access to a tapestry of markets at every hour of the day or night. When there are no races left to run, you can put your real money on a virtual horse race, tennis match or football game.

If you want to get your entertainment by looking at form guides, statistics or track history, the bookmakers are less welcoming. Knowledgeable, or some might say responsible, gamblers can find themselves limited to betting in cents on a race.

In New South Wales, Australia, which like Ireland has a strong horse racing culture, bookmakers have been regulated. If you want to be a bookmaker there, you have to take a bet up to a certain limit on horse racing.

No one is suggesting that bookmakers are obliged to take every bet, but they should be required to take the same bet off every person. They should also be required to be transparent about the restrictions they place on gamblers. Basic questions we asked went unanswered. Specific allegations were responded to with general replies.

The companies claim they are protecting themselves against “inside information” and arbitrage betting, the practice of placing bets on all possible outcomes of an event at odds that guarantee profit.

None of the gamblers who spoke to The Times used arbitrage betting. Most of them were just people who fancied themselves as bright enough to beat the bookies.
By:
kincsem
When: 11 Sep 15 12:07
I got an e-mail at 11:44 this morning from Paddy Power.

Their e-mail is a most disappointing document.
It provides a link to the terms and conditions of holding a Paddy Power account.
To allow me read these T & C I downloaded it to Microsoft Word.  It is 24 pages.

A very slight attempt is made in the e-mail to address my questions.
They did not answer these
(1) is Personal information given by PP to other organisations (e.g. banks, building societies, credit rating agencies)?
(2) is personal information requested/received by PP from other organisations?
(3) is there a list/schedule of information held by PP on customers (databases etc)?
(4) is there info on betting markets, events favoured by the customer and their ability/lack of ability/profitability?

Perhaps they want me to read the 24 pages and see if I can find the answers there.

They have provided no information that is not already in the public domain.

Paddy Power have I believe, made a mistake.
I will send a polite e-mail to the person I met this morning and ask is this the PP full response.
If this is their response (imo no response) then they will engage more fully.
By:
kincsem
When: 11 Sep 15 13:28
My reading of the Freedom Of Information Act is that it applies to government department and entities established under any act other than the Companies Acts.

That means bookmakers, being private companies, can keep any info they like, and probably swop it, sell it, give you good or bad ratings, and give these ratings to others.
I would like to know if information is bought/sold/transferred between bookmakers and banks, credit card companies.  We can not know.
Even the FOI act has exceptions:- information obtained in confidence; commercially sensitive information; personal information.

So we will learn nothing about the information Paddy Power and Betfair hold on us, unless there is more legislation.
By:
mincer11
When: 11 Sep 15 15:20
Paddy Powers is a public company not a private one. Not sure that makes any difference or not,but thats the reality.
By:
Tolmi
When: 11 Sep 15 15:33
kinscem

Its not the Freedom of Information Act that governs your request its the Data Protection Act.www.dataprotection.ie will give you the information you need.
By:
reb
When: 11 Sep 15 15:59
Tolmi is correct, kincsem. I'm not sure if you've read the article, below, which I posted on another thread last March. It details such a data information request by Richard Oakley, editor of The Times (Ireland), from PP and the subsequent reply he received. The three articles which I've copied and posted above from The Times online , all follow on from this original and inspirational article by Richard. His idea that ALL Paddy Power online customers should be able to view their ALL-TIME Account History (Number Of Bets, Total Amount Staked, Total Amount Won/Lost) in the Account History section of their PP account provides empowerment for all who wish to bet responsibly.



https://webmail.eircom.net/service/home/~/08032015.pdf?auth=co&loc=en_GB&id=179720&part=2
By:
Kelly
When: 11 Sep 15 16:26
BOOKIES ARE UP TO ALL THE POSSIBLE TRICKS TO AVOID TRANSPARENCY .

