Will this be another disappointing TV program?

jetset

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EXPECT ANOTHER DISAPPOINTING TV PROGRAM


Pre-publicity indicates that Saturday's 'Panorama' program is likely to accentuate the negative


The media's general predilection for negative gambling stories is often a cause for irritation for the majority of responsible players who view disciplined and controlled gambling as a legitimate form of entertainment, and British punters can perhaps expect more of the same this Saturday when a program on Internet gambling airs on 'Panorama'

Consider the headline on the pre-publicity material pumped out by the BBC, for example: "Million a year could get hooked!" Hyping the program, the material reveals that reporter Declan Lawn hooked up with a professional poker player called Matthew Hopkins and found himself more than a little attracted to the game online. The rather over-the-top reactions of the reporter are described, along with a more sensible and level headed perspective from the professional gambler. Both could create the impression that making large sums of money playing poker online is not difficult.

Then there is the mandatory academic, Professor Jim Orford of Birmingham University who predicts that up to one million people a year could become hooked on internet gambling, but does not appear to substantiate this claim in the pre-program publicity. Orford has criticised the government for being "naive" and "playing dice" with people's health by liberalising gambling laws.

The material says that latest research by the Gambling Commission for the government found one million regular UK online gamblers, but Panorama claims to have found figures which reveal an average of 5.8 million people a month visited sites from April to September. And those statistics from the internet media and market research company, Nielsen/Net Ratings show that in May there were more than six million visitors to online gambling and sweepstake sites.

It is not known whether the program makes any distinction between casual one-time visitors to gambling sites who may or not play, and more regular punters who actually visit online gambling sites to gamble.

Panorama points out that it is currently illegal to run an internet casino gaming operation in Britain but that is about to change, and it explains the advent of the UK liberalising reforms which come into force on September 1 2007, the functions of the Gambling Commission and restrictions placed on operators regarding the young and the vulnerable.

The minister for sport, Richard Caborn is quoted as saying: "We have, I believe, acted responsibly in bringing an act onto the statute book which has three basic principles on which it is based. Protecting the vulnerable, keeping it crime free and making sure that those who have a bet will be paid out and it'll be a fair bet."

Psychology Professor Orford remains pessimistic, however, claiming: "Gradually we're going to realise it's a much bigger problem than we thought. More people are going to know friends and family members who've got problems. Health authorities are going to be under pressure to provide treatment." And then comes his dire prediction: "We could be talking about a million people affected by it in any one period of 12 months, and that begins to put it on a par with drug addiction problems."

In our purely subjective opinion the most interesting and grounded character quoted in the pre-publicity material was the professional poker player. Twenty year old Matthew Hopkins left his part-time job and accountancy studies to play Internet poker full time and claims that he makes GBP 20 to 30 000 a month. His story exhibited qualities of discipline, extensive study and preparation and control as he guided the seemingly excitable reporter through the intricacies of playing poker online for fun and profit.

But Panorama also follows the story of 24-year-old Sharna Baker who stole almost half a million pounds from the merchant bank where she worked to feed her habit for backing horses on the internet.

"Online Gambling: Britain's New Obsession" will be broadcast on Sunday 26 November at 2215 at bbc.co.uk/panorama and on BBC One.
 

Casinomeister

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<sigh> No one wants to watch a train, they want to see a train wreck, and the mainstream press is fully aware of this. They may even go as far as staging the wreck - metaphorically speaking.

These "experts" act as if online gaming is a new-fangled thing on the Internets. They could have used the Google years ago and typed in "online casino" and hundreds of thousands of results would have appeared - all willing to accept your deposit. It's not new, and if anyone was going to be "hooked" they would have been hooked by now.

Unless of course, they don't have a computer.
 

Simmo!

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...on the Internets.

LOL. Is that a subtle dig at a certain US politician ;) I think I'll record this programme and see what it says in any case but I suspect you're right. that said, the BBC do at least tend to avoid the tabloid sensationalism that you might get on ITV or C4. We'll see.

