Social media will, understandably, be filled mainly with the bad experiences. This is because the bad experiences not only stick in our minds, they also influence the way we then behave. For example, a bad experience of betting with one Bookie will mean that you turn to others.
Understandable as it is, part of the problem focussing on the negative is that what gets neglected is the idea of trying to provide a positive experience for the gambling consumer. In the same way that a focus on “gambling harm” makes us forget that most gambling is not harmful.
As a recreational gambler, with a record of attending two horse racing meetings this summer, and picking zero winners, we need to remember that the experience of betting is not just about bookmakers restricting or banning those punters who are profitable.
Annoying as those bans and restrictions are – and something does need to be done – a bigger problem is the hurdles that are already there for people like myself (a losing punter) which are set to get worse once we hear what comes out of the Gambling Review.
A lot of us have a tale to tell about the way in which we have had particular problems with a gambling company. It is absolutely fine for that to be part of a discussion. But I do worry about the way that "Bookie-bashing" can often turn into "anti-gambling".
Punters should, of course, have their say in all of this. And I hope that the programme on Sunday takes account of what they think. I have written about the importance of doing so in a previous article: slotshawk.com/news/why-punte…
But "Gambling can be fun - deal with it", I wrote earlier this year: thegreatdebate.org.uk/GamblingJan22.… I also wrote: "Miserabilists seem to dominate the narrative on gambling at present. Let's make this the year to try and change that."
The focus of raising any concerns about betting should always be with the aim to try to get a resolution - to change things for the better Improving the experience of gamblers needs to be the focus in what we do. That won't happen unless we have it as a central in the discussion
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