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Is Gambling Killing You Softly?

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One of the reasons I’ve always loved Monopoly was that it was based on Atlantic City, a town in which I spent a fair amount of time as a child growing up in New Jersey. However, after reading Newsday yesterday, I learned that the Grim Reaper is building a hotel on Boardwalk. So maybe I’ll keep my visits to once or twice a year now.

Naturally, I can’t imagine that AC’s high death rate will scare too many people away. After all, people seek thrills to add something to their routine existence. The lavish landscapes of casinos makes the fantasy of wealth accessible to the middle and lower class. Winning a jackpot feels more authentic when you’re surrounded by mirrors, flashing lights and ringing bells. You’re not going to get that effect sitting at home in your slippers.

As far as the article is concerned, it’s a no-brainer that overeating and smoking are some of the major hazards, but the thing the article does not elaborate on is the effects and stresses of gambling. While there are always winners at casinos, odds are you’re walking away a loser.

But does this loss affect more than your wallet? Is it possible that the disappointment of losing subconsciously hurts you physiologically? Of course, I’m sure the casino owners would pay millions to stop such research, but I’m curious (as always) to know.

I’m sure almost everyone out there has a great Vegas or Atlantic City story. But how did you feel after you lost a huge bet? Lost it all in the slots? Let me know what you think.

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Read more Mark Sahm at Blogimus Prime, hosted by Magic Junk.

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* What’s Playing on Cityfilter (my iPod) right now: “I’m A Wheel” by Wilco, from the album A Ghost Is Born.

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About Mark Sahm

  • I don’t think these causes are specific to Atlantic City – smoking and obesity are endemic in most cities, and death rates due these causes are likely rising everywhere.

    Gambling as a cause of death? Not Unless you’re trying to walk around on a pair of broken knees, perhaps:)

  • Well, I don’t mean you step out of the casino and drop dead! More that the stress of repeated visits wears on your mind and heart in addition to the smoke and fattening food.

    The mind is the pilot of the body. Losing a lot of cash flow while gambling instills a sense of guilt and/or regret. I just think the stats we read in the newspaper cannot count the x-factor of this.

  • I haven’t visited Atlantic City (except through Bruce Springsteens memorable tune) but after two visits to Las Vegas my overwhelming thought after observing the massive buffets, constant smoking, repetitive actions and elderly clientale, was that the next best thing to owning a casino would be a coronary unit.

    “Well now, ev’rything dies, baby, that’s a fact
    But maybe ev’rything that dies someday comes back
    Put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty
    And meet me tonight in atlantic city”

  • Maybe the casino companies, profitable as they are, should take over United Health, or even Medicare – cash yr checks, spin the wheels, fill yr prescriptions, while you wait.:)

  • RJ

    “Maybe the casino companies, profitable as they are, should take over United Health, or even Medicare – cash yr checks, spin the wheels, fill yr prescriptions, while you wait.”

    Heh. 🙂

    I’m curious though. Has AC had a higher-than-average rate of death when compared to other comparable cities, ever since it began allowing gambling? Was there a spike in these numbers after gambling became legal there? Is there any data on this?

    It’s pretty much impossible to prove a causitive relationship when all that is pointed out is that a city that happens to allow gambling also has a high death rate.

  • bhw

    I don’t know the specific stats, RJ, but I do know that AC wasn’t a very nice place to live before the casinos arrived. In fact, one of the major arguments put forth by people who wanted to legalize gambling in AC was that the tax revenues would help rebuild a city in very poor shape.

    Sadly, it hasn’t happened. All that money, and the only area of AC that looks good is the area with the casinos. Go a block or two away, and the story is still the same: decrepid and crime-ridden.

  • RJ

    Sounds like the local gov’t has not used its increased tax revenues properly…

  • Having been to AC both before and after casinos a number of times I can confidently say that AC itself is inherently toxic. There’s something degenerate, evil and soul eating about the city. It’s like the Amityville house made into an entire city.


  • Stephen Katz

    The Fallacy of Online Poker Gambling

    by Stephen Katz

    Online poker is rapidly becoming one of the most popular gambling games at gambling websites on the internet. The main reason for this popularity is the belief that it is a game of skill in which money could be won. This belief is a fallacy. Skillful play will never help gamblers to win money at online poker because winning money at online poker is impossible

  • Borgata rocks! I saw REM play there…the death rate is sooooo worth it!

  • While Borgata is quite nice, looks like AC-ers are just getting more and more bad news for the future. If the smoke and buffets don’t getcha, looks like Mother Nature is going to give it a shot.

    Check out this article from Friday…

    Eventually, N.J. will get hit

  • Check out the excellent piece by John McPhee, “The Search for Marvin Gardens,” in Pieces of the Frame. It tracks down the current state of every location in Atlantic City on which Monopoly properties were based, as McPhee plays with a denizen of the local lockup.

  • Eric Olsen

    a soul of vice

  • HW Saxton

    They should just be honest and call the
    state lotto games a gullibility tax.
    Because that is who buys the lion shares
    of the tickets: poor & gullible people.

    I live in a gambling town(Vegas)& there
    is a very definite unique vibe that you
    can feel in gambling towns such as Reno,
    Atlantic City & Las Vegas.Maybe it’s the
    smell of GREED. Whatever it is,it ain’t
    nothing nice.There is a small town just
    outside of Vegas called Boulder City.
    This town voted against gambling during
    the construction of Hoover Dam back in
    the 30’s. They’ve never had gambling and
    the vibe there is much different than it
    is in Vegas even though Boulder City is
    just minutes away from Vegas. Due to the
    pace of growth it’s almost a suburb of
    L.V. now.

    I think that most people who gamble have
    adrenalin problems that the rush of the
    chance at quick money cures for them.Or
    it eats them alive,like a dope habit.
    I don’t like gambling personally so I
    don’t. It’s truly for suckers.

  • A few years ago, Atlantic City had planned to adapt the old Ocean One shopping pier into a Monopoly based megaplex… but the company heading it up got bought out by Caesars Las Vegas a year or so later, and the concept got nixed.

    Here was one of the hopeful articles from 2002. The plan sounded great, but alas, it was not to be.

  • ryan H

    gambling=be carefull not to fall into the pit of fire you could find your self in kaios !!