Edward Thorp

Edward Thorp Away from the world of online slots, as far as casino gambling is concerned, Edward Thorp is best known for his academic research into the application of probability theory to blackjack strategy, which eventually led to the publication of the ground-breaking book, ‘Beat the Dealer: A Winning Strategy for the Game of Twenty-One’, in 1962. Inspired by his observations while playing blackjack in Las Vegas, shortly after receiving a doctorate in mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles in the late Fifties, Thorp discovered that by keeping track of the cards during the game a player can determine when the odds are most favourable.

In his seminal treatise, Thorp introduced the so-called ‘Ten Count’, which was the first mathematically proven, publicly available system for card counting. The Ten Count was only really applicable to single-deck games, which were commonplace in the Sixties, but spawned numerous other card counting systems, which are equally applicable to multi-deck games and have been used successfully by generations of blackjack players. Thorp is often called the ‘father’ of card counting; he was inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame in 2003.

By no means a ‘one-trick pony’, Thorp also turned his attention to roulette and, together with Claude Shannon, a.k.a. the ‘father of information theory’, co-invented the first wearable computer. Although strictly illegal in Nevada, the analog device, about the size of a cigarette, was tested in Las Vegas in 1961 and produced predicted improvement in the odds when playing roulette, but its invention was kept secret until 1966. The computer divided the roulette wheel into eight octants and attempted to predict not the exact number, but the octant, in which the ball would land, based on the speed of wheel and ball.

Tommy Carmichael

Tommy Carmichael The late Tommy Carmichael was a television repair man-turned-inventor, who devoted nearly twenty years of his adult life to devising innovative ways to cheat slot machines. Carmichael began his life of crime with a nuts-and-bolts device, known as a ‘top-bottom joint’, to which he was introduced in the early Eighties. A crude affair, consisting of a curved piece of metal and a guitar string, the top-bottom joint effectively short-circuited the coin hopper of older, electromechanical slot machines, causing an illicit payout. Carmichael was arrested, convicted and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for using the device in Las Vegas in 1985.

He served just two years in prison but, on his release in 1987, slot machine had become more sophisticated. In response, Carmichael acquired a state-of-the-art machine and created a novel cheating device, known as the ‘slider’, or ‘monkey paw’, which was effective against the latest technology. Again employing a guitar string, together with a piece of sprung steel, the slider could be inserted into the payout chute, tripping a microswitch and causing the illegal release of coins from the hopper.

By the early Nineties, slot machine technology had moved on again, rendering the slider obsolete. Nevertheless, posing as a prospective buyer, Carmichael examined the inner workings of of a cutting-edge, computerised machine and devised a fresh device, known as the ‘light wand’. As the name suggests, the light wand employed a miniature light bulb powered by a camera battery – making it nigh on undetectable – and effectively ‘blinded’ the optical payout sensor when shone into the machine.

Carmichael was subsequently arrested in 1996, 1998 and 1999, on the latter occasion pleading guilty to running an illegal gambling enterprise, for which he was sentenced to time served plus three years’ probation. He died, at the age of 68, in 2019, but for the last 16 years of his life his name appeared on the Nevada Gaming Control Board List of Excluded Persons, a.k.a. the ‘Black Book’, so he was officially banned from every casino in the state.

Beyond SEO: The Digital Branding Strategies That Actually Matter in 2021

No matter the shape or size of your e-business, your success will depend on your ability to identify and engage your target audience effectively. As an entrepreneur, you have probably spent countless hours trawling through guides to online marketing and following all of the time-honoured mantras of SEO, SMO, and the rest.

However, while SEO is certainly important, it is not enough to launch a successful brand that is able to engage with the people you are trying to target. In 2021, digital branding and marketing are more competitive than ever before, with a sea-change occurring in how people consume online content that necessitates a different approach. With that in mind, read on to find out the digital branding strategies that actually have an impact in 2021.

Beyond SEO: The Digital Branding Strategies That Actually Matter in 2021

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1. Transparent Branding 

One thing that is clear is that no matter the industry you are in, your customers are savvier and more value-focused than ever before. Research from Falcon.io has shown that brands that are seen to be purposeful and honest with their customers grew twice as fast as those brands that were not perceived in the same way. This means having a clear mission statement, making your values clear, and being transparent with your customers is essential for success.

2. Hybrid Campaigns 

It is no longer enough to go it alone. One of the cornerstones of brand marketing in 2021 and beyond will be the use of hybrid campaigns involving collaboration with other brands. Recent examples where this has been successful are almost too numerous to count. Think the sellout Gucci x North Face campaign, or the Kith x BMW campaign from Christmas 2020, or the brand collaboration between the uber-chic perfume retailer Byredo and the furniture giant Ikea. The list goes on.

3. Authoritative Reviews

Customers now spend more time researching brands and trying to determine whether they offer value for money. This means having your company listed on an authoritative review site, rather than just having a good Google reviews score, is crucial. Let’s look at the example of online real-money gaming, one of the fastest-growing tech entertainment sectors in the world. Customers are more likely to consult an expert review site that is owned by impartial industry insiders such as Vegas Slots Online, which reveals the discounts, offers, game offerings, and user experience of all major casino brands. Having a good review on a relevant site such as this will do wonders for your brand.