Thus you cant find out the above quoted figures re your total plusses and minuses . I asked Betfair once upon a time for a total figure from day one on my account , interested to see how much commission I had paid them ,  assumed it was a simple button pushing exercise for one of their employees . Buried in detail , none of which made any sense to me , never got the figure . The fact that the debit card changed ( only once ) in the 14 years obviated total figures available via deposits and withdrawals .In total I am a minus man , hence premium charge not a factor  , and I have a fair idea of what the figure for my previous debit card was . I am pretty sure my PP ( restricted ) account shows a decent profit , but dont think I can verify that .

When PP and Betfair "get together" will they be allowed to swap customer/ client figures ?

Questions such as these and other posed above just reinforce the need for SOME government ( not just that in Australia) to grasp the nettle and force through some punters charter or regulations .  God knows , it should be a vote catcher . Only people holding shares in bookmakers have any sympathy with the bookies generally.
By:
reb
When: 11 Sep 15 16:39
Kelly, just like anyone else, you can verify your all-time Profit/Loss record with PP under data protection law. I did it myself recently.
By:
Kelly
When: 11 Sep 15 16:44
The most restrictive bookie in my experience is baldy baps . Anything in excess of a 50p exposure is rejected , by the mechanism mostly of excluding bets of less than 50p . Maybe they would lay 50p on a 4/5 shot , might just try just for info . 

Ladcrooks are tucked in just behind baldy baps .

Korals used to be OK , now useless for me ,so joining up with Lads will not affect me , but the merger fires another arrow through the heart of market competition .

Politicians , stop spending your time exploring various dodges , become the punters friend !
By:
Kelly
When: 11 Sep 15 16:49
Reb , that presumably means contacting them . I constantly refuse to answer any bookie invites to participate in surveys etc , and shun "loyalty cards" ( equals tracking device ) . Do you think they bin the info request ( or do you think they "make a note" ) . Most of us prefer to operate quietly .
By:
reb
When: 11 Sep 15 17:10
I like to operate quietly too, Kelly, but the Gorey Post Office (gambling addiction and fraud) case of 2012 shocked me into action.
By:
kincsem
When: 12 Sep 15 06:32
Thanks Tolmi
Thanks for educating me guys.  I am a stupid.
Next week I'll check out the data protection acts.  PP didn't educate me, but I have time.  If I get anything I'll let you know.
A few years back I got downloads from PP and Betfair of all my bets.
I am interested in: are they passing or receiving info on credit worthiness; account comments incl stuff like employment; info hacked; and will all our PP betfair info be thrown into one pot.

What I really want to know is does MONEYTREE have an account, and is he their most valued customer. Happy
By:
kincsem
When: 12 Sep 15 06:59
reb
I couldn't open that link
By:
kincsem
When: 12 Sep 15 07:30
I found my Paddy Power and Betfair download, but they are only 2003 to 2007
My PP account goes back into the mid 1990s (I remember 1998 bets).
The didn't give me a download pre-2003.
I'll have to research how much does Freedom Of Information cover (i.e what timeframe)

Paddy Power 2003/2007
Athletics___0.00
Boxing___0.00
Cycling___0.00
Golf    ___1,577.50
Horseracing___6,645.03
Poker___-55.00
Politics___0.00
Rugby___0.00
Snooker___-100.00
Soccer___717.23
Tennis___-50.00
Asian___0.00
   
Paddy Power Profit___8,734.76

Betfair 2003/2007
Athletics___1903.61
Boxing__-40.00
Cycling___1633.02
Golf    ____1638.26
Horseracing___4526.1
Poker___-153.98
Politics___-2.96
Rugby___87.70
Snooker__69.33
Soccer___-1849.95
Tennis___-314.78

Betfair Profit___7,496.35


Just for interest these are a few of the Paddy Power winners
Invasor (Breeders Cup) 200 at 11/2
Sir Percy (Derby) 300 at 16/1
Clan Royal (Grand National) €200 at 10/1 (2nd btn 3l) jockey lost whip, veered Sad
Falbrav (QE II) 400 at  5/2+
Michael Campbell (Irish Open) 5 ew at 50/1 (only €5 ffs Sad)
Alamshar (King George 50 at 7/1)
Thomas Bjorn (Open 2003) 250 win Cry 100 place at 100/1
Choisir 25/1 Zafeen 10/1 (Royal Ascot) 20 wins, 10 double
Brian Kerr (Ireland manager) 50 at 16/1

