Can You Beat the Bookies? recently aired on BBC, aiming to shine a spotlight on the £14bn ($17bn) that British people lose every year through gambling. The documentary set out to see whether Soccer AM co-host Lloyd Griffith could double his £7,500 ($9,089) through betting alone.
Although he had links to the gambling industry, the presenter lost almost half of his cash by the end of the experiment. Griffiths tweeted about the show, saying “it was a real eye opener”.
Previously, Griffiths had appeared in an advert for Ladbrokes that drew criticism from academics for promoting mindless gambling.
Program-makers opened the show with tough questions, including: “Are the bookies playing fair?”, “Can you win in the long term?”, and “Are the odds stacked against the average punter?”
The program starts with presenter Griffith following advice from his aunt, who has a £50-a-week ($60) scratchcard habit and backs horses in pink. However, he only really starts earning money from betting when he gets help from the professionals.
Thanks to his help, Griffith turns £800 ($969) to £3,331 ($4,037). The method works by gamblers working faster than the umpires who enter data on gambling sites.
A human element
Heavily focused on the elements of up and down that gambling can bring, Griffith also speaks to fellow gamblers outside a pub near Brentford FC. He finds one woman who has won over £3,000 ($3,635) on an accumulator, and another person who lost an entire month’s salary on gambling and went on to join Gamblers Anonymous.
Finally, he speaks to comedian John Robins, who explains how he had become depressed due to his gambling habit and started self-harming when it got out of control. Robins believes that “if I had the same problem now as an 18-year-old as I did then, with access to the internet and apps on my phone, I would probably be dead.”
The program was inspired by the £14bn ($17bn) British people lose on bets annually. The show was first broadcast on BBC 1 and has previously been available to view on-demand at BBC3 online.
Despite criticizing certain industry techniques and advertising practices, the program did not interview any bookmakers. Instead, it ended with a statement from the Gambling Commission, saying: “We expect licensees to be just as focused on how they manage risks and protect consumers as they are on achieving their commercial objectives.” The Commission also maintained that:
Operators must step in if any customer shows signs of problem gambling.”
At the end of the program, Griffith reveals he has just £4,500 ($5,455) left, having made a loss of £3,000 ($3,637).