Tuesday, 26 March 2013

A giant fox head bellowing from the coach of the damned

It turns out gambling yourself into a whimpering pile of debt via your smartphone is a national pastime over here. Got a spare few minutes at work? Hit the bingo. Just sitting at home with two friends? Time for bingo. Playing bingo? Play more bingo. With your feet.

All this life-changing bingo playing is then followed up with an instant payday loan to smooth over any gaping holes you've just smashed into your bank statement, and then rounded off with a quick trip down to the local Cash4Gold (with whatever old mobiles, gold teeth and treasured family heirlooms you can scrape together) to pay off that loan before it multiplies by 1700%, leaving you back in the black, but now with slightly less stuff. It's a vicious cycle, with each revolution costing you one teapot each time you go around. Unless you manage to hurl yourself down some stairs, which will handily net you a cool £11,000. Well. Probably.

Of course, this is all just an assumption based on the sheer volume of bingo, payday loan, pawnbroker and injury lawyer ads.

An apparently hands-off approach to online-casino adverts has resulted in nearly every ad break containing at least 60 of them. Foxy Bingo. Mecca Bingo. Bung A Random Word In Front Bingo.

The ads themselves aren't much better. Foxy Bingo, for some reason or another, features a terrifying man-fox grooving and jiving aboard some kind of purgatory bus that hurtles round the country, filled with British stereotypes from eras gone by. Doomed to wander the earth and endlessly repeat catchphrases at one another for all time -- they can't cross over to the light until you play some bingo.

There're other, slightly saner, ads. Mr Green sits in a chair and pulls a lever -- where will you be whisked off to today? Athens? Monaco? Your front room? It's more likely your front room. You'll still be sat in the same old house pissing your life up the wall, but you'll have a fancy little backdrop of pyramids and hieroglyphics to entertain you in between the bouts of sobbing. If you're lucky, Mr Green might turn up every now and then and dip his bowler hat at you and say something cryptic at you, you devilish card. Wink Bingo refreshingly (for an ad) features topless men jigging about -- but then you realise this is because they're probably trying to target stay-at-home mums.

The worst might be Paddy Power's ad for their bingo app. A woman attending a yoga class opts to sneak out and do a bit of gambling in the car instead. A bit like, oh, a gambling addict. It's only a matter of time before some lad's mag has an ad where they replace 'yoga' with 'work', and 'gambling' with, er, 'reading'. 


  1. I don't even watch telly in the UK (it is broke, so am I) and I'm still disturbed by the omnipresence of gambling outlets. In NZ I was only aware of the TAB, and they seemed tucked away in sad corners for the most part. Here you can walk 15 mins down one main road and pass 8 betting parlours. Where the TAB tried to legitimise itself and appeal to the wider, younger market, the equivalent here seem happy to slum in the back dens, even advertising on illegal tv download sites alongside porn and get-rich-quick schemes. Not that I'd know of course, I never use those sites... It surprises me that advertising is allowed for betting tho', since it's banned for many other vices.

  2. It's completely insane, yeah. You can bet on anything here. Anything. And when you sign up you get 30 pounds of free bets! Destitute in no time.

    The payday loan thing scares me the most, though: even in the US, where it's your god-given right to be a massive idiot without a safety net, they have restraints on these things. And yet the UK is only just starting to pull the reins on them. Weird.