Betfair winners
Justin Gatlin (100 m Olympics) +€2,806, odds 22, 51, 60
Sir Percy (2006 Derby) +€2,002, odds 18s
Oscar Pereiro Sio (2006 Tour de France) +1,642, odds 180
Retief Goosen (US Masters 2007) +2,778, odds 120s
Finscael Beo (Eng 1000 Guineas) +1,435 odds 2.4
Croatia ht/ft (England v Croatia) +950, odds 20s

No enough to buy a box of matches.
By:
Kelly
When: 12 Sep 15 10:32
Some nice winners there .

A friends nephew trained Invasor , our friend did not back it   , I rang him and told him his nephew had won the world's richest race .  Good on you .

Surprised they did not act earlier as you have a winning habit .
By:
Ozymandius
When: 12 Sep 15 11:47
Quite.
By:
reb
When: 12 Sep 15 12:31
kincsem, here is the excellent article by Richard Oakley on 8th March 2015, that I refer to in my post yesterday at 15.59 and which prefaces the recent articles from The Times online (Ireland) which I have pasted, above. The parts in bold have been highlighted by me as I believe the comments by Patrick Power (Marketing) are potentially very significant. More on that later.



When Richard Oakley asked for details of his Paddy Power account, he found out why the house always wins.


My name is Richard Oakley and I am not a gambling addict. I was, however, a “low-staking, standard” gambler, according to Paddy Power.

I started betting online with the country’s favourite bookmaker in July 2008 and I stopped last December. It has been 68 days since my last wager. In that time I laid 2,216 bets, staking €17,377.33. This might seem excessive, but it includes bets made with earlier winnings. The amount of cash I transferred into my Paddy Power account was much smaller. On average, I made six bets a week of about €8 each. Unlike many gamblers, I regularly withdrew some of my winning amounts — as any future loan application process will hopefully confirm.

In short I was a tiny fish in the €80bn sea of international gambling. I carefully maintained a “low-staking” customer profile, but I wasn’t so insignificant that I went unnoticed.

According to Paddy Power, I was quite good at betting on athletics and politics, performing well enough in both sectors to be worth monitoring, and to have a limit imposed on the amount I could wager.

On politics I was given a 60% “stake limitation factor”. In other words, if the bookmakerwere prepared to lose a total of €1,000 on a particular politics bet, I was allowed to stake only an amount that could result in me winning no more than €600. In athletics, the factor was 80%.

Paddy Power, it seemed, had no problem with me losing as much as I liked on other bets, but it wasn’t prepared to allow me to win the full amount of cash it was prepared to lose on politics and athletics wagers.

These determinations were made by the company’s traders. I know this because I recently applied under data-protection law for the information that the company holds on me. Last week I was given a document containing my gambling record and “customer attribute notes”. It transpired that on two occasions, in July 2009 and May 2014, Paddy Power staff logged onto my file and set new parameters, having identified a modicum of success on my part. “Looks smart on athletics,” one wrote.

For bookmakers to do well, they need customers to lose about 10% of everything they bet, preferably over a long period of time. They do everything they can to ensure this, including enforcing limits on bets. The house always wins. Last Tuesday, Paddy Power announced its preliminary results for 2014. Net revenue was up 18% to €882m,and the firm made a pre-tax profit of €167m. Its customers bet €7bn during 2014, up 16% on the previous year.

Go through the full report and you’ll find the 10% figure for which bookmakers are aiming. Having paid out on all winning stakes, Paddy Power was left with 9.9% of all money wagered. Shouldn’t this margin convince gamblers to put down the mini biro or close the betting app? For while there is fun to be had,almost every gambler will generally lose 10% of everything they bet. For every €100 deposited into your Paddy Power account, Paddy keeps €10. Thanking you.

