Drugs and Space Men

Some drugs can make you gamble, and some gambling can get you shot into space.

Drugs and Space Men

I saw a TV commercial the other day that I found relevant to our fine industry.

It was during a hockey game (my Pittsburgh Penguins annihilated the Devils, for all my Jersey-bred colleagues), and, as with a lot of sporting events these days, the commercials targeted middle-aged-to-old men in easy chairs, like me. Not surprisingly, the pharmaceutical industry invariably uses these time slots to reach people in various states of age-induced decrepitude, by identifying ailments we are likely to have and telling us to ask our doctors for their latest drug.

Cue ethereal, new-agey music…

“You’re the best you’ve ever been.”

Fade to two elderly people dancing, possibly the jitterbug… which is weird, since it’s still new-agey music…

“But don’t let fibromyopic dissitopia slow you down. Ask your doctor for Fabrezia.”

These commercials are designed, of course, to instill fear. “Gee, honey, do you think I have fibromyopic dissitopia? And here I just got over the heartbreak of psoriasis.”

They also always have that fast-talking murmur of a voice-over disclaimer at the end, telling you all the possible side effects:

“Side effects may include nausea, excessive gas, festering boils, loss of two or more limbs, bleeding eyeballs, yellow fever, monkey pox and death… If you experience suicidal tendencies, stop taking Fabrezia immediately and find a ledge on a tall building…”

No, actually, if you experience suicidal tendencies, you can take the drug I saw advertised the other day. Since I’m all about avoiding litigation, let’s call it “Tranquility.” It was originally developed to treat schizophrenia, but the drug company found there were just not enough crazy people in the world for it to turn a profit, so it became a recommended drug for severe depression.

What got me about Tranquility, though, were the possible side effects. As confirmed by drugwatch.com, Tranquility’s possible side effects include “suicidal thoughts, sexual dysfunction and compulsive gambling.”

Say what?

Never mind that these three things are often side effects of each other. I’ve never heard of a drug that makes you want to gamble. To think casinos have wasted all this time doing it with free booze. They could have just set up a Tranquility stand in the lobby.

Cue ethereal, new-agey music…

“Are you one of the millions of mature people struggling with depression?”

Break into Dixieland jazz track…

“Take Tranquility, and roll ‘dem bones!”

“Possible side effects include 5X odds, liberal comps and Yo 11! Oh, and suicidal thoughts, sexual dysfunction and compulsive gambling…”

Turning to the gaming news, I found out… Wait. I should do a disclaimer of my own.

The previous bit was intended as pure satire and stupid comedy only. There is certainly nothing funny about compulsive gambling, and this industry does all it can to prevent it, and there is no way any casino operator would set up a Tranquility stand in the hotel lobby.

Hey, we’re the official publication of the AGA, you know?

Anyway, I just found out, on the day I’m writing this, that it’s National Pancake Day. The reason this struck me is that the Tropicana in Atlantic City held its “Bacon Week” two months ago. Can’t the pancake and bacon people coordinate this? I love pancakes and bacon.

Well, it doesn’t always have to be burning industry issues in this space, does it?

OK, gaming news. The Maryland Live! casino is offering a promotion like I never saw: “Win a Trip to Space.” Players wagering on the slots with their cards earn entries to a sweepstakes giving away $400,000 in cash and prizes, including four free trips to outer space.

Neither the article I read on this promotion nor the casino’s website identifies just who is going to provide the space rocket, starship or whatever kind of vehicle will be used on these trips. For all I know, the winners could be shot out of cannons. But yes, there are private enterprises now that actually will put you on a vehicle and shoot you into space.

It doesn’t say what your destination is. I hope they don’t just send you adrift.

Legendary former Astronaut Buzz Aldrin—“The Second Man to Walk On The Moon”—was on hand at the casino to promote the contest.

(I wish I had been there. I always wanted to ask Buzz whether Neil Armstrong just stepped in front of him at the last minute to get out the door of the lunar module first.)

No disclaimer yet on the casino website. I would suggest the following:

Possible side effects of space travel include nausea, vertigo, heads exploding from the pressure of space, freezing to death, alien abduction… and suicidal thoughts, sexual dysfunction and compulsive gambling.

Frank Legato
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 recently published book on gaming, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying.