Shifts In Casino Gambling Trends

The internet’s ability to blur boundaries and society’s acceptance of casino gambling and sports betting ultimately shed light on the inconsistencies and loopholes of American gambling laws. From the makeshift sports book stalls in Nevada, most sports betting activities shifted operations and exploited the possibilities of cyberspace in the mid-1990s. At present, there are numerous online gaming sites catering to sports betting and casino gambling based in countries like Jamaica, Costa Rica, and Ireland.

Despite overseas-based operations, the lion’s share of the revenues and clients of these sites come from American states. In fact, recent studies show that these online casino gambling and sports betting sites earn more than legal casinos operating in Nevada. The profits of online gambling and betting sites are estimated at $70 billion for 2005 alone. This is a staggering amount compared to the reported $2 billion from Nevada casinos. This is enough to overthrow the three-decade reign of Nevada casinos from the 60′s to the early 90′s. Considering that sports book and casino sites have been operating for less than two decades, they are clearly a threat to the thriving Nevada gambling scene.

For decades, Las Vegas is the only place legal for gambling operations. Atlantic City followed suit and made casino gambling legal; the following decades saw the proliferation of state lotteries, card clubs, gaming ships, Indian casinos, and off-track betting salons across the nation. But still, these developments are not enough to compete with online gambling. The industry of online gambling is not even swayed by staunch opposition from legal US casinos. The gambling laws of the United States of America do not help, too. They vary widely from the different states. Most states ban all forms of gambling while some make exceptions. Inconsistencies like these make it easy for online operators to find and use loopholes in the law. The American Gaming Association maintains a defensive stand regarding online gambling. The association pushes for federal laws on the regulation of online gambling. According to them, the unregulated nature of the online gambling industry is its advantage over traditional casinos; regulating it puts both camps on even footing.

But despite this stand, some Nevada casinos are following the old stand-by: if you cannot beat them, join them. November 1998 saw the start of a new trend; traditional casinos started acquiring off-shore online casino gambling companies to improve their profits. An affiliate of the Hilton Hotels absorbed the Australian sports book Centrebet.com. Other Nevada casinos followed and this cycle again spawned a new barrage of debates.

Contrary to their earlier dislike of the online gambling industry, the traditional casinos set their sights higher. They are now pressuring the Congress to pass a law that legalizes online gambling. This is done in an effort to lower production costs; legalization means that they could now shift their operations in the US. Harrah’s and MGM Mirage, the two leading casinos in Nevada and undoubtedly owning their own online gambling sites, lead the casinos in requesting for the regulation of online gaming. Clearly, this move requesting for regulation does not intend to put traditional casinos at par with online sites anymore. The competition shifted between independent online sites and Nevada casino-owned sites. A move to regulate translates to double profits for the Nevada casinos.

It’s a Gamble! Gambling – Great? Gruesome? Gambling – Essential, Addictive, Destructive

I’m used to thinking of gambling as horrible. Every day I hear stories of people destroying their lives, and the well-being of their families, because they can’t stop gambling. Everything goes. A woman speaks from her prison cell: she turned to robbing banks to pay for her addiction. She doesn’t excuse herself. But she couldn’t help herself. She wanted to be arrested. Despair.

I’ve been thinking about gambling differently this past while. Not “pure gambling” (lottery tickets, casinos, online gambling). But gambling as an essential feature of healthy, hopeful living that takes us beyond the routine.

My partner and I are building a business. Now, that’s a gamble – with our time, our lives. I’m also building this site – Elsa’s Creativity Emporium. Another huge gamble with time, energy, creativity. Columbus sailed for America. His gamble: that he would end up in the Far East. He didn’t get was he was aiming for – but the gamble paid off for the Europeans.

Farmers plant seeds. The gamble: that the season will be good. Designers design The gamble: that the design will find a market.

People fall in love, and decide to try to make a live with that person – one of the biggest gambles in life.

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On the other hand, many people want a predictable salary. No gambling, please. So and so much an hour. Anything else feels wrong, out of control, dangerous. How can anyone live like that, they shudder and recoil.

An observation. Many people don’t want to gamble with work time. They want steady dependable pay. At the same time, they have a hugely developed urge, even an overwhelming urge, to gamble.

In other words, quite a number of the same people who want a steady paycheck spend a huge chunk of their everyday earnings on gambling!