“PUNTER’S €1 turns to €200k” screamed a newspaper headline last month. The “lucky” Galway gambler won €206,262 thanks to a 17-fold football accumulator. “Anyone who defies odds of 206,261-1 is due a tip of the hat, ”said a representative of Paddy Power, availing of the free publicity to help cover the loss.

The winner in this case was not named, but problem gamblers who end up in court usually are. Last October, a 27-year-old Kildare man was spared a jail term after stealing €100,000 from his employer to feed a “chronic gambling” habit. His name and address were published at the time, but he has a new job and is paying back the money, so we can skip that formality here.

The two cases represent the extremes: the small gambler who beats the odds and strikes it big; and the addict who loses until he reaches an all-time low. Almost everyone else is somewhere in between. Paddy Power has 2.4m active online customers. Exclude Australia, and the breakdown is 1.4m in Britain and 405,000 in Ireland and the rest of the world.

Pete Lunn, an economist with the Economic and Social Research Institute, and a specialist in economic decision-making, said more gamblers think they are winning than actually are because they misconceive how much it is costing them. “Research suggests there will always be a  minority of gamblers who are up, but some will be up only because they have been lucky and they will eventually lose,” he said. “Similarly there are some losers who in the long term might win, but that pool is likely to be smaller. The proportion of gamblers who are systematically up is very small.”

Bookmakers promote responsible gambling and have sections on their websites dedicated to messages such as “when the fun stops, stop”. They argue most customers bet within their means, and enjoy the various ups and downs.

“We’ve always been clear with punters that they are probably not going to beat us,” said Paddy Power, the eponymous spokesman for the company. “We are not selling a dream, we are selling entertainment. It’s about getting extra value from an event. Our hope is that if you come into our shop with €100 and you walk out with €90, you’ll feel you had €10 worth of entertainment.”

Lunn is not sure it’s quite that simple. “With gambling you are buying entertainment or social interaction, and that’s fine. The difficulty is there are other things going on, to do with human behaviour. Gamblers systematically misconceive the likelihood of getting something back from their transactions and tend to take excessive risks. It’s hard to believe that they are always making a rational judgment when buying this particular form of entertainment.”

It has been proved that when people incur losses, their instinct is to take risks to recoup them, according to Lunn. Humans also tend to be optimistic and exaggerate the chances of winning a particular bet even when given information, such as odds, to the contrary. “Bookies make money because the system is set up to take advantage of human behaviours,” he said.

Colin O’Gara, a consultant psychiatrist and head of addiction services at St John of God Hospital in Dublin, is part of the research team behind the current National Online Gambling Survey (gamblingsurvey.ie). In his work, he deals with the 1% of adults who are considered severe gambling addicts. He estimates about 5% of people are “at risk” gamblers.

“The idea of gambling being fun is critical to the industry, but it’s inherently addictive — and that bit gets missed,” said O’Gara. “All of us have the potential to succumb to an addiction if the cues in our environment are strong enough. With gambling, the cues are very strong.”

He points to the high level of gambling related advertising, and the fact that betting odds, and stories about supposed betting coups, are routinely reported in the media.

“Problem gamblers often start off with a big win that hooks them in and they start chasing the next one, which may never come,” said O’Gara. “Gamblers talk about form, but they fail to factor in chance. The people I work with started off like everyone else and followed an extreme trajectory. There is a lot of denial on their part. They will tell you they don’t have a problem, even though they may have stolen their children’s holy communion money to bet.”

O’Gara believes the gambling industry should be more closely regulated. Both he and Lunn have argued for the introduction of “binding limits”, whereby gamblers would enter into a legal contract with a bookmaker to bet only a certain amount in a given period. They also want online gambling accounts to include details of total stakes, total winnings and total number of bets. These three categories were detailed in the personal file I received from Paddy Power, but were not visible in my online profile which holds only records of recent bets.

Last week the bookmaker said it would generally give this information to customers who specifically requested it, but would now consider making it a feature of online accounts. It claims to have already a system whereby gamblers can declare a limit,one that can be increased only after a 24-hour cooling period.

