The American Gambler - it's in our blood!

If you wanna make big bucks, beware: America encourages the gambling addiction....

The thought of breaking the bank or hitting it big has always intrigued Americans. We Americans tend to be adherent risk takers, and therefore the legalized gambling industry in the U.S. is a huge business. While there are winners, there tend to be many more losers, especially people who really can't afford to lose their money (e.g. senior citizens). It's easy to get caught up in the excitement! Whether it's at a casino in Las Vegas, Atlantic City or betting on a football game, Americans love to dream about livin' on easy street. While gambling is serious business in the U.S., I thought it would be fun to take a light-hearted look at this billion-dollar industry.

l Why does it always seem that you lose your money at a casino much faster than winning it? Strange, isn't it?

l Why do casinos entice senior citizens with bus transportation, free meals and additional tokens for the slot machines to come join them for an exciting day out of the house? Hmmm, I wonder...

l Can you believe that American football fans will bet on silly things during the Super Bowl such as who will win the coin toss or what beer brand will have the first TV commercial? Honest! By the way, last year it was heads and Budweiser.

l Why do you have to be 21 to lose money at a casino? At age 18, you can drink alcohol (in some States, at least), vote in elections and go to war for your country, but you can't place a bet? Does this make sense?

l Do you know there really is an organization in the U.S. called Gamblers Anonymous to help bettors who overindulge far too often! Call 1-(800) I-M-A LOSER (just kidding about the phone number, though).

l Experts agree that in many cases you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than winning the big million dollar lotteries! Sorry!

l Even Native American Indian tribes have opened casinos on their land to scalp and profit off the average American gambler! Ouch!

l The way I look at it, the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ are really just other forms of legalized gambling - aren't they?

l Years ago you had to physically go to a U.S. horse track to place a bet. Now, thanks to technology, you can sit home, watch the racing channel on cable TV and make bets via the phone without leaving your living room. Today it's even easier to lose your money! Thank you (I think).

l Gambling was supposed to rescue the summer resort town of Atlantic City, New Jersey. However, some twenty years later, two blocks away from the casino it still looks like a lost cause. Some progress!

l Games of chance (i.e. gambling) have always been a huge source of income for many Catholic churches in the U.S. But it pays to pray. If you start playing, start praying!

Bill Piszek