One Step Away From Gambling
Characteristically compers and gamblers are a very different bunch from one another but are their respective worlds really so different?
The Gambling and Comping KinshipComping and gambling are two completely different things altogether. They may both be forms of competitions but the similarities end there. Comping is just a bit light-hearted fun, a nice sociable hobby that doesn’t cost anything. Gambling on the other hand is far from a hobby, it’s a sinful and seedy pursuit of money that not only costs money but livelihoods.
But is it really as clear cut as that? Appearances can be deceptive and although comping may look frivolous and fun it hides a strong kinship with its disreputable neighbour.
How ‘Free’ is Comping?‘Free’ is the word that comping wears as its badge of honour. By gambling for a prize one is giving up something for the chance of getting something better in return. Comping therefore can’t be classed as gambling because compers don’t risk any money in their pursuit of prizes. They either win or don’t win, they never lose.
Comping can’t be an entirely one-way affair however; promoters don’t put on competitions out the goodness of their hearts. They always get something in return and compers give something up, it just might not be as crude as money.
Time InvestmentsWhen entering a competition a comper could invest time and effort finding it, sending their entry and filling in a questionnaire as well as time, effort and frustration receiving and throwing away the stream of junk mail that follows it!
But these are negligible things, worthless and incomparable to money, surely? Well in culture where ‘time is money’ and where people charge customers by how much of their time they have used up, time is a very valuable commodity.
How much one’s personal time is worth is of course entirely dependent on the individual. Although if somebody invests a total of one hour on one competition for winning odds of 1 in 100,000 then this is not an ‘economical’ use of anybody’s time. On the other side, for the promoters, an upturn of 100,000 at a cost of holiday is very shrewd business indeed.
A Part Time JobMany of those that give up comping do so because they enter 20 or 30 competitions a day but see barely any impact from the immense effort they put in. For such a time investments, which equates to a part time job, they should expect considerable prize rewards. Even a holiday and a picnic hamper are not considered enough because they could have bought those things and more if they’d used their time more economically.
MoneyEvery comper will know that in reality there is actually a financial investment involved in comping. The competitions may be free to enter but the actual art of comping – buying the promotional goods, the special postcards, the stamps etc – costs money, and although these are often small amounts, any serious comper will know that they soon add up.
Comping magazines and websites help to add to the cost of comping by collecting together countless competitions and charging people for the privilege of access. Many compers who are struggling for a bit of good fortune see these as great opportunities to improve their chances, but with no guarantee of success, won’t they be effectively gambling their money?
Knowing the OddsA benefit to gambling money for a prize is that they get fair odds; the amount bet directly correlates to the chances of winning and the amount being paid out. By operating under the delusion that comping is free, the promoters can get away with getting a lot for very little in creating competitions that sometimes offer ridiculous odds that don’t justify the comper’s various investments of time, money and effort.
Experienced compers are aware their hobby isn’t really free, and has a shock in store for those who blindly believe that it is, and so play it accordingly – fighting the system and odds by utilising all the crafty techniques available to them, and ultimately making good on their investments of time, effort and even money.