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Gamblers and Integrity

by ivan

These two words do not ordinarily fit together. The longer you bet in a casino or on the Lottery the more likely you are to be a loser. There are many ways the gamblers scam the players. One of the common ones is the casino that rushes to a slots winner and says, Stop playing! That machine has mal-functioned.” They put up a sign and shut the machine down for several hours and offer you a twenty five dollar credit or a meal instead of the several thousand dollar prize. Casinos also scam card games by sending in a special dealer if you have too many hot hands. The new dealer has a number of ways of insuring that your hot hands evaporate. When you think about it, if casinos can fix the machines so that you see a lot of near misses, they also can program how often the machine will pay off. If they can advertise that they have the “loosest slots in town,” that means they can set up how often you win. The goal is for you to enjoy losing you shirt by experiencing an occasional win and some near misses. There are many ways Lotteries also scam their patrons, especially with instant games. There have been cases where, even though all the major prizes have been awarded, the advertising remains the same and the tickets continue to be sold until they are gone even though there is zero opportunity for a big win. Another method is to print many more tickets than the Lottery expects to sell. Then, if sales start to taper off, especially if the large prizes have not been awarded, the game is withdrawn. Illinois turned over management of the Lottery to a vendor in 2011. Since then Illinois has perhaps the worst record in paying out the big prizes. Since leasing the Lottery in 2011 Illinois has had seventeen games with huge prizes up to $46 million. Three of those games did not pay out a single big winner. Overall 40% of the grand prizes in these seventeen games were never paid. One would be tempted to think the prizes were heavily back loaded. The seventeen games (one-eighth of the instant games during the five year survey) accounted for one-third of the sales. This means that the chances of winning a grand prize is even smaller than any stated odds, when 40% of the grand prizes are not awarded. Gambling games are not presented by corporations that want you to become rich. They want you to “play to extinction” and give them every dollar you can earn, borrow or steal. They do not care if you lose your family, they go hungry, or develop gambling problems or other mental issues themselves. What is causing the slowness of recovery? Perhaps it is the ever growing pool of the destitute that is dragging the nation down.   Joe Mahr, Mathew Walberg, and Angie Lourgos, Illinois Lottery's biggest scratch-offs didn't award 40% of grand prizes, Tribune Finds, Chicago Tribune, December 10, 2016.

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