Gambling, Hope, and the Fixed Income

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Dealer's Hands

Craig is a retired citizen with a fixed income and very little means. He spends his money very

carefully, knowing it will not be coming back. He buys simple foods from the grocery store and

attends free events for the retired community. He has not bought a movie ticket since the last

Harry Potter film came out in 2011, and has not gone out to eat since the anniversary of his

wife’s death this spring.

Once per week, Craig takes five dollars down to the casino and plays roulette. He makes smart

bets and leaves a tip when he can. When luck takes a turn, he dusts himself off and goes home.

When luck is in his favor, he takes the money home and buys something nice from the grocery

store, sometimes cheese from the deli and sometimes flowers from the porch. Whatever he takes

home, there is a smile on his face, and more importantly, a sense of accomplishment.

After suffering from a stroke and losing most use of his legs five years ago, Craig retired early

with little to his name. Since that time, Craig has had problems with his memory and has had

trouble taking care of himself. There is not much left for Craig to rely on, but there is one way

that he can affect his fate, and that is inside the casino.

To Craig, gambling is not an addiction or an obsession. He has no illusions that he will suddenly

become a millionaire, and he bets within his means every time, even if that means isn’t much.

The casino offers Craig something that he can no longer offer himself: a semblance of control. It

doesn’t matter what happens to the $5 once it passes through the doors. He has made the decision

to take a risk, and that decision belongs to him.

There are one thousand and one reasons to gamble, and this is just an example. For every Craig

out there, the casino is not a parasite. It is a path to liberation. For everyone that can no longer

carry a bucket or fill out an Excel form, there is a way to take control and sometimes come home

with something nice to show for it. What is the reason that brings you to the casino? If that went

away, what would be left in its place?

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