Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

*CASINO* Keno Poker *CASINO*

I don't know the back-story on how Montana legalized gambling. Not sure if I want to. Fact is that it is here and practically every bar, restaurant, hotel, and gassit mart has a big sign out front that screams CASINO.

I have passed time with the video poker machines in the past. I have even learned that if you spend long enough loosing two bucks in nickels that sometimes the house will buy you three bucks worth of beer. That makes me a winner in my book. Overall I don't care about gambling, don't give it any thought, and don't care if others want to do it or not.

What's annoying are all the signs screaming CASINO at me. They are freakin' everywhere. Sometimes when out and about I want to stop to get a tank of gas, or a sandwich, or a soda, and while the establishment before me looks like it may meet my needs I am really not sure because it is trying to be a CASINO. I am mildly amused sometimes at the gassit marts with the big CASINO sign out front that have a couple poker machines inside tucked away in the corner. I think that the sign should not be larger than the space occupied by the casino. I have recently realized that I am subconsciously avoiding the places advertising CASINO. I think I will make a personal rule to not solicit a business where the CASINO * POKER sign is larger than the name of the business.

I think the proliferation of these keno and poker machines stinks. It stinks like greed. It stinks like desperation. It stinks like the bottom of the barrel that is getting scraped for the dregs. The only people that make money from these casinos are the owners of the machines, and from the looks of some of these so called casinos even they are not making very much money. Have you ever seen the people spending time with these machines? Wealthy is not a word I would use to describe them. Montana casinos are reaching into the pockets of the ignorant and the poor and the desperate. These machines are sucking at the life and souls of the common man. They encourage wastefulness. They encourage ignorance. They encourage drunkenness (not the good 'lets have fun' kind, but the bad 'lets make it a lifestyle' kind). They encourage laziness. They encourage bad math skills. They encourage get rich quick in place of work hard and prosper. I think the casinos are part of a disease that is hurting Montana.

That is where this rant stops because I do not think they should be outlawed or taken away. I believe Montana should be a free 'live and let live' state. I like the fact that Montanans cherish their freedoms and avoid interfering with their neighbors. There are precious few places left in the USA where this is the case. I am happy that people in Montana are free to try making a living by offering gambling. I am happy that I am free to gamble or not gamble as I see fit. I am happy that my neighbors share the same freedom. I am simply disheartened that there are so many Montanans that don't know better ways to make or spend their money.

I like watching the hardcore machine players. Cigarette hanging from lip, one hand wrapped around a drink, the other hitting buttons - or touching the screen.

Personally, I'd rather spend my $ on a couple of drinks. At least I'm guaranteed a buzz. I've worked in enough places in the state to know that the folks who claim to be winners are as big "winners" as you'd see milling around OTB storefronts in NYC.
You might not be surprised to know how many of these folks write checks to cash, throw it in the machines, and when they do "win", come back and beg you to tear up the checks they've written...
The most I've ever won on a machine was $200. I think I'd rather use my $1 bills to take a chance at winning a lot more money by purchasing a lottery ticket instead.
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