They shoot gamblers don’t they?

24 Hour Gambling and 24 Hour Television… Discuss

I was cycling past the Hippodrome in Leicester Square in the heart of the glamorous West End the other day and noticed the reference to the 24-hour gambling.

And then there’s Cashino, the 24 hour fruit machine place in less salubrious Wood Green High Street.

Cashino, Wood Green.  If you ever find me here at 3am, please do me a favour by having me killed.

Cashino, Wood Green. If you ever find me here at 3am, please do me a favour by having me killed. Local men are available.

Opposite ends of the spectrum, but they both see a value in offering a 24-hour betting service.

I’m not a fan of gambling – a friend’s husband lost their life-savings and more (along with his marriage) in online gambling, and the ’24-hour’ offer rather gives it away.  This is a desperate option for losers.  Can you imagine using a fruit machine or playing roulette at 7pm on a Monday evening? Or at 10pm on a Sunday?  Thursday night at 2am?  Or in any morning?

It reminds me of They Shoot Horses Don’t They?  The film depicts depression-era contestants competing in a dance marathon – the last pair dancing winning the money – with predictably tragic results.  Or actually somewhat worse.

Could you imagine dancing at 10am on a Monday?

They Shoot Horses Don't They... the perils of ignoring the need for sleep in a depression-era dance marathon

They Shoot Horses Don’t They… the perils of ignoring the need for sleep in a depression-era dance marathon

And then there’s this great story.  A company in Wrexham which needs to offer customer service 24 hours a day decided that it was better to send staff on four-month sabbaticals to New Zealand, so they could handle the overnight calls during a normal daytime shift.  We had the same problem when I worked for a 24-hour TV channel which attracted its biggest audiences when it was 3am in London.  It simply isn’t possible to maintain such a high quality service at that time of night.   You can’t get the staff for a start.

When I chose the name of this blog – Viewing247, you may recall – it was a celebration of the clock and the daily routine that we go through – the circadian rhythms, the social routines and daily habits. We go on a little journey every 24 hours, arriving at the same place (only a day later…)

These rhythms are understood by TV schedulers but are underplayed in discussions about changing media consumption.  Television isn’t something to watch all day and night (that would be silly), but every timeslot has its place. It works at every timeslot. A tennis match to watch live at 4am on a Tuesday, Broadchurch at 9pm on Monday, the live News special at 2am, or the regular version at 6pm, the late night film…  Lovely programmes, carefully attuned to particular ebbs and flows in our daily riddm.

There’s nothing wrong with shifting them around at times (Pointless works at literally any time of day), but most of the time why would you bother?

For TV programmes, the 24 hour cycle is a temporal palette to showcase creativity.  It makes me tingle to think about it.  For the gambling industry the ‘Open 24 Hours’ sign represents its moral degeneracy.

 

Actually, perhaps dancing at 10am on a Monday might be fun