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Corona Blues

I can live without buffets, but don’t touch my coffee shop—and how the heck am I going to play craps?

Corona Blues

Did you ever wake up in the morning and just know you’re going to be drinking early?

Too many of those days lately, what with us all sequestered in our homes. I can still work, as evidenced by the fact I’m actually writing a column right now. But after work, I’m wondering how many more times I can binge-watch all six seasons of Justified (I highly recommend it), not to mention reruns of Perry Mason and The Flintstones.

Yabba dabba doo.

Even going to the grocery store is different now. Everybody’s wearing masks. Half of them look like they’re about to scrub up to do a bowel resection, and the other half, using bandanas, look like they’re about to knock off a convenience store.

As I write this, it is April, right before Easter, right when Atlantic City is usually gearing up for the return of springtime crowds. This is when I normally increase my frequency of stays at Atlantic City casinos, or maybe make a spring trip to Las Vegas to play $5 craps, in between watching baseball and hockey.

No craps. No baseball. No hockey.

No action, other than betting the over/under with my wife on how much dog poop I’ll collect in the back yard on a given day.

Any takers? I’ll give you odds.

Speaking of over/under, Hard Rock in Atlantic City is running a new promotion on its online casino, It’s called the “Hard Rock Heat Streak.” You can log in every day, look at a list of cities, and make a free over/under pick on the forecasted high temperature. There’s a list of rewards for consecutive correct picks, ranging from 20 free spins on an online slot for three in a row to 15 percent cash back on net iGaming losses for 25 or more correct over/under temperature picks in a row.

Yes. It’s come to this.

It’s certainly clever, and I do have access to online gaming, but as I’ve said before in this space, I’m not much of an online gambler. I like to get down and dirty with real folding cash—the moolah, the filthy lucre—on the table, or in the bill acceptor of a video poker machine.

Lately, I’ve been going on a lot, just practicing my strategy as I wait for the day I can go back to treasure-hunting for good pay schedules in Atlantic City. Online gaming is great, and it’s keeping at least part of the industry afloat right now. But I do love the live version.

However, the live version may not be the same as before once the casinos open. My colleague and fellow wisecracking columnist, Roger Snow, put up a great piece for GGB News about what it’s going to be like when the casinos all power up again. I don’t like it. I might not be able to cram into a crowded craps table and high-five my fellow players, all gritty and smelly as we cheer a hot roll. (OK, I’m not smelly, but some are. You know who you are.)

I can’t see myself elbow-bumping the guy next to me when someone’s on a hot roll. It just seems like it would take too much effort, and by the time we both maneuver ourselves so we don’t breathe on each other while we do it, the thrill will be gone. Heck, maybe the shooter sevens out before we even get the celebration elbow-bump done.

Roger Snow thinks buffets are going to be extinct when the casinos power back up. I’m pretty sure I can live with that. After what we’ve been through, I can’t really see myself hanging around any food-service business that requires a sneeze guard. Also, the “all you can eat” concept always seemed a bit nauseating to me—you pay one price to see how much food you can cram in your face before it starts pushing against your esophagus.

I can live without a buffet. But not a coffee shop, please. One of the things I find myself missing greatly right now is having someone refill my coffee cup, bring me my eggs, and call me “Hon.” And in a casino, I can do that at 3 a.m., for comfort after leaving a bunch of dollars on the felt or in a machine.

There hopefully will be more goofy stories coming out of the industry soon on which I can “crack wise,” as they say. For now, though, I’m opening up my crate of old one-liners to pull me through:

Man in Mask No. 1: “You know, I have a lousy memory.”

Man in Mask No. 2: “Do you?”

Man in Mask No. 1: “Do I what?”

Stay safe out there.

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.  

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