01/07/2015

Public awareness is more than just addiction awareness

So I thought I'd write a post about how an aspect of this campaign (or maybe an aspect of me) is crying out that we look at things in a deeper context. What i mean is.... how addiction not only affects an individual , but how that in turn affects the wider community.

So people should have self-discipline. Yes I agree. But... what about all the people that have been working behind the scenes all these years putting safeguards in place in an attempt to put a cap on the affects of things that have a chance of manifesting into addiction or destruction.
Maybe it's time we gave people a little help.

So for anyone here who throws the uneducated view that I am trying to ban gambling, this really isn't what the campaign is about.
My question is, whatever happened to pride? What happened to our high streets?
Will I be one of the last generation of people to witness genuinely local business's operating in a town center. Yes we still have a few market stalls , but our high streets are gone, we'v lost them to the hands of giant corporations.

So there are quite a few gambling-awareness campaigners such as myself talking now, and many are warning the public about the dreaded FOBT machines in the betting shops. (Roulette machines)
What concerns me greatly and has really hit a nerve with me is why we the public are sitting back and letting this happen. Crime and poverty is being created en-mass with these machines and the industry knows they are highly addictive and highly profitable.

But what about the people that don't choose to gamble? Such as kids, mothers, relatives, employers , clients ect that all can and do get affected by the current rise in gambling culture, that lets not forget is an agenda being driven by certain mp's and lobbyists involved with the industry to some degree.

Are we relying on governments too much to create our way of life? Are we getting put into little boxes?

The bottom line is, I am campaigning because I know how chronic this addiction can be and how 'secretly popular' it's becoming. These are not scare tactics, i have no reason to scare you. This is from the heart.
I am doing this because I think it's completely disgusting that carers are robbing old people, business's are getting ruined, people are killing themselves and the worse thing for me, is having these hubs in our town centers that harbor so many destructive stories that so many people are in denial of.

Yes denial. I'v tried to be polite for six years now but I have to be honest. It frustrates me to hear so many talk of the picture so black and white, as if addiction is such an easy thing to avoid. Despite billions of pounds being spent on what is now quite advance scientific advertising, according to many it is still the sole responsibility of the person that harbors the addiction.
It's easy to pity someone else when it isn't you.

But I can argue for hours with people. And despite the fact the gambling act has led to a what a call a devolution of our society and quite a harmful one at that , nah this is still something many see as no problem.
Some of these problems affect people for a very long time, and when you multiply this story millions of times throughout the world which is the reality then yes there is a problem. We have a virus.




25/05/2015

Why we need YOUR help to get ‘Krave Choco Roulette’ off the shelves.



In the six years that I’ve been campaigning about the information in my documentaries, I can honestly say that I never in a million years thought I’d find myself tackling food companies.

When I personally first noticed this cereal branding, it was during an advert break on 4OD.
What caught my eye was how similar it was to bingo and other gambling adverts, I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing, and it was just like a casino ad!

Some people argue that it’s just harmless fun and it’s all just because the game is a lucky dip scenario, despite the fact that it’s proven that the advertising industry spends millions of pounds every year on making people familiar with products and concepts over long periods of time.

To those people aware of this, it could be perceived that whether it’s intentional or not, that it is concept-branding. In other words – gambling grooming.

The front of the box is obviously a slot machine, with the actual old-style lever placed on the side of the box, and at the back of the box they make no mistake to show you that it’s a slot machine. (Notice the red lever on the right)


So what does eating a breakfast that is highly likely going to be eaten by a child due to its chocolate sweet taste really have to do with bandit machines? Why on earth would a marketing company even link the two?
And why would an activity that is mostly limited to over 18’s placed for a young person to be exposed to, first thing of the day?

At this current stage in time, this is the only evidence the campaign has on financial/sponsorship links between giant food corporations and the gambling industry but this is something we are working on.
We may find that this is simply irresponsible marketing, but we haven’t really heard back from them to make us think this is something they are willing to change in a hurry.

We do however face massive issues in terms of getting people to see the seriousness of all this. And in terms of getting the public on board, so far this has been a huge struggle due to people simply not being concerned enough about it.
We urge everyone reading this to please take a moment to think what kind of future are we making for our children, when we are promoting to them an activity that is currently affecting millions of people in the UK alone?.