EDITED TO ADD; The program is actually on Sunday at 22:15 on BBC1 :thumbsup:
 
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spearmaster

RIP Ted
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Panorama has been known to oversensationalize things on occasion -they are not always the stiff-upper-lip, often boring programmes that they show most of the time. So I would not be surprised to see an overdramatic analysis of the situation.
 

winbig

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LOL. Is that a subtle dig at a certain US politician ;) I think I'll record this programme and see what it says in any case but I suspect you're right. that said, the BBC do at least tend to avoid the tabloid sensationalism that you might get on ITV or C4. We'll see.

EDITED TO ADD; The program is actually on Sunday at 22:15 on BBC1 :thumbsup:

Don't forget "the google" statement in Bryan's post (thanks to George W!)..:D

Will this be on the BBC station that us americans recieve? Anyone know?
 

dominique

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These "experts" act as if online gaming is a new-fangled thing on the Internets. They could have used the Google years ago and typed in "online casino" and hundreds of thousands of results would have appeared - all willing to accept your deposit. It's not new, and if anyone was going to be "hooked" they would have been hooked by now.

Unless of course, they don't have a computer.

This has to be due to the pokerchips clogging up the tubes of the internets, and the lack of lotto balls, as explained by an US politician here:

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GrandMaster

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Then there is the mandatory academic, Professor Jim Orford of Birmingham University who predicts that up to one million people a year could become hooked on internet gambling, but does not appear to substantiate this claim in the pre-program publicity. Orford has criticised the government for being "naive" and "playing dice" with people's health by liberalising gambling laws.
Naivity or cluelessness is certainly correct.

But Panorama also follows the story of 24-year-old Sharna Baker who stole almost half a million pounds from the merchant bank where she worked to feed her habit for backing horses on the internet.
It should be considered to what extent online gambling is responsible for this. Would she have done the same if internet gambling were not available? In most places in the UK it is not exactly hard to find a betting shop. Where I live, there are three Ladbrokes, one William Hill, one Coral, one Betfred, and one independent betting shop within a five hundred meters.
 

jetset

RIP Brian
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GAMCARE REACTS TO PANORAMA PROGRAM PRE-PUBLICITY


Expert questions 'addiction figures' quoted by academic


The BBC 'Panorama' program titled "Online Gambling: Britain's New Obsession" will be broadcast on Sunday 26 November at 2215, but it is already attracting both mainstream headlines and critical comment thanks to pre-publicity material rather sensationally claiming that a "Million a year could get hooked!"

The problem gambler help organisation Gamcare is the latest to enter the fray, commenting that according to press reports "....the programme will suggest the UK government has underestimated the numbers of online gamblers. Figures to be aired in the programme will suggest that an 'average of 5.8 million Britons visited online gambling sites from April to September'.

"The [newspaper] report quotes an addiction expert from Birmingham University, professor Jim Orford, as saying the UK government’s reforms could see up to a million people becoming hooked on online gaming a year.

"However, GamCare has enlisted its own professor, Peter Collins, professor of social studies at Salford University, who said there are 'no reliable studies of the extent of online gambling [addiction] in the UK or elsewhere'.

“The best estimate is that remote gambling accounts for between 3 percent and 5 percent of all gambling that takes place in this country. Remote gambling does carry special risks in respect of problem gambling due to its exceptional convenience. That is why it is so important that governments, as ours is doing, make every effort to regulate this activity effectively and that organisations, such as GamCare, develop rigorous codes of practice to minimise the risks and to ensure that players who do develop problems have immediate access to free, expert and confidential help and advice.”
 

Casinomeister

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...The best estimate is that remote gambling accounts for between 3 percent and 5 percent of all gambling that takes place in this country. Remote gambling does carry special risks in respect of problem gambling due to its exceptional convenience. That is why it is so important that governments, as ours is doing, make every effort to regulate this activity effectively and that organisations, such as GamCare, develop rigorous codes of practice to minimise the risks and to ensure that players who do develop problems have immediate access to free, expert and confidential help and advice.
'nuf said.
 

Casinomeister

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So - um...how was the show? Anybody watch this??
 

Casinomeister

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Maybe you can see this, I can't.

