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BiggerBoat
Sep 26, 2007

For That you Get the Head...

The Tail...

The Whole Damned Thing

Those sped up disclaimers at the end of radio ads and all that blurry fine print on TV ads that no one can read should definitely count as scams because they basically say " everything we just said or showed you is complete bullshit and you WILL be hosed"

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CleverHans
Apr 25, 2011
Probation
Can't post for 3977 days!


doctorfrog posted:

This is just me, but I'd welcome any analysis of the actual tricks or processes that anything from casinos to corporations to street-level conmen use to get people to do something that they otherwise wouldn't.

IMO, casinos and lotteries are scams. You need your mind clouded at least a little to part with your money for these things, even if you "know" you won't win and you just do it for a mild "thrill."

Great, now what? What are their mechanisms? How do they manage to avoid being popularly labeled as scams, or how do we as a culture offload the responsibility from them onto their victims? How do they leverage power structures to maintain their dominance, and how much are they like 'legitimate' businesses or religions? What's the truth of what's going on and how can we self-inoculate? I'm interested in stuff like that. I dunno, any good documentaries or anything?

Reminds me, I need to find a copy of Randi's Flim-Flam!

I disagree on the whole "casinos and lotteries are scams" thing: pretty much everybody knows there is a house advantage and they spend their money on it anyway because *maybe this time I beat the odds!*

That said, as an occasional Vegas traveler, I have definitely noticed a few things that could be construed as putting the finger on the scale even more.

Roulette: European wheels have a single zero on them, standard US ones typically have 2 zeros: I have been seeing ones that have *3* zeros on them with, of course, the same payouts as the single and double zero wheels. You do the math on that.

Blackjack: Old school tables paid out 3:2 on a blackjack - most now pay 6:5.

These are kinda moot, as it seems like everyone is feeding money into all the massive, video-heavy slot machines, and god knows what the relative odds are for all of those.

CleverHans
Apr 25, 2011
Probation
Can't post for 3977 days!


CleverHans posted:

These are kinda moot, as it seems like everyone is feeding money into all the massive, video-heavy slot machines, and god knows what the relative odds are for all of those.

Quoting myself here as, upon re-reading, this is probably more what you are looking for.

All the modern slot machines are engineered to have the absolutely most insidious combinations of lights/sounds/mechanics/payout ratios to basically act like crack cocaine on the brains of the customers.

Tunicate
May 15, 2012





There's an A/T thread from a guy who did slot machine music, if someone can dig it up

Konstantin
Jun 20, 2005
And the Lord said, "Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.

Plus you have complex promotions designed to get you to gamble away hundreds of dollars chasing a "free" buffet. You also have status levels, put just a few thousand more through the machine and you get access to the ultra exclusive Diamond Lounge, with slightly nicer furniture and free food that totally isn't whatever the restaurant kitchens have too much of!

Edit: Sometimes players do take unfair advantage of poorly thought out promotions. I remember hearing about a casino that was doing a food drive, and for every pound of food brought in you got a ticket to a drawing with a $5000 grand prize. One player worked in the grocery industry, and he could get cheap canned food for $0.20 a pound if he bought enough. He literally brought in multiple pallets, with a total weight of over a ton, and the food bank couldn't use most of it as it was going to expire in a few months.

Konstantin fucked around with this message at 04:44 on Sep 9, 2019

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

-=SEND HELP=-




Pillbug

It's even a mathematical concept that has an actual name; Gambler's Ruin.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambler%27s_ruin

The core of it is that the only possible state a gambler can be in where gambling is no longer possible is having nothing to gamble. The casino is going to keep you gambling as long as possible as your luck will run out eventually. It's mathematically guaranteed. Not only do they bank on the fact that normal distribution guarantees you'll come ahead if you make enough bets at a 51% chance of winning they also try to keep you gambling long enough that you'll head back down to some place below where you started.

If you walk in with $1,000, gamble until you have $20,000, then keep going until you have $100 it's easy to think "well I won $19,000 at one point." This is incorrect; the casino won $900.

