Don’t Let Casino Trickery Turn You Into an Irresponsible Player

Oh, those who think that casinos should run their business and still let everyone win – and still pay the bills! Human beings are becoming so entitled. If you ask casino patrons on a bad streak, they will say the casino is up to something – they aren’t winning – and it’s the casino’s fault.

Listen, casino gambling is a recreational activity, with the vast majority of games offered having a skewed advantage to the house – we all know it, we just sit at that slot machine, riding that trip down the river of denial.

An article by Dr. Harrigan, the lead researcher and contact person for the University of Waterloo Problem Gambling Research Team. His primary research interest is in gambling addictions with a focus on why so many slot machine gamblers become addicted. In his article, he deals with many factors that the “Casino Industry” is basically trying to make addicts out of all of us – real, concerning, and a serious topic for potentially addictive gamblers.

So, how do casinos entice the individual gambler into gambling more? One way, to reference Dr. Harrigan’s article, is that the casino is not truthful about how much the slot machine pays. I’ve got news for you – hold on to your hat – that’s why it’s called “gambling!”

Big Win – Everytime?

Dr. Harrigan’s article says “…..on modern slot machines, half of ‘wins’ are actually net losses. An example would be a $1 bet with a 30¢ payoff. This is a loss of 70¢, but the machine shows bright graphics and makes sounds announcing a win. Researchers call these events Losses Disguised as Wins (LDWs) and have clearly shown that players experience these as actual wins, giving the players the (incorrect) positive feelings that they are winning.”

No kidding. The invention of video slots gave the impression of lots of small hits instead of waiting longer for bigger hits in reels. Bonuses also play in this game – individual hits can be small more often due to the chance and volatility of hitting a bigger bonus. We all wait to hit THE BIG ONE! Lotteries, the worst odds of all, wouldn’t be so popular – but we want the chance to hit the BIG ONE! In the longer run, the real problem is that the payout percentage continues to be lower throughout the country. Why? Because as a culture, we still intend on being constantly entertained, so it doesn’t matter to most players. We know the games pay less – but we like the fun, so we play them anyway. Why would so many people settle for 6/5 blackjack? or 6/5 JOB Video poker? Or Keno?

Caveman Keno

Doesn’t the responsibility on which games to gamble on rest on the shoulders of the gambler? YES!

Shouldn’t gamblers that play often be responsible enough to KNOW the best games, best strategies, and the pitfalls of high casino-advantage games? YES

So, be aware of the “tricks” (or maybe they are just good business practice) and take responsibility for your gaming. If it’s not fun anymore, contact GA, tell the casino to not allow your entrance (which casinos do to help addicted gamblers any time you feel you can’t control staying away) and seek help.

It’s not a black and white situation. It is neither solely the casino’s fault or the addict’s – it’s a gray area, more complex than any single blog could summarize.

So, be careful, be smart, be knowledgeable, and go to the casino with a money management plan for your visit every single time. This way you limit the “trickery” of those casinos, and also help to either leave with money, or at least lengthen your bankroll’s life.

That’s all for now.

Binbin

Taxes – A Quick Gambler’s Guide – Part 2

In part 1, I suggested to not have the taxes taken out immediately after hitting a jackpot over $1200. Instead keep a log and get win/loss statements from the casinos you play at the most.

Let’s see what the IRS thinks:

Your gambling winnings are fully taxable and must be reported on your income tax return, says Mike Dobzinski, a spokesman for the Internal Revenue Services. He has five tips for gamblers:

1) Gambling income includes winnings from lotteries, raffles, horse races, and casinos – whether it is cash or the fair market value of prizes such as cars and trips.

2) Gambling operators are required to give you Form W-2G, Certain Gambling Winnings, if you win $1,200 or more in gambling winnings from bingo or slot machines and more than $5,000 in winnings (reduced by the wager or buy-in) from a poker tournament.

3) Report all gambling winnings on the “Other income” line of Form 1040.

