My dad used to say that lotteries such as Powerball were a tax on people too poor to pay income tax or property tax. As for casinos, he thought that brand of gambling was just a straight-up scam designed to rip off stupid people. Which is why I never play lotteries or visit casinos, unless I just happen to be going to a show or a concert and walk through the gambling areas.
At least when I was playing video-games as a kid and blowing my allowance one quarter at a time, I didn’t have any illusions that I was about to “hit the jackpot.”
Your dad was right.
Further, modern slots are learning machines. They monitor the “player’s” behavior in response to rewards, visual and auditory stimuli. They will learn what pattern of machine responses engages each player to continue to give-away his or her money.
“Player Rewards” cards assure this data can be maintained and transferred to different machines.
An individual who behaved like a casino and its operatives would be labelled as having an Antisocial Personality Disorder.
I did not know this; thank you. Can you please point me to some credible technical source on “learning” slot machines? I’d like to know more.
I can’t find the article which discussed that issue, but here is another excellent article on slot machine technology.
Dr. Mike Dixon seems to be the authority on the cognitive psychology of slots. Here is his page: http://www.psychology.uwaterloo.ca/people/faculty/mjdixon/
Thanks very much for this–excellent material. Tom, from earlier today, you should read these if you’re still in doubt about the swindle.
Let me make sure I understand this correctly. These new slot machines are not random–indeed, they are specifically designed to not be random.
Perhaps I am clueless, but why doesn’t this count as fraud?
It is a swindle, to be sure. But don’t forget, the gambling corporations are very rich and politically powerful. That’s why what is fraud isn’t “fraud.” Remember what the railroads got away with after the Civil War? Q.E.D.
I agree completely. Back in the 80s, I was executive assistant to the New York State Attorney General, the liberal Democrat and independently elected Robert Abrams. We strongly opposed and worked against a move then to change the state constitution to permit casino gambling in the economically distressed Catskills region and some other locations. Then, proponents of the change were largely politicians of both parties who you would never trust to hold the bank in your poker game, while many liberal Democrats joined with upstate Republicans in opposition based on concerns about casino gambling as a de facto tax on working people, the tendency of casinos to promote corruption, crime and prostitution, and at least a pinch of vestigial moral rectitude. Times have changed. Now, virtually all the self-styled “progressives” in New York, who dominate its politics and government far more than 30 years ago, back casino gambling for the “jobs and economic development” and the tax revenue.
Ah, you are man of much experience and many talents, it seems.
Though apparently there is not much research on the problem, what has been done indicates a high rate of suicide among gambling addicts.
The highest suicide rate of all addictions, according to an addictions agency course I took.
Gambling addicts chase the promise of recovering their loses down into deep debt, and when they ‘crash’, they commonly are filled with despair.
Very interesting; thank you for the source. I did not know that.
I would be filled with despair too.
Adam, you’re from Maryland? And you say you traveled up and down US 301 down Waldorf way, back in the day? From a fellow Free Stater, you’re now even more righteous in my book than before.
Not so fast. I appreciate the flattery, but while I live in Maryland now, I grew up and went to public schools in Virginia (born in DC proper under the Truman Constellation) and consider myself still a Commonwealther. My dad drove our two-toned 55 Chevy damned near everywhere…….
Speaking as someone who practiced corporation law for more than 35 years, I think you have misapprehended the role of Delaware in the American legal system. Delaware is the most popular venue for incorporation for at least two very substantive reasons.
First, the quality of their law and their judicial resources that upholds it is outstanding. Their law has a far larger and better thought out body of statute and precedent than any other state. A major reason for this is that they maintain a special court for corporate matters the Court of Chancery. The judges on that court have a well deserved reputation for acumen and impartiality. The court has a special jurisdiction over the officers and directors of Delaware corporations even if they never set foot in the state.
The consequence of this is that sophisticated investors prefer to invest in Delaware corporations. They have a well founded concern about getting “homered” in the courts of other states, which have often shown a greater concern for local management and jobs than for the rights of investors who live far away. And managers who want home court advantage are willing to submit to Delaware’s jurisdiction, because they know that they will be treated fairly.
Second, Delaware’s corporate records office provides far better service than do the comparable offices of other states. Filling and recording documents that may take days or weeks in other states can often be done in Delaware in hours. This is important when major transactions are conducted on a rush basis, as is so often the case.
Your concern that Delaware’s corporate system allows for money laundering and tax evasion is misplaced. Merely forming a corporation is only one step towards doing business. Banking regulators require banks to “know their customers”. Just because you have a corporate charter in hand does not mean that you can open a bank account. You must tell the bank who you are and what your business is. You must provide tax id numbers for all accounts and the banks send enormous amounts of information to the taxing authorities. Bank procedures in these matters are audited by banking regulators. Furthermore, corporate status does not exempt anyone from the various substantive regulations that govern many, if not most, businesses in the US today. You will still need all the licenses and permits that an unincorporated business would have.