First and Last Time at a Casino…Probably

I’m not much of a gambler. I only play the lottery when the Powerball gets up to like 200 million. I’ve never been to Vegas, and don’t plan to go, and until last night, had never stepped foot in a casino. I’ve always thought placing a bet on anything was nothing more than a good way to throw away money. This is also why I don’t play the stock market. I invest, but don’t play. Now, I don’t object to the gaming industry. I recognize that gambling is a form of entertainment. If people want to waste money on the small chance of winning a jackpot, (the odds really are stacked against casino patrons) that’s their business. Spending time at the tables or with the one armed bandit can be exciting and even exhilarating, especially when winning. For others, however, gambling is addictive in much the same way as drugs, alcohol and tobacco can be. In fact, casino management understands that one addiction fuels another such that smoking is permitted and drinks flow freely. A drunk patron is likely to spend more and lose more money.

I probably wouldn’t have gone to the casino had it not been for the fact that my daughter needed a ride to meet up with a friend to see Katy Perry at the Arena at Mohegan Sun. This was the excuse I needed to see what this gambling thing was all about. So my wife and I drove down to Uncasville, CT to the Mohegan Sun. As we approached, we could see the glimmering glass building of the Hotel and Casino and tour buses by the hundreds. I was relieved to learn parking was free and we got a good spot right near an entrance.

When we arrived inside the Casino, the first thing I noticed was the cigarette smoke. It was a little surprising really. I don’t think I’ve been around that many smokers since I attended a Black Oak Arkansas, Molly Hatchet concert in High School back in the 70’s. It was shocking actually. The air was thick with smoke and alcohol. We looked around for some slots to play where folks were not smoking so much, and we quickly went through 20 dollars in a matter of minutes. Next, I tried my hand at video poker, but couldn’t figure out how the game worked and lost five bucks in a matter of seconds. So, thinking we’d be out of money in less than 10 minutes, we headed for the penny slots, eventually losing all we had to spend, which was 20 a piece. During breaks from the slots, we walked around and observed some of the table games. Patrons were mostly tipsy it seemed and tossing out lots of cash and chips that the dealers with stoic faces seemed to be raking in more than dishing out. The players really did not seem to be having much fun. On the other hand, the slot players did look to be enjoying themselves, especially the elderly among them, who didn’t mind all the smoke; some, in fact, were smoking. But it was all the smoke, the flashing lights and annoying sounds of overstimulated machines making all manner of sounds effects, that nearly caused me to go into a epileptic fit, that finally got us to leave. I don’t know if they had a smoke free, quiet gambling zone somewhere in there, but I couldn’t find it.

The smoke and over stimulation notwithstanding, we had a good time. We spent just a couple of hours and 40 dollars playing slots; our limit. Now I can check another thing off my bucket list. Those one armed bandits are out our system, though we both still smell like smoke.