Thursday, August 7, 2008

Even infants can learn to gamble...?

We pretty much never frequent the betting shop, but when the top prize for the lottery topped a few million bucks, Mum decided to drop a few spare dollars. So after picking up Sonny yesterday evening at the infant care centre, she ambled into the local bookmakers. But a rude shock awaited her at the counter.

"Hey, you can't be here. You have to go!" said one of the counter staff.

Another, more sympathetic, explained why in a conspiratorial whisper: "There are video cameras here. They can see us!"

Which in itself was more intriguing than enlightening, but it eventually became clear that there was a strict rule against anyone under the age of 18 entering the premises. Never mind that Sonny is probably a tad too young to be somehow transformed into a problem gambler through a rare exposure to betting-shop goings-on.

Anyway, the staff did ultimately serve Mum, though she was reminded never to bring Sonny in again. But does anyone think the staff were perhaps excessive in their punctilious adherence to the rules? We're not totally sure about this ourselves. On the one hand, if you start making allowances for 'very young' customers, where might you draw the line? A child of just a few years, if allowed in to observe their parents throwing away chunks of their salary, might indeed absorb the implied message that gambling was totally acceptable. On the other hand, there are still clear-cut cases where the child is obviously too young to be aware of anything.

What's clear is that "leaving things to the discretion of the staff" is not going to be the operating principle. That's a rather old-fashioned way of running things in our increasingly decentralised world, where the 'man on the ground' now tends to be seen as the one who has the fullest grasp of the situation and so can make adjustments accordingly.

But how dare he, "when there are video cameras" to stalk his every action, eh?


Anonymous said...

A strange situation, but one that we found ourselves in too, when Wren was a new baby.

We went into our local RSL and were told that we couldn't walk through the poker machine area with her.

Granted, the area was only for over 18's, but she was less than 18 days old!

The most she would notice was the bright lights, but no, we had to walk outside and re-enter the club elsewhere... lol

I guess rules are rules, when it comes to the risk of being sued, these days. :)

Anonymous said...

I remember when I was a kid my mom took me to store fronts that were fronts for "numbers', some had slot machines, and lotto - well that was every where. it never effected me - i play the lotto when ever it passes 50 mil - $1 dollar, just so i can imagine what I'd do if I won....

Cloudsters said...

Hadn't thought of the legal aspect, Jane, but you're right, of course. Nothing like a potential lawsuit to concentrate the business mind.

Not to worry, yuthink; if you can't think of any worthy causes on which to spend your $50 mil, just give us a holler. Any day. Any time.