There is much more pro-gambling advertising and propaganda out there that unfortunately the truth has been well hidden and blurred from the public eye.
Since 2005 a lot has changed in the UK landscape in regards to online gambling and betting shops since the gambling act 2005 came into place.
Although this was made out to the public to be a law to help protect vulnerable and young people, it was in fact a law which meant many of the safeguards and precautions we had to protect people against gambling have actually now been removed. This was brought in with wording such as ‘liberalisation’ which when said like that may sound quite modern and appealing.

So if you do check out our petition, unless our campaign has actually shifted up a gear and people have started to get on board you will notice our petition numbers may be quite low. So we need as much help and support from as many of you as possible to get people taking this issue seriously and tackling it.
What started a campaign to challenge the gambling act and MP’s profiting from it has become a mission to raise awareness and try to change perspective.

So if you’ve watched our new documentary called ‘Spellbreakers’ then we urge as many of you as possible to please sign and share the petition and as much of our campaign material to your friends and family as possible.

Signing the petition only takes a few seconds and we give a massive thanks to everyone that has taken the time to sign it and share it to help raise awareness of something which has the potential to cause a very damaging effect to our society.

30/04/2015

Please support our latest campaign to say NO to gambling promotion on Kelloggs cereal

Hi folks.... it's Ben here from the Neuroliberation campaign. It's been a while since there's been any activity here on the gambling-awareness front but we are back with a new campaign and urge as many of you as possible to please support it.

Over the last week myself and a few others have been on a mission to to make a stand against the new Kellogg's cereal 'Krave Choco Roulette'.
The problem that myself and many others have with it is that it is blatant in-your-face gambling grooming. The front of the cereal box is basically a bandit machine, the adverts on television for it blatantly are promoting gambling to people, and Kellogg's Krave's facebook page's main image is of it's new 'Krave Choco Roulette' and they'v even gone to the extra lengths to make the box appear like a bandit machine.



What turned out to be a campaign to Kellogg's to say we find this highly irresponible marketing , became (like most of my gambling-awareness projects) a campaign to raise public awareness and attempt to open minds.

Over my last week campaigning about this on the internet I have come to realise that most people really don't see a problem with it... a common reaction I get is "Oh so seeing this image in a box is going to make me want to gamble.....yeah right whatever!! .... so what I say is this ....

Marketing companies are very clever people , do you not realise the psychological tricks involved here...please just think about it.... perhaps google about marketing branding and concepts, and the lengths these companies go to in order to get the public familiar with a brand or concept.
I would not be surprised to find out deals have been done behind the scenes here from people within the gambling industry ... there's a lot of money to be made here.

I urge as many people as possible to sign the petition we'v got going at change.org , it's been going slow but hopefully we can get this issue out into the public domain because the unfortunate fact seems to be that people in general really aren't aware of this, and certainly aren't standing up and fighting against this enough.... especially when they aren't realising that this is the pollution of our next generations minds and way of thinking.

I think it's sad that not enough people care about protecting our communities from gambling addiction. The trouble is, is that for one it's not talked about enough so people aren't really aware of how much in people they actually know around them, and two a lot of people aren't thinking about this deep enough and as a society we are letting ourselves walk right into the traps of marketing companies that will for sure create heaps of gambling addiction.

Whether or not most gamblers will go onto develop an addiction is another story, but the fact remains that the number of gambling addicts will be growing as the industry expands if we don't have the right precautions in place, and I think that the fact we now have bandit machines on our children's cereal boxes is growing evidence of that.

So yeah, we'r urging as many people as possible to sign this petition because every signature counts and so does every comment. What' great about commenting on the petition page as well as signing is that it gives Kelloggs the clear image that this is a nationwide or even international concern , and it also gives them the reasons as to why we'r not happy with this.

Here is the link to the petition, and we also have a facebook page too. We need all the support we can get to open minds here and not let our children walk down an industry-led path of gambling addiction culture. Take care.

https://www.change.org/p/kellogg-stop-selling-kelloggs-krave-choco-roulette-and-gambling-related-marketing






Once again I urge all of you that 'get it' to please just take a moment to take some action by signing the petition and leaving a comment and sharing it with your friends and family. Hopefully we can make a stand against this sort of marketing now which are likely to lead our next generation down a path of mega-gambling acceptance. Thanks for anyone that supports and has been supporting already, we can't do this without every one of us pulling together to make the change. Let's do it and take care!

https://www.change.org/p/kellogg-stop-selling-kelloggs-krave-choco-roulette-and-gambling-related-marketing

Other items on the market pretty much doing the same thing....what is happening here???

