Thursday 3 September 2015

Casinos, Corrie and Carla Connor

So anyone who knows me, knows I am a huge Corrie fan; sorry that's Coronation Street to the uninitiated. I literally don't miss an episode and thanks to my Mum, didn't in my childhood either, so it's been a habit that's been with me for well over 3 decades.

At the moment the biggest story line is Carla Connor as we watch her guiltily gamble her life away, whilst being held back from the brink by Nick, with Michelle as his sidekick. That Wiki link I have linked to for Carla makes interesting reading as it's reminded me, not only of how many partners Carla has had, but also that her and Nick have been involved together before - but in business, not romantically - with Nick's Knicks etc...

The heavy huge weight of guilt that is causing Carla's demise is not even her own to carry, as the candle was quite literally lit by Tracy...
... a truth that has just come out to Tracy's new (old) flame and ex-husband Robert. Unlike Tracy, he seems to have a conscience and doesn't want to see Carla in the frame for something she hasn't done. Tracy herself is starting to get twitchy about the secret she is carrying, but it'll take her a while to truly care deeply about Carla given their history. After all Tracy should be happily married to Carla's brother now, if Carla hadn't guessed that Rob had killed Tina. Not just guessed but also gone the extra step, and called the Police, thereby ruining their wedding.

I guess it can only be the fact that she is now happy in love again, that can heal this rift sufficiently for Tracy to come clean about who started the Victoria Court fire*. The fire that could have killed her own daughter who was staying that night with Carla. It's a terrible tragedy that Kal and Maddie were killed when they were not even nearest to the start of the fire. Carla and Amy were, but were saved. This is the sort of tragedy that is often seen in real life, where sometimes for example, a driver causes an accident and deaths but somehow walks away from the scene with only injuries.

* But of course it is not quite as straight forward as that - it never is when Tracy is involved!

As viewers we know that even if she had bad intentions for letting herself into the flat, lighting the candle was NOT done with the intention of starting a fire, so the guilt she feels there is genuine, even if she isn't quite as compassionate about Carla as Robert is. Despite her heart of stone though Tracy is starting  to unravel.

But back to Carla Connor's Casino habit... I don't know if I have an addictive personality. I've never been addicted to alcohol, despite many a drink up at University and have never tried drugs. I do have a bit of a sugar addiction though, where I always feel tonnes better every time I crack it, forgive the pun. But with Carla's alcoholic history, it is really no surprise that her dabbling in gambling led to her losing.... what was it, £30k at the last count? And she's not stopped yet. I think it is personalities, and rather circumstances, that lead to these addictions, rather than the habit or substance itself. After all, reading her Wiki write up - as I mentioned above - has certainly reminded me what she has been through. Wow she has been at the helm of quite a few huge story lines. I KNOW she is just a "Soap" character, but my Corrie and Eastenders characters are like family to me!
Seeing Carla visiting the Casino reminded me of friends I have known over the years who have also gone. To them it is a positive experience where the food is free and all the staff know your name. Like with anything, some people dabble, some people become addicted. I think Carla likes losing as much as winner, as it is a way of saying to herself "you deserve it, people have died because of you". So self worth I guess is at the centre of it.

This story line made me want to know more about gambling and more specifically the UK's history of online gambling as I am forever seeing Carla slamming that laptop shut - I had no idea about the Antigua and Barbuda connection. So I did some research and couldn't believe that the first Super Casino (Las Vegas style) was to be in Manchester if Gordon Brown had not cancelled it in 2007 after them winning their bid in January of the same year. How ironic, with Corrie being the jewel in Manchester's crown. If you say that you don't gamble, just ask yourself whether you do the National Lottery? After all the stats say that 70% of UK adults do, and the lottery is classed as gambling. In our house it is just my husband that does it, but I know my Mum in Ireland religiously does their Lotto.

Although post-2000 saw an opening up of gambling restrictions compared to that of the 1960s, the law in its new guise is strict that:
The Bill also set out guidelines stating that gambling will be unlawful in the UK unless granted a licence, permit or registration. It outlined the penalty for being in breach of these guidelines, that being a maximum of six months in prison, a fine, or both for each offence. Any person under 18 will not be allowed to gamble and it is an offence to invite or permit anyone under the age of 18 years old to gamble.
So really, that means a child shouldn't be allowed to buy a lottery ticket - I wonder if newsagents are strict on that? Do any of my readers know?

I know that glamorizing things can sometimes be the cause of addictions, or be the invite that sparks the flame of interest. The only time I have ever seen a Casino look glamorous (as in, I don't normally get to walk passed one) was back when I frequented Westfield Stratford, seeing the steps up to it, like an unknown entity that made me curious.

Reading up on it, it's no surprise that it held that appeal. It sounds just as glamorous as it looks:
Aspers Casino Westfield Stratford City is the largest Casino in the UK and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This stylish venue offers a wide selection of games across 60 gaming tables and 300 slots and electronic machines. Aspers also boasts the biggest poker room in London 360 seats extending to 500 for bigger events.But it’s not just about gaming. The Sky Bar has a roof terrace with panoramic views of the Olympic Stadium and offers an extensive speciality cocktail menu and live entertainment.
My Step Dad let me do a Yankee accumulator bet on horses when I was little (he clearly didn't know about the 18 years of age restriction). I won £40+ pounds, was terribly excited, but even at that young age, told myself, it would be a slippery slope if I played again as I couldn't possibly win every time. I put it down to beginner's luck (as I have always had a lot of that) and moved on.

As with alcohol, gambling should be recreational and fun. If you think you and/or a family member may have a problem, go to Gamble Aware for advice and a quiz to find out more.

I was interested to spend some time on NetBet Casino to see what their stance was and found the following:
Define your prioritiesThe time and money that you invest in gambling should never take precedent over, or interfere in your family, professional or social commitments. Impinging on your work or studies or on your family or parental responsibilities; Damaging to your health and hindering other activities that are crucial to your well-being (sport, a balanced diet, rest).You should know how to set your priorities and how to maintain a good physical, emotional and relationship balance, both for you and for those around you – this is more important than winning.  
Know your limitsIt is the responsibility of the individual player to be aware of the importance of setting time and loss limits – this means you can avoid spending excessive time and money on gambling, as well as losing out on the enjoyable aspects of it. The financial aspect is particularly sensitive and, unfortunately, *a lot of players succumb to excess and find themselves in debt as a result of gaming. It is important that you both fix [set] and stick to your limits.
The words *a lot of players alarmed me but this was countered when I found:
Group NetBet is aware that the majority of players know how to play in a controlled manner, but that a minority (around 2%), are compulsive gamblers. Group NetBet and ADICTEL’s shared goal is to help addicted players or those who display signs of being at risk of dependency and to take appropriate measures to reduce the numbers of compulsive gamblers.
I hope Carla Connor reconciles her demons. Even if Tracy doesn't come clean to the Police, it must surely put Carla's mind at ease that Tracy confesses to her. Maybe then Carla can be happy with Nick and Tracy with Robert? Or is that too much to ask from the two characters that can probably rival Gail in terms of how many ex-partners they have both had. Well for now, it is a gripping story line, at least for me. Maybe the rest of you are bored already?

This post is a collaboration but all words and opinions are my own.

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