HerStuddMuffin
Aug 10, 2014

YOSPOS


The only lottery thatís not a scam is the mega million type, where the grand prize is several tens or hundreds of millions. The chances of winning are astronomically low but for the people playing itís a more likely option for getting ahead in life than everything else at their disposal.

When you donít have access to education, family fortune, or investment banking and working harder will only get you more work, dumb luck is pretty much your only shot at ever owning a house. I mean, itís either that or armed robbery, and those tend to not end well.

doctorfrog
Mar 14, 2007

Great.



I saw this shortly after my request:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Kj8rX_5qmc
It's basically about a social media celeb making a buck hawking trash to her fanbase. Nice little modern scam, kinda reminds me of one of those old west medicine shows. Build up an audience with a free show, sell crap, never admit fault until the last dollar is extracted, make a getaway, start a tax-free churchy business or whatever next.

I'll admit it's debatable calling casinos "scams" in the same way selling defective makeup is a straight up scam. But I think it's worth looking at them through a scammer's lens, especially since they've bought their legitimacy, aren't going anywhere, and make bank on peoples' vulnerabilities.

Part of the mechanism by which they escape scrutiny is that we tend to think of those who get taken advantage of as idiots, as in, "Thank god we're not idiots like they are, I have a system and never spend more than $100, you'd have to be an idiot otherwise." Sure, some of 'em are. And some are vulnerable, the same way a street-level mark might be vulnerable to the message of a cult, business, or hustler. I bet some of the tactics of short-circuiting our self-protections are similar.

Saucer Crab
Apr 2, 2009






My dad worked at a small, independent convenience store back in the 90s for a short while. The rolls of scratch-of tickets came with a total sum of the prize listing, so while no one could know which one would be winners, if the roll was nearly out and there was an obvious big ticket in the roll that likely hadn't been claimed yet, the owner would buy out the last few tickets and find the winner for herself. This was almost certainly illegal but not like anyone was going to do anything about it.

goatsestretchgoals
Jun 4, 2011



Here in Oregon we make the bars that have video poker machines (all of them) put up at least 2 Oregon Lottery posters reminding you that there is an 800 number for a gambling addiction helpline that may or may not be staffed at 2AM on a Sunday.

LIVE AMMO COSPLAY
Feb 3, 2006



In Australia, tv ads for sports betting apps had to be limited to certain hours because they were rapidly taking over every ad break. If you watch any live sports on tv it's still pretty much 100% that.

greazeball
Feb 4, 2003





I like the British betting site advert that turned the Gambling Addiction Disclaimer into their slogan: We Gamble Responsibly, at Bet365.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dz9RfAlWJgM

SMEGMA_MAIL
May 4, 2018
my avatar is better than my posting

Regulated gambling isnít a scam. It may prey on human weaknesses but everything is exactly as it appears. Itís not any more of a scam than drugs. A scam in my mind requires some sort of deception.

iajanus
Aug 17, 2004

#GOAT


SpaceSDoorGunner posted:

Regulated gambling isn’t a scam. It may prey on human weaknesses but everything is exactly as it appears. It’s not any more of a scam than drugs. A scam in my mind requires some sort of deception.

I agree. It's unethical because it preys on people who are unable to control themselves, but at the end of the day it's not misrepresenting itself - they're not saying you're definitely winning a cent.

hyperhazard
Dec 4, 2011

I am the one lascivious
With magic potion niveous

CleverHans posted:

Quoting myself here as, upon re-reading, this is probably more what you are looking for.

All the modern slot machines are engineered to have the absolutely most insidious combinations of lights/sounds/mechanics/payout ratios to basically act like crack cocaine on the brains of the customers.

I can't for the life of me find it now, but I read a blog post by a slot machine programmer who explained that they're not just random number generators, they're actually programmed to give you "almost" jackpots at regular intervals to keep you playing. That blew my mind.

Tunicate
May 15, 2012





In several jurisdictions bingo is legal but other forms of gambling are jot, so the slot machines are actually just simulating bingo internally, then putting a different skin on it.

http://www.casinocenter.com/class-ii-vs-class-iii-video-poker-machines/

So the slot machine slots and the video poker cards don't actually matter in the slightest, it's all smoke and mirrors for the real multiplayer bingo game behind the scenes. So if the machine says 'royal flush', it'll force the outcome to be a royal flush regardless of which cards you hold or discard.

