Friday, December 02, 2005

Creating casinos ONLY a problem gambler could love...

PITTSBURGH. In the paternalistic world of southwestern PA, we can always count on our government to protect us into creating exactly what it was trying to prevent in the 1st place. Now, after speculation and false starts has pretty much turned 5th and Forbes into the ghost town that was to be prevented, we've set our sights on a much bigger target: creating casinos only a problem gambler could love.

First, we're only getting slot machines. One gambler, one button, maybe 3 seconds. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Sure it's fun to drop a quarter in now and then, but I always find these places the most depressing part of Vegas, the place where you see the elderly trailing their oxygen, gambling their prescription drug money. Where are the table games? You know, ones that take a whole minute to play. One's where you might actually sit next to the people you came with and speak to them.

Today, the Post-Gazette highlights a proposal to ban complimentary drinks, a standard operating procedure in the industry. It's a nice perk. It makes the casino a more inviting place to go with friends and have fun (except we can only play slots....what about poker).

I have this nightmare...It feels like a premonition really of our "slots parlors." Uninviting with bright fluorescent lights (almost like a nursing home), rows of slot machines. Nothing to do but make change and press the button. A place nobody wants to go except for those unfortunate among us who have that irresistible, insatiable urge among us to insert quarter after quarter in pursuit of the few seconds of euphoria that accompanies a win.

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