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Why I Love Casino Gambling7 May 2000
It irritates me when I listen to critics knock my favorite pastime of casino gambling. Most critics look at casino gambling they way the Heart and Lung Association looks at cigarette smoking - as a vice pure and simple (or, rather, impure and complex).
I don't see it that way at all.
Casino gambling is not a vice to me. It is a pastime. Like tennis. Or bowling. Or going to the movies. Or stamp collecting. It is a pleasure.
"Oh, but most people lose money when they go to the casinos," state the critics. Yes, they do.
And everyone loses money when they go to the movies or play tennis or bowl or collect stamps. In business terms, it's the cost of entrance or the cost of the activity. Unless you sneak into your favorite local cinema, movies cost anywhere from $5 to $10 to get into. Add some buttered popcorn and candy and soda and ice cream (all sold for outrageously high sums inside the theatre) - and an evening for two at the bijou will "lose" you $40 or more for two hours or so of entertainment. And you're not even guaranteed that the movie will be good.
Now if I play blackjack using basic strategy while betting $5 per hand, I will "lose" on average a mere $3 in that two-hour time period. (Here's how you can figure that: 60 hands per hour at $5 per hand means you put into action $300 per hour. A basic strategy player faces an approximately one-half percent house edge. Thus, $300 X .005 = $1.50 per hour.) But, unlike the movie patron, who has nothing to show for his two hours in the theatre except (good or bad) memories and clogged arteries, the $5 blackjack player has a chance to walk out of the casino with more money than he entered with.
Oh, the critics say, but what about all those individuals who are addicted to gambling? Who have lost everything because of their compulsion to throw good money after bad in the pursuit of Dame Fortune's favors?
I cannot make light of anyone who has a gambling problem. However, I also cannot make light of anyone who has a jogging problem (I have an acquaintance whose doctor has told him that his jogging addiction is not just hurting his knees but is seriously damaging his kidneys), or a Beanie Baby problem (a recent national story focused on a woman who was arrested for robbery to support her Beanie Baby addiction), or any disorder associated with lack of moderation and loss of control. But does my acquaintance's jogging compulsion or the Beanie Baby bandit's misdeeds mean that the rest of us shouldn't be allowed to jog, or collect Beanie Babies?
Saying that casino gambling per se is the root cause of the gambling addiction, and must be banned, is the same as saying that jogging is the cause of my acquaintance's troubles and also must be eliminated. There is a huge difference in type and degree between a wine connoisseur and a guy chugging gallons of muscatel under the bridge in his cardboard home. Short of outlawing everything that many people find pleasurable, though a few find a source of distress (which would mean outlawing just about everything), then casino gambling must be looked at for what it really is. Entertainment. An adult thrill ride.
Personally, I prefer it to tennis as I don't look good in white and hitting a ball back and forth makes no sense to me. Also, it costs much too much to pay for all those rackets and balls and court fees. Golf? Too slow. I like walking but why should I carry all those clubs? Stamps? Please.
Casino gambling for me is athletics without the nagging back injuries. I can challenge a mighty opponent and know the only thing I have to lose is money that I have set aside for this challenge. Oh, I like going to the movies. But more often than not (in fact, far more often than not), Hollywood's movies are unrewarding experiences, and I leave the theatre thinking: "I've been cheated."
I never feel that way about casino gambling. I've had my ups and my downs but that's the thrill ride I enjoy. In fact, I've had so many more ups in casinos and so many more downs at movies that if I were to give up either one -- so long celluloid!
The final argument that critics of gambling make is this: "Casinos bring crime with them to areas that didn't have crime before." Since many casino towns have been built on grassland and prairie and water, yes, indeed, once a casino goes up so does crime. But is the influx of some dirty rotten scoundrels unique to casinos or is it the cost of doing business?
Let's do an experiment. Let's make all the casinos of America vanish. Right now. Poof! They're now gone. Like George Bailey in "It's A Wonderful Life," they never existed. In their place, let us make huge shopping centers suddenly appear. So what happens? Crime goes up! Why? Because huge shopping centers attract people with money and people with money attract the nefarious element. I'd be willing to bet that if a study were done concerning land use, the so-called rise in crime that casinos bring would be found to be no greater, and probably much, much less owing to good security, than the rise in crime that huge shopping malls bring.
Frankly speaking, casino gambling is a great entertainment experience and a pleasure - pure and simple.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at email@example.com.
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