“It’s just for fun.” “It’s my right.” “I have every right to do what I want with my money. I earned it, after all. It’s mine.” “Everyone’s entitled to have a good time every now and then. All those hours I work. I deserve something.”

So, though many people are entirely unable to consider working “on a gamble,” (building a business, doing creative projects that may well never pay), they gamble over and over in ways that are set up to make the huge majority of people lose.

But most of the world does live “on a gamble” – or combining the gamble with as much certainty as possible. Traditional gatherer-hunting societies for instance have the relative dependability of gathering (which brings in about 90% of food) and the gamble on what is brought in through hunting (10% of the average food supply, according to my reading). Even with the gathering part, no year is like any other year. The steady dependable pay-off (salary, berries, etc.) is not the norm.

And with that, back to gambling. I’m going to call the kind of gambling I’m used to recoiling from “pure gambling” – in other words, one isn’t gambling that the weather will cooperate with one’s efforts, one isn’t trying to make a sale, one isn’t trying to build a site or a business, one isn’t courting and hoping another will respond to us. “Pure gambling” – bingo, casinos, lotteries, slot machines, computer games like minesweeper and so on. The goal is winning in a game stacked against us, and the win builds nothing except the win. No book is written, no grain is harvested, nothing is built.

In everyday gambling – which I’ll call “part-of-life gambling”, the pleasure of winning is part of so many other things. It’s part of building a life – gambling that our reaching out to someone will pay off, gambling that our design will find a market, gambling that the move to another city where there are supposed to be better jobs will lead to a better job.

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In “pure gambling,” all that other stuff has been taken out. The goal: the win. The goal: the payoff. In some forms of “pure gambling”, one does build some skills – one learns to play bingo well, to know the ins and outs of computer games. One becomes fast, the moves automatic. In other forms of pure gambling, people just, say, pull the arm of a one-armed bandit – and the craving to keep doing this that be so strong that people have resorted (or so I’ve heard) to wearing diapers so they don’t need to leave to go to the bathroom.

I’ve felt the pull of pure gambling, as well as part-of-life gambling. The time: about ten years ago. Too much stress. One day, I opened minesweeper, a computer game, and played a few games. The stress disappeared. I ended up playing minesweeper for several days, getting better and better. Wonderful and relaxing. At some point, I couldn’t get better at minesweeper. From that point on, winning or losing (most often losing), became a matter of luck. And yet I still wanted to play. Very much so.

I did what was easiest for me to do: I asked my partner to take the game off my computer (at the time I didn’t have the skill to know how to delete it myself). I don’t think, though, that I could have used the computer and not played. The pull felt irresistible. I felt deprived when the game was gone. I wanted it back. I didn’t ask for it back, though. I was able to have that much power over the pull of the game.

I did, for a number of years, turn to solitaire – not on the computer. Too dangerous. The old-fashioned way, with cards. If I played more than I thought was okay, I would put the cards in a place where it was inconvenient for me to get them – in a corner of the basement, for instance. Sometimes I would go and get them. More often I wouldn’t.

The last several years have been so busy that there hasn’t been time to reach for the cards. And I’ve noticed that the urge is gone. I want, if I have a few minutes, to take a walk, to make supper, to do nothing. I like life better that way.

I’ve been gambling enormously, these past few years, but the healthy way – doing things, hoping and planning that the projects will make it in the world.

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I’m back to gambling: the good, the bad, the ugly.

The good. This is when we take gambles in life, gambles that come from as much knowledge and experience as possible. Even then, it’s important that we check out the risks as well as possible – because in everyday life just as in a casino, one can gamble away one’s savings, one’s home, and so on. I took a gamble fifteen years ago: I had work (flight attendant) that was dependable but didn’t satisfy me. I was finishing my Ph.D. when the airline hit hard times and offered a golden handshake to people willing to leave. I didn’t have full-time college or university teaching lined up. Worse, there was hardly any teaching of any kind available where I lived. Still, I took a gamble. After all, I had an almost completed Ph.D. in hand, and had been doing university teaching part-time for years.

It wasn’t an instant win. But I finally got college teaching, and eventually even steady college teaching. And that again isn’t an instant fix, like a casino win. It means having to work at making the teaching successful, learning how to make the more difficult classes work (when one can), etc. There are ongoing challenges.

