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