Zamujasa
Oct 27, 2010





Bread Liar

hyperhazard posted:

I can't for the life of me find it now, but I read a blog post by a slot machine programmer who explained that they're not just random number generators, they're actually programmed to give you "almost" jackpots at regular intervals to keep you playing. That blew my mind.

Not sure how much of this is the case. A lot of the stuff I see in casinos definitely makes the 'near miss' more visually exciting, but not really programmed to do it at any particular interval.

More likely is just that the odds (and the visual depiction of results) is what drives these.

Here's an example slot machine. It's got three reels, one payline through the middle, and each reel has 6 "spaces"; three blanks (worthless), a 7, a BAR, and a cherry.

A naive look would assume the odds are pretty decent; you have a 1 in 216 chance of getting all three of the same symbol, which in this game is the only one that matters.

code:
          1   2   3   4   5   6
          |   |   |   |   |   |
Reel 1   --- 777 --- BAR --- o'o
Reel 2   --- 777 --- BAR --- o'o
Reel 3   --- 777 --- BAR --- o'o
However, internally, the slot machine represents its reels in a different way. For this example, 30 'stops' on each reel, which are mapped to the real visual stops on the reels.

code:
Reel 1   111111122223333333344455556666
Reel 2   111111112223333333444445555566
Reel 3   111111111233333333344455556666

(with blanks removed)

Reel 1   .......2222........444....6666
Reel 2   ........222.......44444.....66
Reel 3   .........2.........444....6666
                  |          |        |
             1/2250      1/600    1/843

The slot machine randomly chooses from 1 to 30 for each, then displays the stop that it maps to. In this way, even though there's no specific programming to drive 7-7-X appearances, they (and near misses) will be quite frequent - especially as the reels will often stop on a blank next to the 7.

Most modern slots work on a similar methodology, though the flashier ones mix in additional bullshit rules like stops that take on a random value or other features.



Tunicate posted:

In several jurisdictions bingo is legal but other forms of gambling are jot, so the slot machines are actually just simulating bingo internally, then putting a different skin on it.

http://www.casinocenter.com/class-ii-vs-class-iii-video-poker-machines/

So the slot machine slots and the video poker cards don't actually matter in the slightest, it's all smoke and mirrors for the real multiplayer bingo game behind the scenes. So if the machine says 'royal flush', it'll force the outcome to be a royal flush regardless of which cards you hold or discard.
That seems extremely shady, but I'm from Nevada, where our gaming regulations state that if a video game uses a deck of cards or die, the randomness behind it must actually match those things. e.g. poker games that show a standard 52-card deck must actually use a fair 52-card deck behind the scenes. With machines that follow those rules the exact odds of payout / house advantage is fairly trivial to determine. Slot machines and other obfuscated things are typically much harder if not impossible to analyze and usually have much worse payouts as a result.



Basically, gambling is stupid

Happy Thread
Jul 9, 2005

by Fluffdaddy


Plaster Town Cop

Just got a call from Tanya Perkins from the "student loan help center" saying that due to recent changes in the federal student loans forgiveness program, my loans might now qualify for forgiveness provided by the US Dept. of Education. If I want to see if I'm eligible to reduce or eliminate payments I have to call this number, blah blah blah. Scam targeting recent graduates who are way over their heads in debt and feeling anxiety over it

Mr. Fall Down Terror
Jan 24, 2018


hyperhazard posted:

I can't for the life of me find it now, but I read a blog post by a slot machine programmer who explained that they're not just random number generators, they're actually programmed to give you "almost" jackpots at regular intervals to keep you playing. That blew my mind.

scratch off cards do stuff like this also. if your numbers are like 7, 15 you will very likely see the numbers 6, 8, 14, 16 on the card. this is to make you think you were so close to winning. usually there's a giant prize on there too

shame on an IGA
Apr 8, 2005



this is exactly why every time I've felt like flushing a few dollars on scratchers I only scratch the barcode at the bottom and put it right in the checker machine. gently caress you I'm not playing your game, I'm here to lose fast and brutal.