Beyond SEO: The Digital Branding Strategies That Actually Matter in 2021

Source: Unsplash

4. Cross-Platform Micro-Influencing

The age of the mega-influencer has well and truly come to an end. Successful brands now realize that investing $100,000 in an Instagram post from a celebrity no longer pays off in the same way that it used to. It is clear that micro-influencers and nano-influencers (with less than 25K followers) have much higher engagement rates and a more loyal following than large-scale profiles. Successful user campaigns of the future will consist of cross-platform, hyper-targeted posts involving a series of micro-influencers, something that Amazon’s Audible service has done with great success in the past year.

5. Add That Chatbot 

You will already have read countless articles about the importance of automating as much of your time-consuming marketing and branding processes as possible. However, you do not need to re-invent the wheel here. Rather, you just need to stick to the well-established tools that have a proven track record of success. Chief among these is the humble chatbot. Research has shown that as much as 90% of all online queries will be handled by chatbots by 2022. Invest in a smart chatbot that will answer the questions your target audience will have, and keep them engaged.

6. UGC Never Went Away 

Finally, it bears emphasising the importance of user-generated content is here to stay. USG has been consistently proven to outperform brand content in terms of reach, engagement, and leads. This trend has been reinforced by emerging platforms such as Tik Tok, which is being leveraged by brands to great effect. If you can encourage a user-generated trend on an app such as Tik Tok, this will do much more for your brand than any ad campaign could ever do.

Business success depends on being able to stay ahead of the curve. By following these essential brand strategies, you will be able to rise above the competition and grow your business in the year ahead.

How to gamble safely and responsibly

How to gamble safely and responsibly Gambling is something that can be thrilling and exciting when it’s done responsibly and legally. There is no harm in playing online slots or placing a bet, but it’s easy to push yourself over the limit. In the heat of the moment you can get caught up and put in an extra deposit that you perhaps shouldn’t have. Ultimately, this could lead to spending more than you can afford to lose.

 

It can happen to literally anyone and there’s no shame in doing so, but it’s crucial to know how to stop it from ruining your life. Of course regulators across Europe have set plenty of rules in motion to ensure responsible gambling.  Just recently, the UK Gambling Commision announced new slot restrictions to safeguard online slot players from potential gambling harm. The main change highlighted the slowing down of spins to 2.5 seconds in order to minimise excessive play.

 

Despite these regulations, people can fall through the cracks – especially with online gambling. Some people are pushed further into unregulated casinos that have no protective measures to safeguard their money or carry out basic affordability checks. Here are a few things to help you gamble safely and responsibly to prevent your gambling from getting out of control.

Use Online Casino Help

Thankfully, most licenced online casinos have measures set in place to help you track your spending habits. They often have features that can set a Deposit Limit to control the amount you deposit into your account.

 

Big names such as Paddy Power, Sky Casino and BetWay have their own dedicated sites and online tools to help you. Whether that is setting a Loss Limit to ensure that you keep within your budget or setting up the Reality Check feature to give you timed reminders during your play – most online casinos are dedicated to helping you play safely and responsibly.

 

As a last resort, you should consider manually using casino blocking services such as GAMSTOP, Gamblock and Gamban. If you find yourself struggling to gamble responsibly, then these can offer much-needed assistance. These services can come at a cost but ban all online casinos meaning that you cannot access any licenced casino online.

Set A Budget

Almost all legal, online casinos will have mechanics to help you set your limits. These tools are incredibly useful and valuable – but sometimes you need a little extra help. This is a lot easier said than done but keeping track of your gambling habits means you can see where you are at with your budget.

 

It can be hard to just mentally keep track – so create a Google sheet to keep track of your deposits, or download a money managing app such as Mint. This can show you how excessive your spending has been and show if your habits need to change for the better.

Take Time Away

Stepping away from a winning situation can be incredibly tough, but sometimes necessary. There may be a rush of adrenaline to fight against but that’s better than losing it all. If you feel yourself gambling online constantly, then perhaps you need to re-evaluate. Just like planning your finances, you need to set time limits for yourself.

 

All UK casinos offer safer gambling tools to help keep your gambling under control. The most powerful one is the Self Exclusion tool that allows you to exclude yourself from any licenced online casino between 6 months to 5 years. All UK operators will be signed up to GAMSTOP through the Self-Exclusion tool. Other services include a Cooling Off Period which is offered by operators to block you for up to a week to allow you to unwind offline, and the Take A Break service pauses your account for a month.

 

If you want to go the extra mile then try time management apps like Remember the Milk. It’s great for planning out your time and seeing how much time you actually spend gambling. It can seriously be sobering but a much-needed wakeup call.

Talk It Out

It’s easy to internalise your feelings, but it’ll be better in the long run to talk to someone if you feel that you aren’t gambling responsibly. Whilst this may be embarrassing to begin with, it’s better than running yourself into an addiction. Talk to your friends and family to explain to them your situation to see if they can provide any assistance.

 

Of course going to close friends and family can be damaging to your self esteem, but there are alternatives to this. There are so many options available to help you for free and it can be anonymous. GamCare, Gamblers Anonymous and Gordon Moody provide services to assist you. They have call lines, online chats and group sessions that can help with whatever you need to stop you from gambling irresponsibly.

Closing Thoughts

Gambling is a fun and enjoyable activity that can bring people together with some mighty wins – but only when done responsibly. It’s so easy to get caught up in the thrill of an online slot that you can easily miss that you’ve spent too much time and money on it.

 

Just like any bad habit, it can be tough to kick. Of course you can try to play demo versions of games to stimulate the act, but it doesn’t fully stop the bad habits. Gambling is designed to be enjoyable with some risks thrown in. Positive change starts by planning and becoming aware of how to gamble safely and responsibly.