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So I always said when the restrictions on the roulette and the £50 spins on the fobts happen I'll be back in the bookies and excited for it! Not necessarily to play the fobts but more a little of everything, dogs, horses, football accas, fight for the racing post, chat with my fellow gamblers and staff. I used to love going whether it was putting on a yankee bet before work or picking up some football accas and going to the pub with mates to discuss the days bets, those 10,000/1 bets with 50p, it was all just a bit of fun. There was no real degen atmosphere, ofcourse you'd see the odd person that always wore the same clothes and stealing the pens that you knew had issues but the majority it was a just a hobby and flutter. Some of the bookies I went to (mainly independent ones) the staff were even betting themselves and cheering on with the punters. You'd have some old timers hogging the racing post betting 50p a race but were full of near misses, big win and bad beat stories so were seen as legends. I won't go into the story of then what happened in the years to come when fobts got introduced as we all know that story. But fast forward to a few months ago when I decided to go back to the bookies and had been going maybe 2/3 times per week. Two of the 4 bookies near me had closed down, the two left I didn't recognise anyone or any of the staff. Nobody reads the racing post, the seats are pretty much always empty, the staff maybe grunt to you about which terminal you'd want your money put on but apart from that never talk or even look up, the fobts are still pretty much always occupied with a mix of younger and older generations, the older betting 20/50p per spin whereas the younger generations betting £1/£2 doing fortune spins and pie gambles. The fortune spins which have replaced the big spins are pretty much the same thing in the end and if anything will tilt you more! The reductions in my eyes hasn't really solved anything to protect those that have issues, the stakes even at £2 a spin can hoover 1k pretty quick especially on fortune spins, for me it was more of coming up with a system that worked to make sure those that did have issues wouldn't be able to sit down infront of a machine in the first place! In the last few months I've seen the same old, people swearing at them shaking and kicking them, having arguments with their partners some while their child is waiting outside for them, arguments with the staff, I've had confrontations by just catching their eye while they're playing as if I'm some sort of lurker giving them bad luck. All in all the machines for me have still killed the atmosphere and the entertainment for what I wanted and used to experience at the bookies. I think Brownman has the right idea of going once every couple of months with a group of mates and making a day of it and thats the only time I'll be back in them. It may sound stupid but for me it is a little sad as it was a past time I truly enjoyed.
High stake sessions should require some sort of vetting system and membership before being able to spend a shit load of money. I have self excluded myself from the Ladbrokes near to where I work twice via gamble aware and by filling in the self exclusion form yet I walk in just last week a blow 2.5k! But Im told it’s a voluntary exclusion - what the fuck does that even mean! Am I being dumb or should the bookies treat customer the same as in a casino by having a registration to be allowed in? Fuck the fobts Tom