Notice the word attention also on the packet near the roulette wheel










But when you look at this also , think about it.



02/08/2014

The list says it all! How gambling addiction is crippling our communities and swept under the carpet!




Behind the scenes we'v been compiling a list of  some of the gambling related crimes reported in the media over the last few years. It's not even finished and we'r nearly up to 300 cases of gambling addiction related thefts and frauds that are highly significant to the bigger picture.


The purpose of this list is to give the reader a direct and easily-readable vision of the social deprivation caused by gambling addiction since the Gambling act 2005 came about.
This list may shock a few of you and we'r guessing it will open a few peoples minds to the bigger picture of how our communities are being harmed by this soul-destroying industry.

We also hope it will counteract the 'pro-gambling' PR material that is pushed out in order to make the public believe that gambling addiction is only a small problem.
Gambling addiction is certainly not a small problem and it is effecting a lot of people.

You can it on the page titled THE LIST! (click here)

There are a diverse range of gambling addiction court cases inside this list including :

A policeman looting a dead man's pockets, carer's stealing from the elderly, social workers, bankers, company frauds, headmasters, schoolteachers, a psychotic fireman, post office workers, murders, sportsmen, elderly gambling addicts, young teenagers stealing their parents bank cards....we could go on forever.

Unfortunatly a lot of people still believe that there isn't a big problem in the UK with gambling addiction, but there is!
So we ask you  to please share this page to help raise awareness so that people can start seeing the bigger picture for themselves. In time our voices will be heard.


Thanks!! 

THE LIST - http://neuroliberation.blogspot.co.uk/p/blog-page_1.html

01/08/2014

Neuroliberation campaign on 'Take a pew' web series




Also check out GRASP for heaps more information about gambling addiction and the industry.

Click the logo to enter GRASP site.

27/07/2014

Kids, computer games and gambling - Part 2



If you haven't read part 1 yet then click here to read



Whilst writing part one of this article I got thinking about how in many computer games children and young people are taught to collect and win coins. 
We’v already gone into the fact that computer games and gambling games are starting to merge into one, but maybe this started quite some time ago.

Is the ‘win win win’concept integrated into our brains from early childhood? 
Whilst playing seemingly harmless computer games where we have to collect coins or complete missions to for them, are we actually being brainwashed? 
We already touch on this slightly in one of our latest posts about ‘TV game shows’ but it seems the deeper we look into things the more we have been taught that gambling is some sort of core value of culture in society. 

Even the bible mentions how the coin was used to distract, divide and control people and it seems that still thousands of years after and to this day that the desire for the coin has ruled over man’s state of mental and spiritual well-being. 

Many of today’s computer games on both consoles and social networking sites use cleverly marketed slogans such as ‘Free coins’. With that along with playing computer games for a few years could we be being taught to learn that there’s always the chance to get money for free, and could also contribute to many of the gambling addiction stories where the victim thinks he’s playing because ‘he likes the challenge’?



It could also be perceived that not only are we seeing a narrowing gap between computer and gambling games, but also a narrowing gap between computer games and reality.
It’s not a new thing that people have expressed concerns about computer games and their impact on peoples moods and goal-directed behaviour. 
But it seems that most of the time gamers are not taught the true value of money and how to use it responsibly, but instead learn that it’s something that is easy to come-by and that it can just be spend willy-nilly.

I can only think of a few games that contradict the above and those are games such as ‘The Sims’ and ‘Theme park’which are possibly the exception as they don't involve the hyper-mode coin collecting.
Another question we could ask is – how many computer games inspire people to hoard money and always need more?
Think about it, from the age of just a small child we play games where we're taught that if we collect the most coins that we’ll be the winner and that we’ll succeed. With a philosophy like that being taught to us all of our childhood then no wonder so many people fall right into the gambling industries lap and don't see any problems with what's going on in today's gambling-mad culture-programme.

Who designed these concepts? And why are children being taught so often that collecting the most coins makes them the winner?
Is this all just a coincidence?