Tubgoat
Jun 30, 2013

by sebmojo


I like it when people don't check closely enough or scan their scratchers 'cause I found $75 in the trash.

SEKCobra
Feb 28, 2011


shame on an IGA posted:

this is exactly why every time I've felt like flushing a few dollars on scratchers I only scratch the barcode at the bottom and put it right in the checker machine. gently caress you I'm not playing your game, I'm here to lose fast and brutal.

They used to list HDHD for empty ones, and the actual value for winners next to the serial number, but they stopped doing that a few months ago, so now you have to scratch it all.
A little part of me was hoping it was empty because you have to pick up the main prizes at a special place and the listed amounts are just for the supermarkets and other small gambling points.

MisterOblivious
Mar 17, 2010


CleverHans posted:

Roulette: European wheels have a single zero on them, standard US ones typically have 2 zeros: I have been seeing ones that have *3* zeros on them with, of course, the same payouts as the single and double zero wheels. You do the math on that.

The house edge is 2.7%, 5.26%, and 7.69%

LIVE AMMO COSPLAY
Feb 3, 2006



Tubgoat posted:

I like it when people don't check closely enough or scan their scratchers 'cause I found $75 in the trash.

Why were you taking a scratcher out of the trash?

hellotoothpaste
Dec 21, 2006

I dare you to call it a perm again..



LIVE AMMO ROLEPLAY posted:

Why were you taking a scratcher out of the trash?

Probably cuz it was worth 75 bux

Tubgoat
Jun 30, 2013

by sebmojo


LIVE AMMO ROLEPLAY posted:

Why were you taking a scratcher out of the trash?
I scooped up all the scratchers to check for second chance entries for my sister, and when I entered the code of a winning ticket, it would alert me. I brought a pile of winners I thought was worth 55 but apparently rang up as 75. :shrug:
$2,561 worth of second chance entries across ~4 drawings, at final tally.

BiggerBoat
Sep 26, 2007

For That you Get the Head...

The Tail...

The Whole Damned Thing

Was there an ask/tell thread about casinos at any point? I seem to vaguely recall one but can't find it.

peanut
Sep 9, 2007




math is hard

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



BiggerBoat posted:

Was there an ask/tell thread about casinos at any point? I seem to vaguely recall one but can't find it.

There's this one Ask me about casinos! Don't lick the machines.

And this one Party all night, sleep all day! Ask me about being a table games dealer!

BigDave
Jul 14, 2009

Taste the High Country


Dumb Lowtax posted:

Just got a call from Tanya Perkins from the "student loan help center" saying that due to recent changes in the federal student loans forgiveness program, my loans might now qualify for forgiveness provided by the US Dept. of Education. If I want to see if I'm eligible to reduce or eliminate payments I have to call this number, blah blah blah. Scam targeting recent graduates who are way over their heads in debt and feeling anxiety over it

All we need for that to happen is 1) Have Warren win in 2020, and 2) every GOP member of the Senate over 70 having simultaneous heart attacks.

Sydin
Oct 29, 2011

Another rainy day commute




I still get at least ten different "refinance your student loans!!!" letters a month from the same 2-3 companies. They've been sending them to me at this pace since graduation day over five years ago.

I finished paying off my student loans this February. They're still sending me refinancing literature. I almost want to call them to tell them if only to save the trees, but on the other hand I don't want to waste one second of my life on them either.

MightyJoe36
Dec 29, 2013

:minnie: Cat Army :minnie:


BigDave posted:

All we need for that to happen is 1) Have Warren win in 2020, and 2) every GOP member of the Senate over 70 having simultaneous heart attacks.

The chances of either one or both of these happening are about as likely as your student loans being forgiven.

Tubgoat
Jun 30, 2013

by sebmojo


MightyJoe36 posted:

The chances of either one or both of these happening are about as likely as your student loans being forgiven.
Actually far less likely than having your student loans forgiven because Bernie has already won.

Zamujasa
Oct 27, 2010





Bread Liar

CleverHans posted:

That said, as an occasional Vegas traveler, I have definitely noticed a few things that could be construed as putting the finger on the scale even more.

