Since the dawn of gambling, where ancient civilisations would offer their wares, betting on all manner of occasions, from animal races to sporting events, and since the first recognised casino houses, men have pitted their wits or put their faith in the gods in an attempt to increase what little money they had, or to regain what they had previously lost.

Of course you can reach far back into ancient times to recognise the influence of Asian and Egyptian cultures, where gambling on peoples lives and the outcome of sporting events in large arenas was common, as was the use of knuckle bones as dice. Casino houses nowadays provide a more modern background. Said to be of Italian origin dating back to the 1700s, and made popular by the Americans who first experienced casino houses back in the 1800s, they have now become a popular feature of city entertainment throughout the modern world.

Gambling itself is deeply embedded in many cultures and civilisations. From the Far East to the Western Worlds, whether simply tossing a coin to decide a fate, or offering odds on sporting results, gambling is inherent in us all. In the UK alone 300,000 people are said to have a gambling addiction with some 6.5% of these related to casino gambling.

But what is it about gambling that makes it so addictive. For example, is winning at casino games all about the money? Of course, it is the ultimate aim for any player to depart with as much of the Casino club’s cash as possible, and for most amateur players the aim is to at least come away without losing too much of your salary. But really casino addiction can be more about the feeling and the euphoria of winning rather than the actual cash prize gained.

It is this state of euphoria which is said to be the main cause of gambling addiction rather than the chance of increasing your profits. Most top gamblers, that is, most gamblers who play with big money, do not necessarily need the prize money on offer. Many stars who currently earn millions of pounds each year are heavy poker players and casino gamblers themselves, and do not necessarily need the money. Of course winning one million pounds in a casino, for example, will change most peoples lives, and would be gratefully received by anyone with any degree of wealth, but there are many big gamblers out there who are losing thousands of pounds per night, just content with the thrill of playing, and addicted to the adrenalin highs and lows that can be experienced when gambling at a casino. The social element and the feeling of escapism are two other ingredients that can fuel gambling addiction. TV and films have also gone some way to promote a glamorous feel to the industry.

Researchers from the Neuroscience and Psychiatry Unit at Manchester University UK are investigating decision making strategies in order to discover why pathological gamblers feel the need to gamble, usually in an uncontrolled way and usually in spite of previous heavy losses.

They are also investigating what brain areas may be involved in the creation of these decision-making strategies. They are also interested in brain areas involved in the urge to gamble, the precursor to the act of gambling.

Pathological gamblers appear to have different decision making strategies in certain situations compared to non gamblers, for example, when faced with choices which have delayed rewards as opposed to instant gratification. These decision-making strategies are thought to contribute or cause pathological gambling behaviours.

The turnover from gambling in the UK is said to be around £42 billion per year. Over £1.5 billion of this goes to the government in taxes. And while the UK government’s new gambling commission are looking at ways to ensure that gambling is conducted in a child friendly, crime free manner, the recent proposals and changes make it easier to join casinos. The government proposals are also said to allow the construction of las vegas style gambling resorts in the UK. So while gambling is something we may all love to do on occasion, the addiction itself is a big problem. However, with the recent casino proposals the government seem as addicted to providing gambling solutions as much as the UK population are addicted to gambling itself.

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Bingo And Online Gambling On The Up!

A complete rethink of bingo club layout, location and promotion may soon follow the smoking ban, as players from one such land based club in Plymouth, UK, recently experienced the full force of the ban as they were moved on by the Police as they sought to smoke a quick cigarette outside the club main doors. The Police did not take kindly to over 100 people smoking on a main road outside the Gala bingo hall and moved them on or back into the club, minus their cigarettes.

The smoking ban may cause land based bingo clubs to rethink how they advertise and promote softer games in between typical bingo games. It may be that players who are itching for a cigarette could be further enticed into playing slots or similar games in order to help ease their tension or to take their mind away from wanting a cigarette.

Whatever the clubs do to try to keep their players, they will have a tough fight on their hands as online bingo at home allows people the freedom to smoke a cigarette while enjoying the benefits of playing bingo and socialising.

The UK Gambling Commission recently released its updated report on remote gambling and this shows an increase in online gambling over recent months. So the future for online bingo gambling looks rosy.

But it may mean that some players are prevented from playing their favourite game altogether. Consider the 55 + year olds whose only weekly pleasure is an outing to a bingo hall, to meet with their friends and have a cigarette and a chin wag. Those of such an age may not be PC savvy and could find it frustrating that they can no longer smoke in the bingo halls and cannot use a PC to play online. Indeed the report by the Gambling Commission shows that of those surveyed only 5% of 55+ year olds had tried some form of remote or online gambling.

The Gambling Commission might be happy that some people will be prevented from gambling as it could potentially reduce the numbers who end up with gambling problems and could paint a prettier picture in terms of the overall numbers spending hard earned cash gambling online.

However, figures just released show that this reduction is not necessarily going to happen as some 9% of those surveyed in the past two months said they had tried some form of online gambling, up 3% on the previous year for the same period.

While online bingo players still lag behind online poker and online betting players in terms of the percentage who have actually tried some form of online gambling, it does show the second biggest increase for the same period from the previous year.

Behind the National Lottery which showed 1% growth in June 2007, from June 2006, online bingo shows a close 0.5% for the same period, thus proving that it has caught up with online poker and betting as a popular form of gambling with less percentage growth. Proving also that people are entrusting online bingo sites as a legitimate gambling form.

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Enjoying A Flutter

Most of us enjoy a flutter every now and again, and a bet that pays out can prove very rewarding – no pun intended – but what are the origins of the casino, how has this shaped the modern casino we all know of today, and how are casinos regulated?
A casino is defined as, “a facility that houses and accommodates certain types of gambling activities”, and as we know, the modern casino offers not only a chance for legitimised gambling but also very often provides entertainment such as stand-up comedy, concerts, and sporting events.

The origin of actual gambling is unknown, but the first recorded instance of gambling taking place is from Chinese scripts dating back to 2300 BC. It is also a commonly held theory that gambling in some form has been present in most societies right through recorded time, from Ancient Greece right up to Elizabethan England.
The origins of the casino that we know today are in the USA, where the casino capital is located, Las Vegas. In America, casinos were originally known as saloons, and were traditionally a place where travellers could find people to talk, drink and gamble with. Eventually, in the United States at least, gambling was outlawed, along with drinking, until 1931 when the aforementioned gambling capital was allowed gambling centres, spawning some of the original casinos.

Today gambling, and more specifically casinos, are a multi-billion pound industry, and in the western world are widespread and wildly successful enterprises. There are hundreds of casinos in the USA alone, and worldwide numbers easily go into the thousand.
Casinos, and more generally gambling as a whole is usually regulated by a government appointed body. In the UK this body is the Great Britain Gambling Commission, and was established under the Gambling Act 2005, gaining full powers in 2007. The commissions aims are, “to keep crime out of gambling, to ensure that gambling is conducted fairly and openly, and to protect children and vulnerable people”. The commission isn’t directly linked to the government, however it is sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

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