318 words on Travel
Die Zeit currently runs a series on how certain things are done in Germany. Things like 'growing up', 'dressing' &c. The week I departed the topic was 'Spielen', which translates as both playing and gambling. As luck would have it, our little travel through the south-west of the U.S. also took us past Last Vegas, a place that is synonymous to gambling and that I found at the same time fascinating and appalling. (Whatever they wrote in the Lonely Planet about it, hits the nail on its head).
It's like a big theme park but with real people in it. Both the
high rollers and some which looked like they got tragically lost in gambling. People losing serious money at some blackjack table – and others running around dead-casually, sloppily even, right next to it. A big waste of energy just make things nice and shiny. Some very American aspects, perhaps, as far as stereotypes go. But also some anti-stereotypical aspects – I suppose that gambling isn't exactly the pastime recommended by fanatic christians, and I haven't seen another place (in my limited experience) where you were allowed to carry your drinks and smokes everywhere in the big in- and outdoors.
Personally I fail to see the point of gambling. Too much maths perhaps. Basically I expect no money to come out of the machines – which should be the way they work over longer periods of time. So I think of it as spending money on being entertained. Naturally I'll prefer machines that give me the most rotating and blinking for the buck, then.
Anyway, we wasted our change in those machines and enjoyed the lights. Besides, some of the buildings were amazing, if a bit tacky. Whoever came up with all that surely had a vision to create something special. Not a vision I'd be likely to subscribe to, but some kind of vision, nonetheless.
I’ve often heard it said that state lotteries are “a tax on people who are bad at math.”
AFAIK in Germany the gambling companies have to pay quite high taxes so some of the lost money can be recovered for a good cause. In the U.K., it seems that a lot of ‘lottery money’ is given to charity or to fund cultural project &c - again a worthwhile use of the lost money.
(But I guess there are still very healthy profits for the gambling companies…)
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