The Alarm Is Sounding On NFTs

Baffle

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One on hand, I can sympathise: gambling is a terrible addiction that can take everything away incredibly quickly, and the measures the UK gambling industry have in place to prevent this are laughably pointless. Lip service of the most arsehole kind, considering how they lobbied against the measures against fixed odds betting terminals.

OTOH, I'm pretty wary of the jump to 'addiction' when it's a cover for negative behaviour (gambling with other people's money) in the pursuit of financial gain (we would not accept that someone was addicted to committing fraud, or at least if we did we would not be sympathetic.) Also: crypto nonce.
 

CM156

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One on hand, I can sympathise: gambling is a terrible addiction that can take everything away incredibly quickly, and the measures the UK gambling industry have in place to prevent this are laughably pointless. Lip service of the most arsehole kind, considering how they lobbied against the measures against fixed odds betting terminals.

OTOH, I'm pretty wary of the jump to 'addiction' when it's a cover for negative behaviour (gambling with other people's money) in the pursuit of financial gain (we would not accept that someone was addicted to committing fraud, or at least if we did we would not be sympathetic.) Also: crypto nonce.
I understand that our way of understanding addiction is evolving constantly, and that past methods of thinking are incorrect and harmful. All that stuff.
And at the same time, I don't think this excuses his behavior in any way.
Maybe it's because I don't really "get" gambling addictions.
 
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Baffle

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And at the same time, I don't think this excuses his behavior in any way.
Maybe it's because I don't really "get" gambling addictions.
Oh, I don't think it excuses it any more than I think being an alcoholic excuses drunken misbehaviour*. But I think I can understand it without excusing it (but I don't actually know that this guy is an addict (no idea who he is or whether that would make a difference) -- crying after the fact and blaming actions on something you may or may not have control over is just a responsibility dodge in many cases.

But gambling addiction strikes me as one of the easiest ones to understand, because you're always chasing your loses. There's the dopamine (biggest hit being before you know if you've won or lost IIRC), the desperation, and you might actually win big.

I never gamble. The fucks at Bet365 will not get a fucking penny from me. I would rather put a pound in the bin every day than give it to those bastards. A few members of my family are gambling addicts, and have literally lost jobs, houses and relationships over it. And they still keep doing it, so no one trusts them any more. No one chooses to be that way, it's shit!

Like, I think it's nuts that people get addicted to smoking, because I tried it when I was a kid and it was horrible; didn't like it at all. But with gambling you might win. I mean, you won't, but you might.

*Drink drivers take note: you're addicted to drinking, not driving.
 

Schadrach

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*Drink drivers take note: you're addicted to drinking, not driving.
I have a friend who's a functional alcoholic and this was his exact takeaway from getting pulled over on a DUI something like 100' from his house. He outright told the counselor he was ordered to see that he had no plans of stopping drinking, or even slowing down at it - he's just going to plan better and do any errands he needs to do before he starts drinking for the weekend.
 
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Baffle

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I have a friend who's a functional alcoholic and this was his exact takeaway from getting pulled over on a DUI something like 100' from his house. He outright told the counselor he was ordered to see that he had no plans of stopping drinking, or even slowing down at it - he's just going to plan better and do any errands he needs to do before he starts drinking for the weekend.
I would applaud his sense of personal responsibility if the wake-up call hadn't been necessary -- if people want to drink themselves mercifully senseless that's 100% okay (help should be available if they decide not to); it's just not okay to drive in the process. Drink driving is something I don't think we take very seriously in the UK right up until someone is killed or maimed, and then it becomes serious. It's a serious crime regardless of consequence on that one occasion (I would, as it goes, issue lifetime driving bans on a single DUI, so running errands would get tricky either way). It's just such an unnecessary thing to do - get a taxi, train, bus, Uber, lift from a friend, whatever!
 

