How much would you spend if your 'chances of winning were 2,600-to-1'? Turns out, according to the Mail, that those were the odds of winning a prize at a Blackpool hoopla stall, as calculated by a maths expert at Lancaster University.
Trading Standards stepped in after secretly filming two girls aged 14 and 15 spending £70 without winning a single prize. The stall's equipment was sent to Lancaster for analysis and the operators successfully prosecuted by the council for breaching gambling laws.
'Council public protection officer Shaun McKinney said: "One individual who had come to Blackpool had spent £1,200 to £1,500 playing the hoopla game.
"Obviously a lot of it was to try and win their money back from the initial losses, and it's a case of keep playing until they think they can win it back." '
Here's an idea for Michael Gove & Co.; if you want lessons in school to be relevant and useful in later life, you could forget about Citizenship GCSE's and teach some basic probability and a realistic calculation of the chances of winning.
Of course, the National Lottery would take a nosedive...
Update: From the Telegraph,
'Staff at the stall would bully "vulnerable" tourists to keep playing to win back their lost holiday money, Blackpool magistrates’ court was told. Prosecutors said some were even led to cash machines after falsely being told they would eventually win prizes.'