Going mental

ROBOTIC BEHAVIOUR: We all have choices when it comes to behaviour but some come with warning, warning, warnings.
ROBOTIC BEHAVIOUR: We all have choices when it comes to behaviour but some come with warning, warning, warnings.

Grand final weekends cause many flutters, and they’re not just about  watching footie two days in a row to the exclusion of all else.  

There’s also the relentless gambling ads  before, during and after the coverage imploring us to punt.

Looking around last weekend, it seemed pretty clear that we, the great Australian public, don’t need much encouragement to do that. Which begs the question: Why all the gambling ads encouraging us to do so?

Are they worried we’ll forget?

Couldn’t the gambling ads be broadcast as responsibly as the advice to not gamble irresponsibly? (Like barely at all.)

Talk about mind games. Makes you wonder who’s controlling who.

Which is always a big question during the festival of the boot, and as usual there were  arguments about why you have to celebrate such events the way you do rather than, say, clean the house.  

And you do it, I think, not just because you’ve cleaned the house before the games start as part of intense pre-match negotiations to secure leave passes,  but because if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. Not just gambling ads. 

A recent court case against pokie machine giant Aristocrat argued that vulnerable Aussies deserve a fair go when it comes to gambling. Which sounded like a pretty poor bet when the case revealed pokie machine makers use a range of design features that leverage psychology to keep people playing.

Why,  my mate even suggested that clubs have been known to increase the payout rates on their machines ever so slightly around happy hour to   so that people will associate binge drinking with winning, rather than lowering their ability to weigh up risk.

It sounded so evil but then someone kicked a “GOAL” and the crowd went wild and that weird AFL team song music started playing and we all happily emptied our pockets on the basis, possibly a delusion, that we were having a good time.

Nah, there was no comparison to the way we were acting  and the way those poor vulnerable pokie machine players get shook down.

Interestingly, it’s not the winning that’s addictive, but the anticipation of winning. Ask any Richmond fan. And then after 37 years, the Tigers went and spoiled that too. Thank goodness there was still the anticipation of an unlikely Cowboys victory next night.

Then that leg fell over, too, literally, three minutes after kick-off and all anticipation evaporated in a storm of conjecture about the addictive nature of grand final weekends.

Having backed up, I can safely say I’m immune to the gambling ads, although I did seem to buy a drink after every second alcohol commercial. But only because it was my shout.

Putting all that aside, I wager I’ll be back again next year, all a flutter, gambling ads or not.