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Next week my wife will be taking a short trip to Atlantic City with her mother as a Mother’s Day gift.  They will be staying a night or two.  I will not be joining them because of a combination of scheduling issues and fewer vacation days available. 

I can’t say I’m entirely disappointed.

I’ve been on these Atlantic City trips, along with trips to the more recently opened casinos closer to home many times.  I walk into these places and they overwhelm the senses.  The air is filled with noises from electronic beeps to cries of triumph or defeat.  There is a hanging pall of smoke over many areas, and the smell of cigarettes permeates even the no smoking sections of the casino floor.  The entire place is decorated with garish colors, outlandish images, or some combination thereof. 

And the people.

The place is awash in a sea of humanity that ebbs and flows through the rows upon rows of flashing slot machines.  Senior citizens who seem to struggle to move as the navigate the ramps and escalators from the parking garage suddenly move like Jesse Owens in Berlin circa 1936 in the mad rush to get the best and newest machines.  But, even as they flitter from place to place they quickly descend into a zombie-like stupor of pressing a single button over and over. FOR HOURS.

I wander the casino floor in a daze most of the time I step into these places.  There is a palpable aura about me that is soporific.  And while the siren song of the flashing machines calls to everyone around me, I feel like Valentine Michael Smith taking his first steps onto Earth.

Still, it is an interesting experience for a time.  I’ve never been a gambler.  I don’t see the point in gambling.  One would think that, as a gamer, I would be attracted to games of chance, especially the newer slot machines that practically are video games.  But, I’m not in the least.  The only interests to me are in observation and the occasional pursuit off the casino floor such as a concert or travelling exhibit.  I bore quickly.

I’ve watched the casinos change quite a bit over the last several years.  You can’t even drop a coin in a machine as you walk by anymore.  Winnings are paid in tickets which then have to be cashed in at a machine.  Everything is done to encourage and ensure that as much of every dollar brought into the casino stays there.  The deck is so thoroughly stacked against you I wonder that people bother.

Perhaps I just don’t have the wiring in me for the love of the casino floor.  I prefer my games reward my abilities and skill, games of pure chance can’t really be won.  Especially when the casino sets the odds.


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