I haven’t written this book to entice you to gamble. If you’ve never been in a casino, there’s no reason to visit one now when there are plenty of healthier, safer, and less costly ways to occupy your time.
Walking, biking, golfing, swimming, hiking, reading, volunteering, knitting, sculpting, painting, theater, quilting, gardening; the list is endless. It isn’t necessary to gamble to have fun and gambling can quickly become a costly addiction.
If you have never been in a casino or have visited just one or two times and plan on returning, I’d like to provide some information you might find useful so that you have a general understanding of the casino, the games, and the freebies you might be able to get while there.
Casinos welcome anyone of legal gambling age and with money in their pocket or purse. Depending upon the time of day or day of the week, the majority of gamblers may be senior citizens or they may be much younger. Weekdays are prime senior time with many seniors arriving by tour bus or fly-in programs. Walkers, wheelchairs, motorized scooters, canes, and oxygen tanks are common. So are discussions of medical conditions, doctor visits, and medications.
Younger people don’t usually discuss their ailments particularly with people they’ve just met but many seniors aren’t shy about sharing personal details like the man and woman at video poker machines next to me did last week.
They’d never met before but after the man made a comment about the “unfriendly” machine he was playing the woman made a similar comment in return. That got the questions flowing and before I knew it they were comparing their diabetes meds.
Weekends, primarily Friday and Saturday nights, draw the younger crowd as well as most of the most obvious “working girls.” Some younger gamblers get annoyed that seniors inhabit their space but money knows no age or gender; whether it’s a paycheck or a retirement check, it still spends in the casino.
Expect to lose. Casinos aren’t in the business to give money away. The sumptuous surroundings were paid for by losers, not winners. The odds are against you the minute you walk into a casino. Be realistic. You’re there to have fun not to lose your retirement money.
Take only as much money as you can afford to lose and leave when it’s gone. If you don’t think you can stick to a predetermined budget, walk away before you gamble the first nickel.
The current word for gambling is “gaming” and players are called “gamers.” Regardless of what you call it, betting money is gambling and those who bet are gamblers.
The best way to visit a casino is with a friend, spouse, relative, or group of people you know. While there’s nothing wrong with going by your- self, you’ll have more fun if you’re there with friends. Be sure to carry a cellphone and check in with your friend(s) periodically.
If you’re traveling with a tour group, make sure you get back to the pick-up area well before departure time. Tour buses have schedules as do airlines. If you miss a bus or plane you might have to figure out how to get home on your own.
Even if alcohol drinks are free, don’t drink. Alcohol impairs judgment and you’re likely to bet more or more carelessly while you’re drinking.
Turn your gambling money into small bills so that you’re aware each time you put another bill into a machine.
Take breaks from the machines to walk around and get a new perspective and a little exercise. Some people get into a trance-like state playing at machines and become oblivious to their surroundings or the money they’re losing. There are stories of people sitting for hours, in their own urine or excrement, at slot machines. Nothing is that important.
Don’t offer to loan anyone money if they’ve gambled through the money they brought with them.
I was playing video poker a few years ago when an older woman interrupted the man playing the poker machine next to me to tell him she was broke and asked to borrow some money. She said she could write him a check if he wanted it but she would for sure pay him back the next day when her bank opened.
The man and woman were neighbors and part of a group from a local retirement community. He made his first mistake when he pulled out his wallet and handed her two hundred dollars.
He made his second mistake by not asking her to write a check for the amount she borrowed.
Unfortunately, she came back several times to borrow more money during the time I was sitting next to him and each time she returned I could sense a sourness developing in their friendship.
By the time I left to play in another part of the casino they were disagreeing about the amount of money she had borrowed from him that day. If he had been collecting checks for each loan he gave her he would have had a record of what she borrowed and that disagreement would not have had a chance to happen.
Loaning someone gambling money might seem the right thing to do while at the casino but when the borrower gets home and realizes that she (or he) lost more money than planned, the gambling excursion will have lost its fun factor.
Something simple such as “Sorry, I’m almost out, too” should work well.
If you hit a big jackpot it’s a little more difficult to say you have no money to loan but that can be resolved by asking the casino to pay you with a check instead of cash.
In messaging LOL means “laughing out loud.” For the purposes of this book, it means “Little Old Lady” or “Little Old Ladies” and LOM means “Little Old Man” or “Little Old Men.”
Casinos draw LOL and LOM like flies to cow pies. Some younger gamblers seem annoyed that seniors enjoy the same activities they do. I’ve watched younger people roll their eyes and comment to their companions that they don’t know if they’re in a casino or a nursing home.
Recently I watched a young casino employee joking with another employee. The first employee, a twenty-something, pretended to hold a microphone and announced: “Breathing lessons at noon on the patio.” They both laughed; I didn’t.
The enjoyment of gambling doesn’t go away with age, it may even intensify. Gamblers don’t “age out” into other pastimes.
Seniors have more free time, perhaps more money they’re willing to spend on trivial pursuits, fewer family obligations, and less interest in scuba diving or rock climbing now that their bodies are feeling the effects of aging.
Seniors play bingo at church, at the VFW, at their community hall. They buy lottery tickets. They go to sweepstakes internet cafes. Visiting a casino can be an entertaining day out when it’s done right.
Hopefully this book will help you to “do it right.”
From: Casino Gambling Guide for Little Old Ladies. © Copyright Pat Gaudette.
Gambling should always be fun regardless of your age. When it isn’t fun, don’t!
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