In my trawls of the net for bingo related info I recently came across an article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer that covered illicit bingo games which were being used for political ends. It turns out that local councillors were giving out free bingo cards to villagers with their names printed on the back, the prizes not being cash, but prizes. There is nothing new about politicians using bingo, both major parties have used it in this country to raise funds in the last century.
The article got me thinking about the notion of bingo and gambling itself, the article title “Is bingo an illegal numbers game or not?” conjures up images of Brooklyn, cement boots, and mob hits. Obviously bingo is a form of gambling, that goes without saying, but the term ‘gambling’ is a problematic one, as it has negative connotations.
Many gaming platforms use the term ‘invest’ to advertise their services. The commodities trading platforms are rife with this sort marketing language. New traders can ‘earn money’ by learning how to ‘predict’ the way in which markets and currencies will move.
Now I’m not say that bingo and forex are the same. With bingo it is sheer luck, whereas with forex, some traders are very good at making money. But, often, their success may be more down to money management rather than having developed a crystal ball that will predict which way currencies are going to move. And, retail traders can lose a lot of money, much more than your average online bingo player. The stock market is also guilty of representing itself as the science of trading when it can in fact deciding whether or not to buy or sell can turn out to be a spin of the wheel.
Property investment is another form of gambling that is not advertised as such. There are websites that advertise ‘under valued’ houses for sale so that you can leap in and make a killing with your investment. The buy to let market during the nineties proved to be more of a gamble than an investment as many saw their capital slip away when negative equity kicked in across the country. And, second home owners abroad in countries such as Spain have really felt the pinch over recent years.
There also may be a class element in the use of language, as bingo historically has been a working class pastime. Perhaps the working classes are feckless gamblers, whereas the middle classes are the sensible investors? (We think not).
At least bingo is upfront when it advertises. Win, not earn. How about investing in a game at Mecca Bingo ?