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November 12, 2010 Print

Ten Things the Gambling Industry Won’t Tell You

by Chad Hills

Before you step into a casino or buy a lottery ticket, you might want to run through this list of “Ten Things the Gaming Industry Won’t Tell You,” from SmartMoney.com. The article was written and posted sometime ago, but it’s even more relevant today.

I’ll quickly list the 10 items with a few comments, but it’s worth reading the entire SmartMoney.com article (Read full article …)

1) You Can’t Win – Big gambling isn’t a $90-plus billion profit maker because the house loses. The odds are always stacked against the gambler, but “sold” as a “probable win” to prospective gamblers. It’s the pursuit of false hope.

2) If You Do Win, You Might Not Get Paid
– Numerous “errors” occur in lotteries and with slot machines – “malfunctions” they are called. Big winners have walked out of casinos with a “free breakfast” to compensate for the slot-machine “malfunctions” and false wins – deadbeat casinos with deadbeat jackpots.  They don’t mind taking your money, but casinos DO MIND losing to you!

3) We Promise More than We Deliver
– “We create jobs and commerce,” gambling claims. “The state will make millions in revenue, and the money will go toward education,” they say. Right. Once gambling’s foot is in the door, all promises are null and void. Voters are duped by gambling’s grandiose promises and then left wondering what happened to all the “high-paying” jobs and money.

4) We Know Everything About You – It’s interesting that casinos always send “comps” (freebies) around your birthday, along with a Happy Birthday wish. Casinos seem to know which machines you like, how much you’ve won or lost, when you need free alcohol to numb your losses and keep you “chasing” a win. Through “Player Cards,” casinos basically profile their patrons.

5) Gambling Is a Lousy Investment – We know the gambler always loses, but what about the investor? Gambling on gambling is a bad bet, as gambling is too volatile and unstable. Even the world’s largest casino company, Harrah’s (recently re-branded as “Caesar’s”)  is opening a portion of it’s “private” shares to the public in the form of a risky Initial Public Offering (IPO) – not a wise investment, especially with gambling flattening and declining in the past three years.

6) Addicts Keep Gambling in Business – If gambling addicts were kept out of casinos for a year or two, most casinos would go belly-up. Few businesses –vice or legitimate – can sustain more than a 50-percent loss in revenues, and gambling addicts fuel more than half of casino and lottery profits.

7) We Target Your Kids
– Future gamblers are key to big gambling’s sustainability in the coming years. Poker, a relatively boring game to watch, now features major 20-something stars with low-slung baseball caps, tattoos, sunglasses and quirky personalities with Spiderman-like camera action (under the table, behind players, looking at players’ cards) – all on your TV at night, when kids are home. The World Poker Series has become an “occupation.” Children and adolescents now want to be “professional” poker players.

8) Gambling Exploits the Elderly – Casino buses line up in front of rest homes and retirement villages, waiting to transport lonely, bored, retirement-rich seniors to casinos for a “free lunch” and a day of “entertainment.” Dropping nickels into slot machines, it’s possible to spend $54 per minute on a nickel slot, just for the fun of it. Social Security checks and lifetime savings accounts are drained about as quickly as seniors become addicted to gambling, especially among African American seniors.

9) We Have Your Legislators in Our Pocket – Big gambling has deep pockets, big promises and all the “candy” a state or federal legislator could possibly want. But corruption is usually part of big gambling’s package. Allegations involving Alabama 2010 elections are a prime example of how gambling can destroy political integrity and the political futures of incumbents and candidates.

10) Our “Regulations” Are Full of Loopholes – Wiggle room is important to big gambling, especially when you’re deceiving people to exploit their weaknesses, form addiction and profit from gamblers’ losses. Gambling is not held liable – and assumes no responsibility – for the social harm, addictions and damages it causes. Gambling is only profitable if you are the one running a lottery casino. But it’s not necessarily profitable for states (gambling fails the cost-benefit test) nor is it an “ethical” business. Gambling is like pornography, in that it causes immeasurable, harmful addictions that destroy marriages, families and lives.

Read the full list in SmartMoney.com.