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Yeah, I can see it - but it says this:

404 - Page Not Found
This might be because you typed the web address incorrectly. Please check the address and spelling ensuring that it does not contain capital letters or spaces.


What a boring show.
 

Cynthia777

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Speaking of the topic of Internet gambling and television (slightly off thread but a little applicable)...not too long ago the soap The Young and the Restless (I'm not a die-hard soap fan but its usually on in the background) had this brief storyline of a young guy who got into gambling online. But they REALLY overdid it..he was asking to borrow money from the maid, then he was stealing/pawning his grandmother's jewels, then all of a sudden he owes bookies off of another coast tens of thousands of dollars...COME ON!!! and all within 2 weeks time..but, hey, what do you expect from a soap?? Just wonder whose idea it all was/or whose influence. This would be playing while I was gambling away, of course, but nothing like that "character". Geesh!
 

blankley

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Cynthia -

This program included Sharna Baker who lost over 550,000 in 5 months betting on horses, mostly at William Hill - who declined to be on the program.

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Simmo!

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I watched it. It was pretty good actually. An Irish guy presented it and interviewed people from both sides of the fence while conducting an online poker experiment over a month with a good poker player.

As expected, it delved into the losses and consequences thereof, though interestingly this was on sports betting. The underlying theme was that the Internet makes gambling too accessible, and thus potentially more addictive which is a very fair point.

I don't think the word "casino" was mentioned once - it was very Poker and Sports oriented, although while talking about the arrests, it failed to point out the reasons accurately.

The people interviewed from within the industry probably weren't the best choices - Calvin Ayre who came over much like you'd expect, Jon Anderson of 888 who doesn't exactly exude warmth and charm, and a UK minister (Caborn?) working with Tessa Jowell who appeared almost unneccesarily defensive and didn't really succeed (IMO) in putting across the benefits of regulation.

Overall, nothing we didn't already know, some glaring gaps in the commentary/knowledge which is probably understandable, but the things I took from it were a) the industry could do more to ensure that punters are betting within their means (the Will Hill example mentioned above a prime example) and b) the message about regulation being used to help and treat the minority of problem gamblers is an important factor in it's favour - if indeed that is the plan - and needs to be wielded more if this is to be taken seriously.

Did make me chuckle when they said they couldn't get a response out of William Hill. Old news :)
 

vinylweatherman

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Poker again!

Yet again, the program heavily featured poker, and only touched on other forms of gambling.
The reporter gave $2000 to a professional poker player with the challenge to double it, at which point the reporter would take the $4000.
The poker pro did it in around 48 hours, much to the surprise of the reporter. He then got greedy, and they both then tried to see how far they could go, naturally, the high stakes games the poker pro played resulted in the whole $4000 vanishing just as quickly. This was dramatised in a negative light, however, the poker pro made an average of $20,000 to $30,000 per month on high stakes cash tables. This kind of swing would be nothing for him to break sweat over!
Also featured were a woman who stole 500,000 to feed her online horse race betting habit, and William Hill caught it as the site that had it all.
Several interviewees expressed views, one "it is evil", others made more sense, saying the dangers were the ease of getting credit to gamble, and the convenience coupled with the abstract nature of the money when it is used online. I agree with this, and one helpful regulation would be to ban the use of credit to gamble online, so that only debit cards can be used. Gamblers could then only use their own money (or money borrowed in a way that gave them a few days to think about it).
The other important subject touched on was how to prevent big problems due to gambling addiction. Operators mentioned how they looked out for problem gamblers, but failed to tackle the issue of how to identify them (not easy!).
The CEO of 888.com, a "reputable casino" based in Gibraltar was interviewed, and managed a neat bit of product placement - I wonder how many new players will join because it was on Panorama so must be reputable because the BBC said so (or rather said nothing to the contrary). Spam and site scraping were not mentioned, a question any self respecting reporter should have brought up; nothing was mentioned about how casinos currently work, such as affiliates, problems with getting paid etc.

I am still waiting for a decent in depth report. Perhaps it should be done dispatches style (channel four), with a reporter becoming an online gambler for a year, and experiencing the whole scene themselves.
 
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