Ag3ma

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I understand that our way of understanding addiction is evolving constantly, and that past methods of thinking are incorrect and harmful. All that stuff.
And at the same time, I don't think this excuses his behavior in any way.
Maybe it's because I don't really "get" gambling addictions.
There's something called the "reward pathway" in the brain; mostly ventral tegmental area to nucleus accumbens (and wider striatum). Key to this is the activity of the neurotransmitter dopamine. The feeling of euphoria from drugs of abuse is largely connected to release of dopamine acting on the reward pathway. One might note that the least addictive drugs of abuse (most hallucinogens, e.g. cannabis, ecstasy, LSD, ketamine, psilocybin, etc.) have relatively little impact on dopamine release in the reward pathway.

There are then two unfortunate effects. Excessive activity of dopamine causes a feedback system to reduce further the body's normal release of dopamine, so that when the drug goes away, there is insufficient activity in the reward pathway and it makes people feel unhappy. This will probably recover in a few days, maybe a couple of weeks after persistent drug use, but it creates a short term drive for people to take drugs to take away their psychological discomfort.

Secondly, dopamine also increases the strength of communication (effectively the same sort of biological mechanism that forms memories) between the nucleus accumbens and the prefrontal cortex, which deals with conscious thought. This causes a psychological drive to seek the use of drugs, and is effectively permanent: once an addict, always an addict. They will be, lifelong, very vulnerable to relapse through factors like cognitive triggers, stress, and so on. That's why the key of alcoholics anonymous is to avoid having even a small amount of alcohol, because once they do they'll probably go on a full-on bender. Also why tobacco advertising was banned in many places.

So, to get to gambling, this pathway is also involved with impulsive or risky behaviours, which can create potent dopamine hits. One might note that schizophrenics, notable for impulsive behaviour, are theorised to have excessive activity through dopamine signalling in this pathway (and their meds reduce the effect of dopamine). Conversely, people taking medication for Parkinson's disease (which increases dopamine signalling) can develop impulsive behaviours - including a tendency to gambling. Thus gambling can, and probably should, be viewed as sharing similar risks with drug abuse.

I'd certainly share your view that gambling addicts have to take some responsibility for their gambling. However, there's also logic to view gambling companies as pushers, and regulating them or holding them accountable for potential exploitation. Such laws exist in some countries, where gambling firms are required to provide their services with some duty of care, and cease doing business with those they have reason to believe may have a problem.
 

Ag3ma

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If you don't mind my asking; what happened with the Agema account?
Maybe they banned it, but I'm guessing not as I don't think I'd done anything unreasonable for a long time.

It needed an email verification every 30 days, but one day I tried to log on and either it wouldn't send the email or it got lost in e-transit. And it carried on being like that, thus I was locked out of my account. Eventually I emailed Escapist (any email addresses I could find, anyway) to ask them to fix it and either no-one did anything, or those replies disappeared into the ether too.

Then I just didn't bother with the site for a month or so: assuming it's just a technical error, maybe the universe was telling me something. And maybe I'll just go anyway in the end, because losing a ~13 year account feels a bit like losing a chunk of oneself. Yet to decide.
 

Ag3ma

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There was a technical issue where anyone who had it set to send the Email couldn't get it sent; they've since fixed it. As for the lack of technical support... well, yeah.
Well, it still wasn't working for me by the end of 2022. Hence this account.
 

Silvanus

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There was a technical issue where anyone who had it set to send the Email couldn't get it sent; they've since fixed it. As for the lack of technical support... well, yeah.
Hah, remember when the last proprietors got rid of all the tech support staff? That was a fun time.
 
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Ag3ma

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Hah, remember when the last proprietors got rid of all the tech support staff? That was a fun time.
Mm, I'm sure that sort of thing has been in the news recently...


But don't worry: whoever's left is hardcore intensive working.
 
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Baffle

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Conversely, people taking medication for Parkinson's disease (which increases dopamine signalling) can develop impulsive behaviours - including a tendency to gambling.
My FIL has early-onset Parkinson's and some of the medication side effects are a nightmare -- hard to tell where the disease ends and the medication begins in some places.
 

davidmc1158

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And maybe I'll just go anyway in the end, because losing a ~13 year account feels a bit like losing a chunk of oneself. Yet to decide.
Gonna echo Satinavian on this one, it would be a shame to have you go. I always admired the quality of your arguments and the measured patience with which you carried them out.

It's nice to see you again on the forums. Welcome back, for however long you decide to stay around.