The old man and the FOBT.

A fine piece of writing on what’s it like to work in a bookies in the modern day.

Harry Vale

It wasn’t the anti-social behaviour that first made me realise this job wasn’t for me. It wasn’t the person getting an ear bitten off, or the guy shitting in a bin. It wasn’t the drug dealers, the drug addicts or the drunks. For me it was a gambling addict, or rather, the wife of one. The drunks and smack heads I vaguely understand; the guy shitting in a bin, well, he really needed to take a shit, but it’s the hardcore gamblers that really get to you sometimes.

You can watch them sit at a machine for hours and hours, not eating, not drinking, not even taking a piss break; the stamina and metabolism of the machine gambler is insane. He’ll pump a thousand or two into the machine, and no matter what his return, it’s never going to be enough. Either they’ll keep going for that magic number in the back of…

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