I think of Crick and Watson, who worked on figuring out the structure of DNA – and only after 10 years came to the realization (through a dream) that there was a double helix. They gambled with 10 years of their life.

I think of Banting, who figured out how diabetes can be controlled through insulin. So much time and effort, done despite the lack of success of others.

The dangerous good. I am thinking of people my parents knew. Not gamblers of any sort. They had built a financially successful life through steady paid-by-the-hour work. Then their 20-year-old son saw a “golden business opportunity”. A local successful business was for sale. The parents mortgaged their house to the max to buy it. In a year, the successful business was destroyed through a serious of stupid choices made by their inexperienced son who had all kinds of ideas for “improving” it. The parents lost everything.

The bad. Pure gambling, when it’s more than an occasional pleasure. My mother would buy an Irish Sweepstakes ticket at a time when gambling was illegal in Canada. She got a thrill out of doing something illegal. Also the ticket was a kind of miracle hope for an instant fix to all the everyday financial struggles. But it was a small cost.

For all too many people, the cost is high – financially, and in time and focus. Apparently over 15% of Canadian teenagers have at least a moderate addiction to what I call bad gambling.

Of course it can also give some kind of gratification to people leading small boring lives. Bingo halls enthrall thousands of people week after week.

The gruesome. This is when the pure gambling urge takes over someone’s life, and often destroys everything else in that life. Couple life, parenting, other interests.

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What to do? One, recognize the intense power of the “gambling pay-off pull.” There it is, the jackpot – like a carrot to a donkey. Not easy to resist.

Societies and countries which outlaw gambling – like both Canada and the States used to – recognize the destructive power of “the pay-off pull” central to pure gambling.

Personally, I find it insane to take away the laws that prohibit gambling without at least, at the same time, mandating huge public education – from earliest childhood on – on the destructive power of “the gambling pay-off pull.”

It’s like no longer ensuring that water is drinkable, but not doing anything so that people each take care of their own water supply. Can you imagine a huge campaign against providing drinkable water on the basis that this tampers with individual liberty? that each person has the right to drink the water of one’s choice?

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And yet to go back to good gambling. I will now call it “integrated gambling” – gambling as part of other activities. The same intense pay-off pull may help us through tough times. We practice and practice a difficult guitar piece – we know there will be a pay-off and the high of getting there (at least for a moment, before we move on to the next challenge). We put in long hours working with a child with learning difficulties – and we exult when learning happens. Pay-off.

Good gambling. I’d say that’s a core part of human development. It keeps us going – we’re not only doing whatever it is (trying to keep the corps alive in a hard season), but longing for the pay-off. And when it does happen, euphoria, a natural high. Yeah!!!

Good gambling combines with creativity. It helps us move out of ruts, into the unknown. Something in us knows this is a good direction. There is a pull from deep inside ourselves.

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As with so much about us, it’s easy to mess things up.

Gambling – well. Gambling combined with a project, a goal, an end that does not have to do with gambling, a goal in itself that usually leads to further development.

Gambling – bad. Gambling for the lure of the win, the pay-off – usually unrelated to the efforts we put in. (There was nothing my mother did, that would make her more likely to win the Irish Sweepstakes than what anyone else did – it was just luck. And she never won.)

Gambling – gruesome – when “pure gambling” has taken over someone’s life.

All it takes is a tiny change inside ourselves to go from the good to the bad to the gruesome – a disconnection of the pay-off pull from something constructive.

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I started with words from a song I wrote years ago, on a gamble Western society gives huge value to: love. Young people are expected to find a partner to live with, taking a huge gamble with their lives. I would call it a central healthy gamble. And again here, it’s been found that, time after time, learning is important. People who have been around healthy love relationships are way more likely to have the love gamble pay off.

I think we need to learn to gamble well – to do the right kind, and do it well.

I’ll end with lines from that song – when can be about the best of a good gamble:

Love is my kind of tangle

Love is my kind of gamble

I’ve got all that I can handle

Love

More of Love Gamble, Love Tangle

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Where to send you from here? You can click here for Creativity Pure and Applied. Creativity – another side of ourselves that can be pure (creativity for the sake of creativity) and applied (creativity in the service of something else). The dynamics are decidedly different than with gambling!

My writing, by the way, is a gamble. I’m gambling that it’s worth it – to me and to you.

