Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Casino

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  • Graeme Edgeler,

    It's not necessarily that inconsistent to find gambling distasteful and oppose overly punitive drug legislation.

    It's not inconsistent at all.

    Plenty of people who support the decriminalisation of marijuana would never touch the stuff.

    Plenty of people who opposed a law change to criminalise a light smack, would never smack their kids, and do not think anyone else should smack children either.

    Plenty of people who think smoking should be legal will counsel against any tobacco use.

    etc. etc.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Imagine if there was a drug with no physical side effects that was real simple to manufacture - it would almost be as good as gambling. All gambling costs is money, all it takes is two people in agreement. Make it illegal and you'll have to bust into people's homes and watch them all the time to enforce the law.

    No, I'm not proposing making it illegal at all. And the "at least you can safely drive home afterwards" argument shouldn't be dismissed either.

    But I found it interesting enough to talk about afterwards. I've certainly no wish to intrude on your fun Angus, but it must surely strike you that a lot of people at the casino don't look like they're having fun?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22839 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    And I have to say the largely brown sea of faces bore absolutely no resemblance to the classy white folk in their tv advertising at the time.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19729 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Crowley,

    The cycleway boondoggle was being sold on a basis of the backpacker tourists it would attract.

    I dunno, another form of tourism like freedom camping where the tourist spends an absolute minimum during their stay in N.Z. sounds like a fantastic idea.

    As for the pokies. At my local Friday watering hole, other locals ( The pokie playing kind) alway's seem to be cashing in large wads of coins. My guess is is that they just pounce on machines vacated by the many losers of the game.
    I struggle with the idea of frequenting a public house where everyone else is socialising and they are just staring at a screen. At least at the casino no one is there to socialise.

    Otautahi • Since Nov 2008 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari,

    lack of smiles = gambling bad????

    anyone ever been to a sports event when say the All Blacks aren't winning....

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 540 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    lack of smiles = gambling bad????

    anyone ever been to a sports event when say the All Blacks aren't winning....

    But that's bad.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1165 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    lack of smiles = gambling bad????

    anyone ever been to a sports event when say the All Blacks aren't winning....

    I've seen my teams lose plenty -- and of course Wellington readers will know the feeling better than me ;-)

    But it's not really anything like the casino.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22839 posts Report Reply

  • Stuart Coats,

    but it must surely strike you that a lot of people at the casino don't look like they're having fun?

    anyone ever been to a sports event when say the All Blacks aren't winning....

    Or, indeed, watched an audience during a performance of, say, an Ibsen tragedy? Or during the final episode of The Sopranos? Probably the same thing - deep concentration with the hope of a pay-off at the end. And then all you get is a black screen....

    Or ask the Indian supporters at the end of the 20/20 match on Friday night. They had high hopes. They had spent their money on tickets, on buying the gear, on the inflated catering prices in the stadium. And all they leave with is the empty, hollow feeling in the pit of their stomach.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 192 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    <i>it must surely strike you that a lot of people at the casino don't look like they're having fun?</i>

    I can think of another popular activity in which, if you didn't know better, just by looking at the participants you could be excused to think they're actually in pain.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I guess it's quite possible for pokie machines to churn out a whole pile of coins and still have more in reserve, or to not pay even when somebodies filled them with cash.

    One could even conceive (this isn't actually an industry known for its honesty) of the casino having staff play the machines incognito using a special mode, win nothing and walk off looking disconsolate (thus attracting the gambler to that machine).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    And my very limited experience has been that Auckland's casino is mindnumbingly depressing, while Sydney's was good-times-fun. That was probably down to my mental state in Sydney though. And that great faux-rock waterfall in the bar. Faux rock makes everything better.

    What it needs is spa pools and a cycleway.

    And I have to say the largely brown sea of faces bore absolutely no resemblance to the classy white folk in their tv advertising at the time.

    Let me quote from an old book of mine describing my visit to Brian Tamaki's house of worship.

    This is a church where you concur loudly, and often, as the pastor speaks. Much of the concurrence sounds dutiful. The truly spirited concurrences come when he talks about the locales where addictions of various categories tend to flourish. Gambling. Drinking. Whoring. That gets the real response. The abiding impression here is that this is – for many - a support group for people who have been burned by the various addictions that take lives off the rails.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    The old Navajo trick of using the wrong tags...

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I visit the casino almost every weekend, sometimes twice a weekend, to play texas holdem poker (tucked off upstairs and to a side) and do enjoy it. It is fun for us particpants when getting the rush from winning.

