Stat man proves the obvious that Blackpool hoopla game is a con

26 May 2010

blackpool-Now that Blackpool have been promoted, we can all stop pretending we like the place again. Yep, the Golden Mile is a hellish squib of a place filled with stag-dos defecating into the North Irish Sea and elderly women burping up spent condoms into their pints of Cherry B. And fish 'n' chips.

Of course, it isn't all STDs and heart-attacks. There's also ALL THE FUN OF THE FAIR, and as we all know, that means spending money on stuff that either seeks to give us a fleeting thrill and speed, or the chance to win something that has been salvaged from a fire clearance shop.

Regardless of the fact that we wouldn't normally crave a highly flammable, dead-eyed stuffed toy, there's something about the wicked charm of the stall hollerer that makes us want to show off our skill. And so to the hoopla...

A statistics professor has been called in by trading standards to help bitchslap a Blackpool hoopla stall operator who basically cheated gullible tourists into parting with thousands of pounds in a game that was pretty well "impossible to win".

Blackpool Council looked at Philip Williams' operation following complaints that he was bullying "vulnerable" tourists into coughing up pennies. Bizarrely, Blackpool magistrates’ court heard that a doctor lost £1,200 in a single session. What an idiot.

More worryingly was the video surveillance footage seen by the court which showed two teenage girls being bullied by stall staff so they kept playing, which saw them being £70 out of pocket.

The Reg reports that Williams claimed his hoopla set-up was a "game of skill", and therefore exempt from a license required by the Gambling Act 2005. However, tests by Lancaster University statistics lecturer Dr David Lucy showed it would take a player over 2,622 attempts to “stand a 99 per cent probability of success”.

Dr Lucy said: “The geometry was such that a player would need to throw the hoop at such a high trajectory to be able to win at all and obviously this went far beyond any reasonable skill level.”

Williams 'fessed up to "unlawfully allowing premises on the Promenade to be used for gambling and permitting a child to gamble" and got cuffed for 14 weeks, suspended for one year and ordered to complete 270 hours of community service and pay £2,000 in court costs.

Council trading officer Shaun McKinney concluded: “This was a very bad thing for tourism in the resort. They might look like harmless fun but this case proves that even a simple game of hoopla hides a background of criminality."

So there.

TOPICS:   Scams   Travel

14 comments

  • DragonChris
    A doctor lost £1200 in a single session? How is that even possible? Even at £5 a game, that would be 240 games. He'd have been practically chained to the bloody thing to have spent hours at it. What sort of a doctor would waste £1200 at a fucking funfair? LOL! Hopefully he gets the sack for being a gambling retard.
  • Yorkshire l.
    Have they moved Blackpool, or is it the North Sea that has moved?
  • james
    Well fuck me, who knew that fair ground stalls were a little unfair? Maybe they could investigate the coconut shys that you would need a sledgehammer to win rather than three shit wooden balls.
  • robstar
    The doctor would have been offered side bets to win his money back. You pay £50 with the chance (None whatsoever) of winning £300 and the values keep on getting bigger. Although usually the stallholder would have a couple of people to attract interest, watch out for police and to silence any complainers
  • gaz
    Irish Sea mate, Irish.
  • Nobby
    As a punishment, he should have to stand against the wall and punters could throw darts at him. Three in the face and you win a cuddly toy. Obviously the darts would all have different weights, bent shafts and different flights on them.
  • Mike H.
    Watch out lads, Mof'll delete your comments if he doesn't like the contents
  • Internet T.
    Mof is the best (might finally get one past his comment police)
  • Brian
    Hi, my name is Brian. I like Mof and Blackpool.
  • kev
    bout time they arrest them Cooters
  • That t.
    People have a choice to play these games. They should have enough brains to work out that they are completely unfair, as if they're going to make it really easy. Years of watching the fit lass off the Real Hustle has taught ME all I need to know. Tit-ends.
  • Mr G.
    Blackpool seems to attract people who are not very nice to others. It's just one more thing they have in common with Paris.
  • jimmy b.
    Maybe all these games aren't scams, if this man was a doctor then he shoulda realised. The correct word i think you will find is 'GREED' not Scam, if these people think they can get something for nothing then more the fool them. I wouldnt think twice about taking money of these idiots and treating my kids to a holiday!
  • ireland c.
    Heya i'm for the first time here. I found this board and I to find It truly helpful & it helped me out a lot. I am hoping to offer something again and help others like you aided me.

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