Comments welcome.

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For more good thinking and stimulating ideas, click and find ELSA’S IDEA EMPORIUM. Thought-provoking arguments plus stupid opinions exposed. And FREE UPDATES. Click here:

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Click and find:
How To Think – Helpful Tip Number One – Ask Yourself This One Question.
Whose Dog Is It Anyway? On Pets, Ownership, Slavery – Human Rights, Animal Rights, Who’s Right?
Elsa, age 7, Takes on God – Elsa Knows God is Wrong (the one she read about, anyway).
The Rottweiler Pope, the Danish Cartoon, and Muslim Moderates.
Stupid Opinion Number One – The Opinion That We Are Where We Are Meant To Be.
Stupid Opinion Number Two – The Opinion That All Opinions Are Equal.
Don’t Keep it Simple, Stupid – We’re Not All Mental Vegetables.
The Rage of the “Righteous”.

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The 10 Commandments of Casino Gambling

My name is Ray W. and I have spent the past 40 years studying and playing every form of gambling/betting systems in existence. From the time I walked into my first pool hall at the age of 16 I’ve been fascinated with every aspect of it. I guess that makes me somewhat of an expert, if there really is such a thing. It’s not just me that’s fascinated though.

According to government statistics, 86% of Americans have reported gambling on something in the past 12 months. Approximately only 1/3 of the population consists of non-bettors. They state that 46% of adults gamble in casinos and seven out of ten frequent non-casino gambling. The primary source of which is horse racing, sports betting, state lotteries and online or private card games.

48 states have some form of legalized gambling with only Utah and Hawaii being the only two that do not. There are currently 13 states that have legalized commercial state sponsored casinos with a total of 443 of these establishments. The combined gross revenue for these 443 casinos was $30.74 billion annually.
The numbers are truly staggering.

Although I, like so many others, derive a great deal of enjoyment from it, any type of gambling that risks a person losing enough money to affect their standard of living (or that of their family) is self-destructive and should be avoided at all costs. I have personally watched a man lose his entire aluminum siding business overnight during a ridiculously extended session of heads-up gin rummy. Hard to believe, I know.

My attraction to gambling and casino table games in particular, is rooted in a deep desire to win every time I play. There is nothing compulsive about my approach to casino gambling. In fact, I do everything I can to take as much of the gamble out of it as possible.

The winning approach consists of only playing games that have no more than a 2% house advantage (Craps .60%, Baccarat 1.25%, Roulette 2.6% on even-money wagers and Blackjack, even money depending on the use of expert “Basic Strategy”) and rigorous adherence to an iron-clad set of precepts which are the “golden rules” or The 10 Commandments as I like to call them.

1. Never gamble when tired or depressed.

2. Never gamble with more than you can comfortably afford to lose.

3. Do Not drink alcohol before or during gambling sessions. It is the chloroform the casinos provide to separate the player from their money.

4. Keep playing sessions short.

5. Always preset a definite bankroll for gambling and Do Not exceed that amount.

6. If you are feeling “negative” about your surroundings (the table, dealers, other players or if in a losing cycle) stop betting and leave the table. The tables will still be there when your mood changes.

7. Avoid playing without a clear plan of action (betting strategy, min./max. wagers).

8. Do Not increase the size of your bets when losing. Increase wagers only when winning. This will limit losses and let winnings run up.

9. Know that the battle is not between you and the casino… it is between you and you alone. Always maintain your self-discipline.

10. Always quit when winning.

Winning consistently at these four casino table games is not that difficult. I do it all the time. There are playing and betting strategies that I believe shifts the advantage from the “house” to the player in any given short session of play.

The above 10 rules of gambling have been handed down to me by the most astute professional gamblers I have known over the years. They are essential to intelligent and consistent winning. Anyone who is not able to follow these rules has no business in a casino gambling with real money.

Life, like gambling, is a constant battle with the unknown. If you knew what the outcome would be in advance it would take all the fun out of it.

“The serious gambler is a man who is at war with chance. In the casino there is, whether he wins or loses, certainty… he consults the table, which speaks to him through the dice, as the Greeks consulted the oracles, and the oracle rewards him by telling him now, not next week or next year, whether the choices he makes are right or wrong.”

- William Pearson
“The Muses of Ruin”

Best of luck,
Ray W.

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