Liz and I went to Foxwoods Casino a few weeks ago. We’d initially gone to check out a festival thing near the casino but couldn’t figure out how to actually get there. Eventually, we gave up and instead of driving all the way back home with nothing to show for it at all, we decided to check out the casino proper. I’ve never been gambling before and I thought maybe it’d be a good experience. Well, it was certainly an experience.

Let’s start by saying that visiting the slots parlour at a major casino is already probably not the best venue for a rollicking gambling experience. Going there at two in the afternoon on a weekday certainly doesn’t make it any better. Walking in, it was like entering the Retirement Home of the Damned. Ancient leathery women, their bones creaking as they pulled comically oversized levers, sat at machines with flashing lights seemingly designed to induce catatonic states, hoping for that big payout. The slots parlour is a place where applied statistics takes a back seat and you enter a realm with its own special rules, a realm where the next pull is bound to pay off big since the last fifty didn’t, a realm where people reserve multiple machines to help better the odds, a place where gambling takes “skill”.

It’s all a little bit ridiculous and more than a little sad for the people that end up with real gambling problems.

In the end, I took to gambling like a fish takes to powered flight, which is to say I didn’t take to gambling at all and I probably should not have been brought there in the first place. I don’t really understand gambling or addiction at all as I haven’t got a very addictive personality and I absolutely hate games with completely randomized elements determining victory or defeat. Clearly I’m not the target demographic for these establishments. It was definitely nice to try it a bit for the first time and to see a real casino, but I had much more fun eating pizza with Liz at one of the restaurants than I did watching machines eat my money only to flash lights in my face to tell me I’m a sucker.

We spent twenty dollars in twenty minutes to see those lights and I can’t say they were even the best lights I’d paid to see which is a damn shame. I once spent five dollars to see some really cool fireworks at a festival and those were much more interesting and much cheaper and I didn’t have to hang out with cigarette smoking old ladies to do it.

I guess what I’m saying is that if you ever decide to gamble at a slots parlour, you’d be better off reading this post, saving your money, and going to buy some fireworks instead.

I’m just looking out for you.