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Adventures in Video Lottery

[This entry was originally posted on my MySpace blog. It was transferred to WordPress on 1/20/2013.]

I work in a video lottery casino. And boy is it depressing sometimes. I’m a guy that pretty much cherishes each dollar that comes my way. And by that, I don’t mean that I possess that love of money that is the proverbial root of all evil. I mean that pretty much each dollar is counted and used for something I need (i.e. food, clothing, rent, etc.) So working at a place in which thousands of dollars can pass through my hands in a matter of hours – thousands that are being dumped straight out of their wallets into the bowels of the machines – is somewhat harrowing. I really could use some of that to gas up my car so I can actually drive to work tomorrow.

Usually, people tend to spend what they can spare. Little old ladies with millions in the bank can throw a thousand bucks into a machine with no problem. But then you get the sad cases. Cases in which people are down on their luck and they mistakenly believe they can cure their problems with a Royal Flush. Well, I’ll tell ya; that hand is few and far between in the world of video lottery. But the lure of the possibility of winning a thousand dollars overpowers logic. They blow the last fifty bucks they have in an attempt to turn it into winnings and they walk out, head hanging, eyes downcast, empty-handed.

One woman I dealt with a couple months ago was so far gone that she had been writing checks on a closed account. I didn’t know it until my boss noticed the name on the checks. She wrote TWO two-hundred dollar checks that particular day and blew it all in roughly thirty minutes. She was so desperate to win that she was risking arrest and jail in casinos all over town.  She currently owes my employer $1000.

Is it really that much of a thrill?

Another woman we deal with on a nearly daily basis is a lonely, elderly lady who plays one particular video lottery machine every time she comes in.  And she plays nothing but Twenties – for hours at a time.  It’s not at all uncommon for her to spend $1500 in one evening.  Sometimes I think that perhaps she could take a break for a couple days and buy me a used car so I can drive to class.  But of course, that would be preposterous.  But spending $1500 on video lottery is acceptable.  It blows my mind and sometimes makes me shake my head.

Occasionally – and by that I mean perhaps once a month – I’ll plug a dollar into a machine after work and try a couple hands of poker. But that’s my limit. One dollar. If I’m meant to win, I will in my dollar. If not, well then I payed a buck to play a game. Not a big loss.

It’s depressing being poor and working in a casino. I do not recommend it to anyone. All that money, going to waste, when it could be doing something – anything – useful.

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