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Nominal Me

I'm falling in love with my camera and taking photos everywhere I go. That, combined with my passions for politics, sports, religion and other things we all agree on, makes this blog persist.

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Location: Astoria, New York, United States

I'm born in Manhattan and raised in Queens.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Winning Big at a Casino!

On a whim, I went to the Par-A-Dice Hotel & Casino, located in East Peoria, IL. The casino entrance was across the street from my hotel, so I felt it a matter of fate to try it. Gambling is not my thing, but I decided to try it out anyway as a cultural experiment.

The casino was located near a swamp and a bunch of power lines. Not prime real estate.

As far as I can tell, land-based casinos are illegal in Illinois (unless you are on an Indian reservation, where the state has limited jurisdiction) , but they are allowed on riverboats. I have noticed that in many communities throughout the Midwest, riverboat gambling is pretty big. Iowa started the trend in 1989:
Currently six states—Iowa, Illinois, Mississippi, Louisiana, Indiana, and Missouri—allow gaming parlors and casinos on riverboats. Most operate on the Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri Rivers. The first state to reintroduce this type of gambling facility was Iowa in 1989, when legislators passed a law permitting riverboat casinos under certain circumstances. According to this measure, gambling in Iowa may occur only on historic or modern riverboats, making cruises on the Mississippi River lasting a specified period of time (usually an hour and a half). Slot machines and table games are allowed.
To enter, I walked over what appeared to be a permanent bridge free of charge. It seems that my experience may not have been entirely legal:
In Illinois, the second state to authorize riverboat gambling, casino patrons may also board riverboats making regularly scheduled runs; however, they must wait until the boats are fully underway before engaging in gambling activities. Games allowed include blackjack, craps, roulette, and big six. Slot machines and video poker also are permitted. Illinois riverboat casinos, all of which must charge a boarding fee to their customers, have the potential to be very plentiful, as they may cruise on any number of major rivers, including the Mississippi, Des Plaines, Ohio, and Illinois.
While not everyone I met in the area was happy about the casino due to moral reasons, there are some economic benefits:
Already more than 10,000 new jobs have been created in Illinois through the legalization of gambling on riverboats, with an estimated yearly payroll in excess of $250 million.
I gave myself a $20 budget. I know. I'm a big spender. I was going to play dice or roulette, but I was taken back by the speed of the games. It seemed that each bet was placed in less than a minute's time, with a five dollar minimum.

This could have turned out to be a four minute night for me if I played those games. I tried to follow the rules of the dice throwing thing, but the game was moving way too fast for my taste.

So I went to the machines.

I won on my second roll at the 25 cent machine.

After playing three whole dollars, I decided to cash in.

I quadrupled my investment! Maybe gambling is a good thing. Perhaps I should quit my job and do it full time.

It was a fun time, but it's always better to quit while you're ahead.