Kids, computer games and gambling – Part 1



Most of us are more than aware of how children and young people are easily susceptible to computer games. Those who play them on a constant basis will often tell you how the graphics and sounds can make an imprint on their brains as they experience them in non-gaming reality and dreams. 
Gambling is certainly no different.

As both children and adults, it could be that the feeling of being a ‘winner’ is something we should be extremely careful about and not just brush aside as 'harmless fun'. 
To refresh our memory maybe it’s best to remind ourselves that the processes inside us that often make us want to ‘win’ are our own natural brain functions and they are being high jacked.

As human beings we wouldn't have become as advanced as we are today if it wasn't for the ‘drivers’ in our brains that experience the ‘buzz’ of gaining something that we find useful in our lives. We wouldn't eat food, make babies or want to exercise because we wouldn't feel the reward gained by an exciting and powerful feeling in the brain created by the chemical release of dopamine.

Even people that don’t gamble or play computer games can sometimes be affected by it. Some people do in fact still get addicted to eating, having sex or exercising. 
But their cravings for the chemical release stem from something which is originally and essentially 'good' for us, unlike both gaming and gambling which don't hold any real value or purpose in life.

But one thing of particular concern in today’s world is the merger of computer and gambling games.
For a long time the industry has known that using bright colours, pictures of fruit and exciting sounds appeals to a lot of people, but now it seems the industry has taken it one step further.



One thing we should keep our eyes out for and maybe think to something about is ‘themed’ gambling games.
One example is J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings which has had its graphics licensed to both computer games and gambling software creators.
Lord of the Rings is now used in various digital ‘slots’ machines which will obviously have a huge appeal to children and young people. When these machines are places in eye’s sight to where children can see them even if they are unable to play them then maybe it can creates an urge inside their brain to want to be old enough to play them.

The estate of J.R.R Tolkien had actually taken Warner Brothers to court over the gambling use of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ imagery knowing that this was definitely not the purpose for which the books were written. (We’re not sure how it went but we’ll try giving an update soon)

The industry knows that anything you've grown up with and are familiar to is certain to grab your attention when placed on a gambling machine. Have you noticed how many gambling machines are made with themes associated with ‘fun’, movies and family games?

How about the family board game ‘Monopoly’? It’s a game many of us have grown up with and maybe it's engrained in us that ‘it’s OK to play monopoly’ and that ‘it’s just a game’.
What if by seeing ‘Monopoly’ on an arcade machine, we bring back to the surface feelings of joy and winning? What if all those subconscious feelings get a little entangled deep in the brain?




We see the same happening with other themes such as ‘Batman’ for example, a series of movies which obviously has a large fan-base consisting of children and young people. It seems that the industry knows quite a few sales secrets to bring out our ‘inner youth’ in order to manipulate us to keep spending money.

One of today’ most outrageous examples is the use of the currently well-known and highly addictive Facebook-based game called ‘Bejewelled Blitz’. 
Not only has the logo and imagery being used on a wide variety of digital slot machine games but here in the UK we now have ‘Bejewelled Blitz’ scratchcards at almost every newsagents store. They between £2 or £3 each depend which one you buy.

This could be considered to be a form of ‘grooming’ because the people who make these products know how to make them appeal. This is how our so-called reality seems to be constructed on many levels – ‘Get them whilst their young’ is the motto of many business people.

Or how about the even more blatant ‘Rainbow riches’ gambling game which one can only wonder how on earth this game is marketed to adults.
It’s brightly coloured and child-like graphics are often placed on big posters outside betting shops premises which can and will attract the attention of young children which again seems to be a form of grooming to prepare them for when they are of legal age to start gambling.

Rainbow Riches game

We already see a wide variety of games on social networking sites such as Facebook offering users the chance to win ‘virtual’ money which can only be spent on playing the game furthermore. In many cases people find themselves sucked in and addicted to winning things that aren't even real! But it's the thrill they're really after.

As we’re trying to keep some of our posts a little more ‘digestible’ we’ll cover more in part two about how these types of games may deeply integrate a future of gambling into a young person’s and when looking at the bigger picture it may be considered by some as a sort of ‘social engineering’.

Louis Theroux – Gambling in Las Vegas



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.







26/07/2014

Local councils still have no say on betting shop planning.



For the last few years gambling activists, journalists and other groups have brought up the problem that local councils still hold no power over the existence of large numbers of betting shops in central shopping areas. 

