John Andrist: Someone Wants Your Money

I feel compelled to report to you that senior centers can be gambling dens.

I suspected as much when I visited the nursing home in Crosby during Bingo time many years ago, and found how excited it made some of the old geezers to win.

I can now use that word, because I am one of them.

They play Bingo at least once a week here where I now spend most of my time. In order to play you have to bring two quarters and five dimes, and I’m staying away so I don’t go broke.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]Gambling is the only commercial activity I know that pretty well promises the return will be less than the investment.[/mks_pullquote]

They also play poker — for real money. You have to bring ten dimes to each session.

Then too, there is wagering. Two of our guys bet five bucks on whether the Twins would win 70 games this season. They didn’t trust each other, so they had a third guy hold the booty.

Before he would do it, he had to take them to his room and show them where the money was, just in case he died before the end of the season.

Serous business, this senior center wagering. The season keeps seeming longer every day for the Twins, and several of us could die before the World Series arrives.

Seriously, I’ve never been a fan of legalized gambling. I’ve bought hundreds of raffle tickets for charitable activities, and enjoyed making a friendly wager on occasion.

But I never supported the state getting into the business, as we did when voters legalized charitable gaming, and again when we voted to have a state lottery.

When I was young I twice lost almost all the money I had at carnival gambling stands.

My recollection is that the first time is was about twelve bucks. The second time it was around $23.

Hey, that’s not a lot of money, unless it is all you have to your name, and you earned it at odd jobs that sometimes paid as little as 10c an hour.

Gambling is the only commercial activity I know that pretty well promises the return will be less than the investment.

Moreover, it is a regressive activity. The poor tend to lose more than the rich, because they invest to a larger degree. Yeah, that’s the principle of gambling: the more you pay the more likely you are to lose.

Mind you I relish the gambles we take in the world of business. Farmers gamble every time they put in a crop. Investors are taking far more than penny ante risk every time they press the “buy” button.

But the odds are a whale of lot better for that kind of gambling.

[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]That’s the beauty of memory; we forget the bad times and remember the good.[/mks_pullquote]

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone returning from Las Vegas or a native American casino who lost a lot of money. Most of them say they were winners.

Methinks the losing sessions are more forgettable than the winning ones. That’s the beauty of memory; we forget the bad times and remember the good.

Gamblers are mostly looking for something for nothing. But a majority of them end up with nothing for something.

And yet the state pockets a few sheckles of the gambling proceeds, even though it is far less than expected, after they pay expenses.

I suppose I should be happy. It’s a tax I have never had to pay, and those who do contribute it voluntarily.

You probably think I am exaggerating, that I’ve gambled more than I will admit.

Five will get you ten that you are wrong. Want to bet?

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

Related posts

Top