    I think like a lot of activities, gambling has a scale. Poker is a competitive activity, with a social element, interaction with other human beings etc. I've played it a fair bit online and really enjoyed it, though I've never fronted up with real money.

    Pokies doesn't have either of those things, and as Russell describes them, they're basically anti-social money drains. I'd support changes to how we approach pokies as a society, while leaving other forms of gambling relatively untouched.

    (I presume casinos also manipulate their card tables in various ways to get money out of the punters as well).

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Gaiman follows up on the Kindle argument. Includes a link to Will Wheaton reading a passage from one of his books, and and then having the Kindle read it. Spot the difference.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22839 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    But I found it interesting enough to talk about afterwards. I've certainly no wish to intrude on your fun Angus, but it must surely strike you that a lot of people at the casino don't look like they're having fun?

    Imagine you purchase some E for 10c, but knowing only 1 in a 1000 have any MDMA. Now someone could watch you popping those for hours and come to the conclusion E is crap. And those are real good odds compared to most pokies, point being all the people you were looking at weren't winning.

    A couple of years ago I was standing behind a Maori gentleman on the Carribean Stud table, waiting for a seat. He caught royal flush diamonds and cleaned out the $138,000 jackpot, turned white & started looking like he was in shock, then he became really happy. That is a one in 2.5 million chance, so the chances are I will not see it again ever.

    Once saw a Pakeha lady strike a $10,000 jackpot on a slot machine, she and all her friends looked real happy. But on a 20c machine the chances against winning mean I am unlikely to see to many of those again.

    I play low stakes texas holdem almost exclusively, where the chances of winning are much higher and the payouts much lower, and because of the nature of the game try to show no emotion at all. But it is enjoyable.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    And my very limited experience has been that Auckland's casino is mindnumbingly depressing, while Sydney's was good-times-fun.

    I've been known to enjoy to odd game of poker and toss a few coins (very few mind) into a slot machine, and quite enjoy watching others play blackjack, but rarely in Auckland's horrible barn of a Casino. It's such an awful environment, whether it be main room or one of the smaller ones, thoroughly without any redeeming visual features and it's beyond me why anyone would willingly spend time and throw away cash in such shitty surroundings.

    At least others kinda try, even if they only succeed (usually) on a tack level.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    And my very limited experience has been that Auckland's casino is mindnumbingly depressing, while Sydney's was good-times-fun. That was probably down to my mental state in Sydney though. And that great faux-rock waterfall in the bar. Faux rock makes everything better.

    Hmmm, as a resident of Sydney and a very infrequent visitor to Casinos, I'd rate Melbourne's over Sydney's. Melbourne's has columns that spew fire balls in some oddly choreographed pattern each and every hour... that trumps a faux rock waterfall to my eyes...

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    all the people you were looking at weren't winning.

    It seemed well beyond "not winning" Angus, they had an air of quiet desperation. In those numbers it hung in the air like a toxic cloud. I'm talking about the main barn, not the smaller tables.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19729 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I imagine a faux rock waterfall has some kind of bad 80s/90s soundtrack. Great balls of fire do sound more.. authentic.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19729 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    What it needs is spa pools and a cycleway.

    Actually, a velodrome track around the outside of the gaming floor would make it much more interesting.

    Melbourne's has columns that spew fire balls in some oddly choreographed pattern each and every hour... that trumps a faux rock waterfall to my eyes...

    Hell yes. For some odd reason I was at the Sydney casino (and its faux rock wall) with Jim Goose from Mad Max which would have been MUCH better with fire balls.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    Actually, a velodrome track around the outside of the gaming floor would make it much more interesting.

    Yes! A Madison! With fireballs!

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    And my very limited experience has been that Auckland's casino is mindnumbingly depressing, while Sydney's was good-times-fun.

    True dat. There used to be a bar with band/dance floor in Auckland casino proper, which was good. But they removed that and stuck in another 40 pokies. Killed off any redeeming atmosphere in the place. Now it is just wall to wall gambling.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    I first saw the Melbourne Casino during one of NZ's power crises. The gouts of fire were particularly impressive given the presumed cost of all the gas they'd need to fuel them, and the contrast of flying back into a Wellington with all the lights switched off. Conspicuous power consumption.

    They also do a neat little timed fountain and lights thing inside, to what I think is Holst's Mercury.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    The fireballs have music too, I think. For those imagining indoor fireballs, rest assured they happen outside, along the side of the river. But they are impressive.

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Melbourne's has columns that spew fire balls in some oddly choreographed pattern each and every hour...

    I was under the impression that they flared whenever someone struck a jackpot or something.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22839 posts Report Reply

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