Maybe this is something we need to spur on with again and keep the topic hot.  The gambling act 2005 means that we as a community don’t have a say in whether betting shops take over our towns and cause social damage.
Should we be doing more about it? Maybe the answer is yes. If you would like to help us with that then email us at Neuroliberation@gmail.com

The most we’v seen happen really were attempts by labour MP’s David Lammy and Rowenna Davis whom both expressed passionate concerns over the clustering of betting shops. But other than that we've seemed to socially except today's ‘gambling everywhere’ culture a lot faster than we expected.
Since when did it become normal to have Ladbrokes betting shops inside mainline train stations such as London Victoria and Liverpool Lime Street?
Since when was it normal for betting shops to have the most lucrative premises in town centres?

The fact that local councils can’t provide a solution for its residents in terms of the amounts of betting shops seems like a law which serves only the gambling industry instead of society.
Something still needs to be done about it, maybe if we think hard enough we’ll get there.

What can you do to stop your town centre being over-run by betting shops and the damage they are causing to people’s lives?

24/07/2014

The most persuasive and constant gambling advertising of them all. TV!

Written by Ben Thacker(Campaign founder)

When this campaign started, its primary purpose was to get today’s large number of modern-day betting shops off the high-streets and away from the influence of children and young people. Not only that, but to raise awareness of the large volume of problem gambling that has manifested  in the UK since 2005, and the many forms of social depression created by it.

For those that have seen the first Neuroliberation campaign documentary, you’ll know that the campaign originally focused on the issue of betting shop proliferation.
But since my time campaigning I've had my eyes opened by others to the other forms of gambling that cause many others lives to spiral out of control.
The most common responses I seem to get are often in concern of how easy it is to gamble on your mobile phone these days, and how gambling advertising is now always on the TV.

Not long into the campaign I’d been reminded that The Jeremy Kyle show is sponsored by foxy bingo which also I was concerned about since the show is portrayed to be about morals and ethics.
I guess overall it really got me thinking – how much is gambling really promoted on TV?



For now let’s put aside all the sports and bingo adverts on almost every page of a newspaper, the ads on almost every TV break and the supposed ‘free offers’ that infiltrate our Facebook feeds.
Let’s look a little deeper to a more subtle level of gambling promotion, to where gambling is rammed down our throat since the day we are born. Game-shows.

Our logical problem-solving brains love games. They simply can’t resist the challenge.
But as our mind machinery starts working and getting stuck into it, we forget that it’s all a circus whilst constantly being suggested that it could be us winning the large sums of cash and prizes on offer.

The audience claps and cheers and the contestants show passionate signs of excitement.
The circus is in full swing as the presenter himself speaks with an energetic and engaging voice. “How does it feel to win all this money he says”.
Maybe TV really is the devil? Once in its time it could have served a greater purpose to inform and educate us, but once we've taken a step back and look at it from another perspective we see that it’s nothing more than a constant charade to hype up and convince us that their version of reality is how life really is.

We’re subliminally suggested for hours on end each day to keep dreaming of ‘the win’, and that ‘that win’ will solve all our problems.
Even the game-show title ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ sounds like a well marketed and response-provoking question. I'm sure anyone with a decent bit of sales experience would agree.




The odds of a jackpot winning line on the lottery is approximately 1 in 14 million, yet millions of us are constantly told week in week out “It could be you”. On Wednesday’s and Saturdays it’s us the people that are inside the circus tent, it’s us that the excitement-building game-show host is spurring on.
Somewhere inside it all is a much bigger message being subconsciously pushed – the association of great feelings with winning large amounts of money.
The game-show circus charade with its engineered ‘group think reality’ tricks us into believing that it’s normal because this is how everyone apparently thinks.

Some say that it’s just entertainment, but I’d like to believe we're intelligent enough beings to search for something a little more meaningful. Whenever I see a game-show on television nowadays I can’t help but feel how meaningless and ego-creating they are
The hosts often portray as much laughter, humour and personal connection as they can into the show but it still doesn't hide the spell.

My critics will complain that I'm nit-picking and making mountains out of molehills, but what is it that I'm trying to achieve by writing this piece?
I guess all I'm trying to do is get people to think about the suggestions and concepts that are pushed onto us, and get them to ask ‘Is this really a healthy and constructive pattern of thinking?’

It's worth thinking about. Stay wise!