One of our aims here at the Neuroliberation campaign is to try to get people to think a little deeper about the mental health effects of gambling on people. We’ve been saying for years how gambling addictions can severely affect the mood of someone and Louis Theroux in his usual documentary style did just that in one of his documentaries titled ‘Gambling in Las Vegas’.
His documentary does an excellent job of highlighting how so-called ‘business friendships’ are never really what they are cracked up to be. Would a good friend let you sit playing a machine for hours on end each day whilst losing thousands of pounds?
Louis starts the documentary off by interviewing a high-roller who has a hired someone on a casino payroll to ‘show him around’. Because he spends so much money at the casino they’ve given him the best suite in the hotel free of charge with complimentary service, the largest hotel suite in North America. The job of the guy he’s hired is to keep him spending and playing at the tables as much as possible.
At one point in the film the guy admits that it’s bad that he’s losing, you’ll notice his ‘friend’ quickly move in and say “aah it’s just a warm up”.
7:40 into the documentary Louis is interviewing a cashier and a casino player that is $4,000 up. Louis says to the cashier “He’s winning and winning” and the cashier replies in these ever-so significant words
“You want people to win, that way they’ll come back. If they never win they’ll never come back”
Louis then asks what then happens in which the cashier replies “We want them to win a little bit, and then we take all their money”.
Louis is then introduced to a lady called Martha who is playing on the high-limits slot machine in the casino.
It’s obvious that she has a severe gambling addiction, she wastes thousands on the slot machines each day, but one question it may make us ask is - who could actually stand and watch that happen to somebody? And as human beings do we really care for each other anymore?
Soon after he asks one of the casino staff about how they are able to take part in that scenario. Unfortunately employees at any gambling premises are rarely taught to really help a problem gambler, and this includes betting shops and bingo halls here in the UK.
Many even swear by the training manuals they are given, and one of our concerns should be for our own way of thinking. Look at what we’re doing to each other!
The man he’s interviewing says that if he saw a regular person spending a lot more than they usual would that he’d say “are you sure you want to be doing this?”.
Unfortunately it’s no secret that it rarely works with people whilst gambling. They are in the thick of an addiction whilst staring at a hypnotic machine that manipulates their neurons to go crazy, like they are another planet.
You see in this documentary clearly that gambling addicts become like children in the sense that they know it’s doing them no good but will make up every excuse under the sun to condone it.
I doubt Martha the high-roller slot machine player was ever really and truly helped when she had spent too much.
Louis also interviews another two guys who have come to Las Vegas on a holiday trip.
Whilst watching it’s soon clear how much gambling has affected their mood and mental status, they are hyped up on the most sold drug going on the planet ‘The desire to have more money’.
24 minutes into the film one of the guys playing blackjack with Louis asks his friend to move because since he sat there he lost $3,000 on one hand. This is a pure example of the delusional mind that gets created in gamblers.
It’s certainly not uncommon for people who have been gambling to create false senses of mysticism. Talk to any ex problem-gamblers and many of them will explain how the logic mind tries to link numbers and patterns. People often believe that god is guiding them to their big win.
There’s heaps more we could tell you about the documentary but we don’t want to spoil it for, all in all it’s a highly recommended watch.
It raises many big questions about our morals in society, and how we seem to socially accept being part of a dark-circus where what we are sold is mind control and illusion, often for a costly price.