4) Claim your gambling losses up to the amount of your winnings on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions, under “Other Miscellaneous Deductions.” You must report the full amount of your winnings as income and claim your allowable losses separately. You cannot reduce your gambling winnings by your gambling losses and report the difference. Your records should also show your winnings separately from your losses.

5) Keep accurate records. “If you are going to deduct gambling losses, you must have receipts, tickets, statements and documentation such as a diary or similar record of your losses and winnings.”

Two things keep coming up in my research. Keep good records, logs and receipts – and that win/loss statements aren’t good enough by themselves. Remember – all wins AND losses are taxable!

Don’t make any royal tax mistakes. That’s all for now!

Binbin

3 Viewpoints For Enjoyable Gambling

Another losing gambling session?

I once read a self-help book called “Why Your Life Sucks” by Alan H Cohen. I guess I was in a dark place, or maybe looking for a different perspective on things. In any case, it was really quite good and pointed out many life “wake-up calls” to help us enjoy the life you were meant to live. It’s funny and informative, but most of all, it forces you re-evaluate the choices you have made, and how you can make better choices in the future.

So, I was thinking, “how many people leave the casino grumpy, as if losing is a huge surprise.”

Leaving Las Vegas - usually a quiet plane ride.

Leaving Las Vegas – usually a quiet plane ride.

Whether you visit from the east coast, or the closer west coast, the plane rides to and from Las Vegas are very different.  Excitement builds with every minute right through to your first bet.  But the plane ride home from Vegas is so quiet and sullen compared to that excitement and hope on the ride out there. Go figure….So, does your gambling suck?  Do you know why?  Maybe it’s because you don’t embrace the realities of the gambling industry. It’s time to look at your casino trips differently with the following three suggestions that will enhance your experience:

1) “Fortune isn’t something that happens to you, it is something you create”

So, you really think that recreational gambling is going to get you millions? I don’t think so.  But, there are things you can do that will enhance your visits, like:

  • Know the best strategy for the games you play
  • Take advantage of free play and multiplier reward points / tier points days
  • Don’t overplay you bankroll to gain higher status. Keep to your bankroll.

If you ever get a chance to follow Cousin Vito’s Podcast, Your Guide to Enjoying Gambling, you know Vito always ends with a statement that sums this all up.  It’s from the Roman Statesman Seneca, and goes like this:

So true. Thanks for the quote, Vito!

2) “Don’t get involved in the dark side” of gaming.

Losing at Gambling?

Guess what, the gambling industry is a business and like any other business, it needs to make money to continue. So:

  • don’t expect perks that you don’t earn
  • don’t expect the casino to insure your winning because you’re a good customer
  • expect loses
  • And stop thinking conspiracy and fixed machines. Look up what a random number generator does (RNG) , and how the house advantage is built in without switching machine computer chips or throwing that famous “switch upstairs” that immediately changes machines from loose to tight. Be knowledgeable about the industry instead of continuing myths and superstitions to make yourself the poor victim.

3) “It’s not what happens to you that counts, it’s what you make of what happens”

I’ve heard this so many times.  You have a choice in how you assess an experience, and then a reaction to it.  You can choose either to enjoy and learn in a positive manner or bitch and complain, making yourself miserable (as well as those around you you!) SO:

Shooting at the Craps Table - have fun whatever your game is.

Shooting at the Craps Table – have fun whatever your game is.

  • Enjoy the wins.
  • Enjoy casino employees who know the meaning of good service and are friendly.
  • Enjoy the excitement of breaking even – yes even. By breaking even, you’ve beaten the house advantage. Sure, it’s not what we are all looking for, but if you play for a few hours and break even, be happy for the free entertainment, the rewards points you’ve accumulated, and the free beverages you’ve consumed.

Now, back to the casino, but this time with an open mind, an awareness of the business and new flexible expectations. Acceptance could be the key to a happier gambling experience.  Knowledge and reality is the foundation.

That’s all for now.

Binbin