A study in faithfulness commissioned by dating website Gleeden has found that British men are less likely to cheat than their European cousins.
How does this correspond to other forms of cheating, though? After all, a propensity for one lifetime partner doesn’t always transfer over to the games room. Men – and, indeed, women – have been cheating at all kinds of games for centuries, from pool and darts to bridge and poker, after all.
The History of the Cheater
If we’re talking British men and infidelity, a great place to start is with that suavest of Brits: James Bond. Ian Fleming was obsessed with cards – British gambling laws
at that time had led to the foundation of a number of “gentleman’s clubs”, which were essentially members only casinos with a high class menu – and this shone through in his portrayal of the serial womanizer.
Sir Hugo Drax is the big cheat in Moonraker, with other Bond characters cheating, too
• Auric Goldfinger is cheating at rummy when Bond intercepts his spotter
• In Octopussy, Kamal Kahn cheats at backgammon with loaded dice
• In License to Kill, Sanchez’ girlfriend deals to Bond, telling him he will lose, but not much
It’s in the book Moonraker that we get a real insight into the life of the card cheat, though. Bond is originally asked by his boss, M, to help uncover the cheating of one of the other players at the fictional club, Blades. That member, however, is Sir Hugo Drax, a man just about to launch a nuclear deterrent program for the UK. Bond needs to avoid a scandal.
We get an insight into the cheating, then, as Drax uses a “shiner”, in effect a polished cigarette case that acts as a mirror and allows him to see the cards he deals. Bond is able to identify this and catch him in his own trick, after switching in a bogus deck and cleaning the multi-millionaire out.
Yet there is a twist. Why would a British man want to cheat at cards, especially if he was already rich? First, it’s thought his poor background could be to blame, but then it becomes apparent: he’s not British! Of course, the lead bad guy is German, and they cheat more than the Brits, right?
Well, according to the Gleeden study, yes. British men only cheat on their partners 40% of the time, while the Germans do so 45% of the time. It’s hardly a fair survey asking the members of a site dedicated to extra-marital affairs, though…
How about online?
After online poker was “found” to be against US regulations, UK poker rooms
took on more significance for the companies. Yet this meant that they had to deal with a very different type of gambler. While US players are often boisterous and gregarious with their chips, the UK’s poker players are often a lot quieter.
We can take another look at Bond, with 2006’s Casino Royale providing another insight, but for a real look at the art of online cheating, we have to look somewhere a bit different.
Indeed, online casinos in the UK, and worldwide, are notoriously hard to cheat. Not only are there complex checks and balances in place, but the companies share the details of suspected cheaters amongst each other to ensure any cheaters are prevented from making any more money from them.
So, instead, it’s a different form of cheater that we will focus on: the hackers who try to not only mine personal data from these companies, but blackmail them into paying “protection” money. Or at least that’s what they’ll attempt to do.
Late in 2013, the news broke that two Polish hackers had attempted to blackmail a British casino operator into giving them 50% of his business and in return, they would not launch a DDOS attack on his site.
A DDOS (or Distributed Denial of Service) attack is where someone attempts to take down a server by flooding it with information, but in this case the hackers had picked on the wrong man. Instead of giving into their demands, he recorded the call, organized a meeting and called the police.
They proceeded to gather more information before arresting the men. A lesson to be learnt: it’s not a good idea to mess with the owners of online casinos. While the DDOS attack cost the unnamed casino $15,000, it resulted in the saving of the $60 million business: a price worth paying.
The Rise of Spot Fixing
Yet sports betting has its own set of rules, it may seem. While the Brits may not cheat much at cards or with women, when it comes to sport it’s a different story.
Indeed, this year has seen a whole host of sportsmen in trouble for fixing their matches. Two British footballers were arrested after fixing Australian football matches, while another man was arrested at the Australian Open tennis tournament. Perhaps this is seen as something a bit different.
With mobile betting taking off, there have also been a whole host of sportsmen hitting the headlines for betting offenses. England footballer Andros Townsend was cautioned for breaking rules, while Tranmere Rovers manager Ronnie Moore has become the latest dragged before the FA for his actions.
None of these are actually cheating, though: just breaking rules set out in the FA’s guide. Perhaps Brits truly aren’t cheaters. There hasn’t been a noteworthy case of spot fixing such as the Black Sox Scandal of the 1919 World Series of Baseball.
All in all, it seems that British men may actually be more honest than their counterparts. Whether this is just for those in the bedroom or those in gambling or business too is unclear. No-one is squeaky clean, however.