NOTHING IS BUT WHAT IS NOT!
Walking the walk on the casino floor
By Frank Scoblete
In Shakespeare’s great play, The Tragedy of Macbeth, Macbeth states that “nothing is but what is not.” He is confused and can’t ﬁgure out what is going on in his world and the world in general. But he is on his way to hell; he knows it but doesn’t know it.
Many casino players have probably said something to that eﬀect for themselves in bad streaks and in good streaks. But they exist in a world that is not the world.
Those of you who delight in decorating your homes usually want things coordinated from ﬂoor to ceiling. You want everywhere you or your guests look to be pleasing and worth looking at—up, down and straight ahead. “Wow! What a wonderfully decorated house.”
The casino isn’t like that. Look up, yuck; nope, duller than plain as day, actually plainer than day. Look down? Nauseating. Squiggles, lines, a placard no one would want to look at for long. No one would put that disgusting rug in their home, would they?
Best to look straight ahead!
For this, a big thank you goes out to the late Bill Harrah of (you guessed it) Harrah’s hotel and casino fame. He came up with the decorating idea for a casino that was simple and totally inelegant. It wasn’t designed to get kudos from people who looked up because the ceiling was dull; there were no stars in that sky. The ﬂoor? Awful looking. It made you lift your head fast.
Best to look straight ahead, right? Right.
Why did Harrah do this? The man was a genius here, folks. In a casino there is nothing good going on up on that extraordinarily dull ceiling. So, players wouldn’t want to be looking up for any length of time. And if they looked down, yuck—that carpeting was not attractive enough to spend any time being mesmerized by it.
If you were walking through the casino, you’d look straight ahead or straight to the left or straight to the right. And what would you be seeing in these directions? Table games with intense players who were happy or at least rooting and energetic.
Bill Harrah wanted players to see movement and excitement and other players playing or happily walking through his casino looking to play his games. Harrah made sure that there was no movement or excitement on the ceiling or the ﬂoor. Your best decorations would be straight ahead or to the left or the right, but no way up or down.
Same with slot aisles. The machines would dominate and today those slot aisles are just ﬁlled to the brim with gloriously lit machines of seemingly countless sizes and varieties.
Do you remember when players plunked down wads of cash on a table and called out, “Money plays!” You rarely see that anymore and many or most casinos expect players to buy in for chips. Chips are cash for the casinos. Are they cash for the players? Hmmm. Maybe, maybe not.
Literally, yes, they are. Just go to the “cage” (also known as the cashier) and you can cash those chips in for real money without a problem. However, if they total at or over $10,000 then you might have to ﬁll out forms for the government explaining that you had a good day, afternoon or evening in the casino. There was a time “in a galaxy far, far away” when gambling winnings were not taxed. (Ah, the glory days!)
There are two very important reasons for the casinos to have chips replacing money at the tables. Sometimes some (or many) players forget they are actually betting real money as opposed to chips. At ﬁrst players do think of the chips as money, but as play heats up some soon forget that and throw those chips out on the table, never thinking what they are really worth. It isn’t until they go back up the elevator to their rooms when they realize, “Wow! I won a lot!” or “Geez, I took a beating.”
The fact that those chips represent money can be forgotten during the action of play. (Me? I never forget that these colorful trinkets can be worth a lot of my money. When I put those chips out, I think “Money plays! Yes, my money!”)
When is money not money? Sometimes when that money looks like chips! Nothing is but what is not.
Do you have a perfect credit score or a near-perfect credit score? Hooray! You should be proud of yourself. You sure should. Great credit is great. Good credit is good. Any credit is decent credit. You are an economic credit to you, your family, and the country’s economy, etc. Yes, you are. Be proud.
And that’s why slot machines use the idea of credit as something positive. A slot player will always have credit(s), until he or she runs out of credit, that is. Of course, the slot player can also buy in for more credit and still have that feeling of, well, having credit or credits.
Do slot players lose the idea of the economic value of the credit(s) they have? That is a real possibility. Just keep playing them and buy more credits if you have to.
I think of credits as (here goes!) money plays.
In the casinos I think we should all think that “nothing is but what is not.” Macbeth knew what he was talking about.
All the best in and out of the casinos!
Frank Scoblete’s website is www.frankscoblete.com. His books are available from Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, e-books, libraries, and bookstores.