“We try to be responsible without being draconian,” said Paddy Power. “We have to facilitate people who enjoy a bet without any problem. We offer people the chance to control their betting, and if anyone indicates they are struggling to do this, we point them in the direction of help.”

WHEN the Kenyan runner Florence Kiplagat won the World Cross Country Championships in Jordan on March 28, 2009, she was so surprised that she reportedly fainted. Back in Ireland, I celebrated in wild style on her behalf, having won €1,400.

Various previews of the race had tipped Kiplagat as a potential winner, so when Paddy Power gave her odds of 14-1, I wagered €100. A colleague advised me to take the money and run, but I was having too much fun to close my account.

If you think you might have a gambling problem, there are questions you should ask yourself.Do you bet more than you can afford? Are you able to stop? Do you lie about it? I checked the list recently and answered a firm “no” to them all. I am not a problem gambler, but my total number of bets, 2,216,has shocked me into realising I was a regular one. In general I gambled on the results of rugby matches,first goal-scorer in football matches,athletics and on big events such as the Olympics or a golf major.

To begin with, I really enjoyed gambling. I got a buzz when I won and didn’t mind losing. Over time, however, I found I was less excited when a bet came up trumps, and eventually indifferent. By contrast, I went from being mildly disappointed when losing to being rather unimpressed. On a couple of occasions, I found this affected my usually upbeat mood, and that is the key reason I quit. The fun, as the slogan goes, has stopped; so I have too.

I was a reasonably careful gambler and my file shows I am actually ahead. I staked €17,377.33 and won €17,981.57, so I’m in the black by €604. Not bad,but hardly life changing and not a great return for time spent — outside working hours, boss — thinking about bets. I will miss the satisfaction of calling something right, and the sight of money appearing on my Paddy Power balance, but I won’t miss checking results on my phone on family days or cursing situations in matches over which I have no control. I won’t say I’ll never bet again, but I don’t think I will. So ahead of the Cheltenham Festival, and after six years, it’s a goodbye from me to Paddy Power. It’s been, well,interesting.
By:
Kelly
When: 12 Sep 15 13:49
Good article .  The addictive bit gets glossed over usually, and when you think ( that is one word ) the bookies are targetting addictive ( most often losing ) punters the morality question surfaces . Especially if the gambler concerned is in a position to "borrow " money from employer and friends .

Earliest situation I knew about personally concerned the worst punter I have ever known , idiot when it came to betting .  He knocked approx 100k ( in the sixties ) from his employer , it all went to one bookmaker , who had 2 offices near the guys place of work .  The guy disappeared eventually , various theories being bandied about , suicide the most probable , body never appeared though .

The bookmaker thrived , and at time concerned built up a small local chain , from very humble beginnings , and he was no JP . I hope all concerned sleep/slept well at night .
By:
PBK
When: 12 Sep 15 18:32
As someone who is regularly given my marching orders from bookmakers, I never gave it that much thought as to how in depth the bookies look at individual punters. I thought it was nothing more than over zealous area managers who's winning what ! A couple of weeks ago I was told in my local Baldfred I could only have SP on any bets including............and this the one that p!ssed me off his pushes. He sits there every week slating the other bookies mainly Corals about not giving the punters value, but now it would seem I can not have the value, double standards me thinks ! While I was not supposed to know the figures my heinous crime was to in the last two years lay out £17,000 and returned £21,000 a profit of 4k or over two years about a fiver a day. Just because I managed to sort the wheat from the chaff and not blindly follow all of his pushes I'm no longer welcome. All very sad. Of course I could always play their machines Plain
By:
Kelly
When: 12 Sep 15 18:50
Playing their machines is all they want PBK . The old style bookies were ( generally) sportsmen , who enjoyed the buckle themselves ( with the odds on their side ) . The current crop are a crowd of bean counters .  The bookies invented arbing , some specialised in it , nowadays they are paranoid that anyone else would have the effrontery to emulate them .

Galdy bap is the worst , and ads are just nauseating knowing what they do . Trades description act should be applicable , but there is no regulation for bookies .
By:
Kelly
When: 12 Sep 15 18:50
Thats Baldy .
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