Why the casino?

I was reading the Yahoo News and came across that article about a woman who had just won to grand prizes on a slot machine in Mississippi. That got me to thinking about what I was going to do today and how I enjoy going to a casino. I walked into the living room and asked my wife to look at the article. It did not take long before she asked me why I wanted her to look at that article. I said let’s go to the casino for a few hours today. There was no argument from my wife, she loves to go to the casino too.

Why the casino? I did not always like going to a casino or gambling at all. I could not get myself to let go of the money that I have saved. There is a part of me that thought of any loss of money also meant that I would not be able to buy things that I wanted. For me, I like to get into a project and work on it, complete it and go to the next project. The only problem with that is that I do that alone, not with my wife. I completely submerge myself in the project. So through the years I would be grudgingly go to Las Vegas with my wife and suffer through the process of watching her play the slot machines. Of course she would invite me to play and if I did so I convinced myself that I would not have fun.

One of the things that Las Vegas has besides the obvious gambling is a beautiful display of the many themes of life. The buildings are unbelievable as to their architecture and their appearance. And if you’re person that likes to watch people there is no better place to go. I think it is because my very first visit to Las Vegas was on a business trip. I stayed in the old downtown area. The casinos is there have low ceilings that capture all the smoke from the smokers. And outside the casinos are a group of people who truly have a problem with gambling. They fill the walkways that surround the casinos and if they can afford it, or even if they cannot afford it, they go inside the casinos. They smell and they do not care how they look. As a policeman they were someone you cannot relax around. It was not until some years later that I got to go to the Las Vegas strip and I stayed one of the older casinos on the strip. The ceilings were little higher, but the smoke still seemed thick and that bothered me as a non-smoker. The people on the poker tables and around the crap table all seem like they were professionals and were very serious about their gambling. That made it a little intimidating to want to sit at a table. I had to worry about making an obvious wrong play that affected the whole table. The crap table seemed so crazy and loud that I felt I was not in control of any part of the game and so I was not willing to play the game.

After my retirement I moved away from California and therefore did not go to Las Vegas anymore. The casinos that I then went to were smaller but cleaner. As the years went by I found myself enjoying going to the casino. The very first casinos were in Louisiana. They were designed like old paddleboat and usually consisted of three stories of slot machine and gambling tables. Once again I found the smoke in the places a bit much to handle. That all changed when I went to La’Auberge casino in Lake Charles Louisiana. It was open with high ceilings and its interior was brighter than most casinos I’d been to. Most of the casinos seem to be dark. So smoke was not an issue there and when I looked around the people gambling seem to me less like professionals and more likely we would meet in town. When in Las Vegas I always worried about my security outside the casino. In Lake Charles I do not feel that way. There is no real street life outside the casino and the presence of security inside the casino is very obvious. The casinos brought in; city folk, small town people, farmers, truckers, moms and it seems a lot of grandmas. Many of the newly constructed casinos have a refreshment stand inside. Why is that important, well instead of waiting for a cocktail waitress to come around and ask if you want something to drink, you can walk up to the machine and get your coffee or soda. The new casinos seem to be kept very clean. It is been my experience that most men’s bathrooms smell and seemed to be dirty most the time. In the new casinos the restrooms seem to be clean and well kept. The employees of the casino especially the security seem open, friendly and glad you were there.

The biggest hurdle for me was of course the money. And it wasn’t until last year when I won a large amount of money that I began to relax about the money that I had lost. So I enjoyed the environment. I still like to people watch. But I can feel relaxed in doing so in the new casinos. One the new casino is called Margaritaville and is one of my favorites. All the machines and gambling tables are on one floor which is surrounded by glass wall that exposes all the shops and restaurants around it. It is at the end of a roll of shops and shopping center, I especially like the fact that his next to the casino is a Bass Pro Shop.

So I began to join my wife sitting at the slot machines. The slot machine requires no mental exercise on my part. Rather there is the entertainment of the lights and sounds of the machine. I also enjoy spending the night in a nice hotel room, which I found out was compensated for or free based on the amount to gambling that my wife and I did. And obviously we’ve done enough to get a free room. The restaurants are clean and the food really tastes great. The money that is spent comes from a special fund that is dedicated just for gambling. In the last couple years my wife and I have won enough to keep us gambling on the casino’s money up until December of this year. We would dedicate a certain amount of money for the casino and we did not go into any other funds. So if it is not a question of money the enjoyment I get out of the environment of the casino is like taking a small vacation for me. I know it cost money but I get my money’s worth by going to the casino. Surprisingly, last year I was able to win enough to almost break even for all the cost.

This last trip to the casino was an effort to get through a very cold and dismal day at the house. Luckily I do not have to drive far to get to casino in Oklahoma. And each time I’m there I’m amazed about the varieties of people have decided to do the same thing as me, go gambling. If I ever wondered what grandmas and great grandma’s did for fun I would guess now that part of their fun includes a casino. It is one of those places that I do not feel out of place due to my age. I’m even taken back by the number of sickly looking seniors carrying their oxygen bottles were being pushed by a relative down the aisles to gamble.

Of course the excitement of winning really pumps an old man up. If your prize is big enough the casino employees come to you with paperwork to fill out so that Uncle Sam gets his share of the winnings. It is almost like being a celebrity for short period of time when that happens. Unlike a cruise or plane trip to an exotic island, I can stop gambling and go home anytime. I do not like losing the money, but I sure enjoy the trip. It is something I can do with my wife. We both seem to enjoy the moment and each other’s company at the end of an exciting day. Once I went to a casino alone during a business trip to Oklahoma, I will not do that again. There really is no fun without sharing the experience with someone else. Someone who can get excited when you win and console you when you lose. I am not a big gambler and usually start at the penny machines and if I’m doing well I go to the dollar machines. I’ve never played in the high-stakes portion of the casino. It is not a goal of mine anyway. My goal is to enjoy my time on this earth whether it is for a few hours or a few days. And one of the ways I do this is by going with my wife to a casino to do a little gambling, stay in a nice room and eat some good food.

I could’ve not of done this as a young man while raising a family. But now that I’m can control of my budget and can find some time to enjoy the dayby going to the casino. It is one of things I choose to do.


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