Roulette: European wheels have a single zero on them, standard US ones typically have 2 zeros: I have been seeing ones that have *3* zeros on them with, of course, the same payouts as the single and double zero wheels. You do the math on that.

Blackjack: Old school tables paid out 3:2 on a blackjack - most now pay 6:5.

A lot of places locally (Vegas! :sigh: ) have been doing 6:5, to a point where the South Point now advertises that all their tables are 3:2. Same with free parking, even, everywhere else charges for it now.

But I have yet to see a roulette wheel with three zeroes. :stare:

Tunicate
May 15, 2012





BigDave posted:

All we need for that to happen is 1) Have Warren win in 2020, and 2) every GOP member of the Senate over 70 having simultaneous heart attacks.

The secretary of education has the power to unilaterally forgive all outstanding federal student education loans, which is bernie's plan

wizzardstaff
Apr 6, 2018

Zorch! Splat! Pow!


Sydin posted:

I still get at least ten different "refinance your student loans!!!" letters a month from the same 2-3 companies. They've been sending them to me at this pace since graduation day over five years ago.

I finished paying off my student loans this February. They're still sending me refinancing literature. I almost want to call them to tell them if only to save the trees, but on the other hand I don't want to waste one second of my life on them either.

Calling them off won't do a lick of difference. I have never had a student loan, a car loan, or an outstanding warrant and yet I get those scam calls almost daily.

Wicked Them Beats
Apr 1, 2007

Moralists don't really *have* beliefs. Sometimes they stumble on one, like on a child's toy left on the carpet. The toy must be put away immediately. And the child reprimanded.



It's cheaper for them to just blanket everyone in whatever list they have with offers than it would be to properly maintain and curate said list.

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


If anything you'll probably get put on a "warm body at this number" list for more spam.

ToxicSlurpee
Nov 5, 2003

-=SEND HELP=-




Pillbug

Zamujasa posted:

The slot machine randomly chooses from 1 to 30 for each, then displays the stop that it maps to. In this way, even though there's no specific programming to drive 7-7-X appearances, they (and near misses) will be quite frequent - especially as the reels will often stop on a blank next to the 7.

Most modern slots work on a similar methodology, though the flashier ones mix in additional bullshit rules like stops that take on a random value or other features.

That seems extremely shady, but I'm from Nevada, where our gaming regulations state that if a video game uses a deck of cards or die, the randomness behind it must actually match those things. e.g. poker games that show a standard 52-card deck must actually use a fair 52-card deck behind the scenes. With machines that follow those rules the exact odds of payout / house advantage is fairly trivial to determine. Slot machines and other obfuscated things are typically much harder if not impossible to analyze and usually have much worse payouts as a result.

Basically, gambling is stupid

I forget the exact details but there are laws (I think they're federal) that govern slot machines. They're all made by...a pretty small organization or maybe even one company that handles all the innards to keep them in regulation. Slot machines got nicknamed "one-armed bandits" as they had a very bad problem with being rigged before they were regulated. As we already know people are loving terrible and you'd have slot machines that would just never actually pay out a jackpot, ever. They're obviously still stacked in the house's favor but there are actual rules governing how often they have to give out jackpots, the payouts they can have, the odds, and what have you. Most of them are of course digital rather than mechanical these days and the programs have to simulate the same odds and what have you as the mechanical ones.

They're watched pretty closely and the penalties for deviating at all are gargantuan. Of course they're still profitable as gently caress for casinos but that's partly due to Gambler's Ruin and all the smoke and mirrors the law still allows. They're required to keep the payout numbers and win rates within a certain range but there's still nothing stopping them from, say, soaking you in booze so your judgement goes to hell. I think it's also perfectly fine to show more near misses than would be statistically likely under totally random circumstances.

ToxicSlurpee fucked around with this message at 11:02 on Sep 11, 2019

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MightyJoe36
Dec 29, 2013

:minnie: Cat Army :minnie:


Tunicate posted:

The secretary of education has the power to unilaterally forgive all outstanding federal student education loans, which is bernie's plan

Convincing people that the government is going to forgive any debt and forfeit all that revenue is the biggest scam of all.

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