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Henrietta, Obesity and Booze

Henrietta, Obesity and Booze

As you know, month after month, I scour the gaming news, after which I scrub it and hang it out to dry.

But sometimes, scanning the news of the gaming universe can be a bit annoying to someone who is familiar with the industry. For instance:

In upstate New York, they held a citizen meeting to decry the plans of the Seneca Nation to build a casino in the town of Henrietta. One family paraded out a 12-year-old daughter, who told the town board that a casino would turn Henrietta “from a nice and pleasant town to a worn-down casino city not safe for children.”

First of all, at 12, how many worn-down casino cities has this girl seen? I’d like to know the basis of her expertise. Maybe the head of No Casinos did a career day at her seventh-grade class. Maybe she’s actually a 45-year-old disguised as a kid. Show me her identification.

Secondly, she told the board that “a lot of families would move away” if a casino opened nearby. Again, even if she learned this from some seventh-grade class on the effect of gaming on society, I can tell you it’s wrong. I live five minutes from a casino, and the only way families around here are moving away is if the casino closes and they lose their jobs. Incidentally, those families have children too, and amazingly, they seem pretty safe.

Finally, Henrietta, a suburb of Rochester, isn’t getting “worn down” by any low-key casino of the type the Senecas build in upstate New York. The town’s main claim to fame is one of the largest retail shopping districts in Monroe County. An elegant resort isn’t taking anything away from the ambiance of strip malls, or, for that matter, the Super 8 Motel or the sprawling Patrick Buick GMC complex.

(Patrick Buick, by the way, will beat any deal.)

One more thing: The Senecas haven’t said this, but it just so happens that before all that suburban sprawl even existed, they were there first.

OK, enough of that rant. Here’s another: Gotta love that L.A. Times.

Now, I’m not one to bash the “mainstream media” like a few of my fellow gaming journalists of more conservative ilk normally do, but this headline takes the cake:

“Jackpot! Casinos Linked to Reduced Risk of Childhood Obesity!”

To someone skimming the newspaper—if anyone still does that in this digital age—it would appear that someone did a study showing you can reduce childhood obesity simply by taking the kids to the local casino. Makes sense, right?

“Junior, just sit there with Timmy while I get another marker! We’ll eat when I’m down to a thousand in chips.”

No, it turns out that the study examined California Indian casinos, and found that tribes that had more slot machines saw reductions in childhood obesity—because they had more revenue, and thus, less poverty, and more family income for proper childhood nutrition.

But the Times couldn’t resist making it a story about gambling. “Apparently casinos are good for losing more than just cash,” read the lead sentence in the article. Oh, that wacky mainstream media!

One last item of contention this month: All over the news has been yet another lawsuit from a rich player who got plastered and ended up losing a lot of money. Californian Mark Johnston is suing the Downtown Grand because he took out $500,000 in markers and lost it all while he was blind drunk.

OK, let’s look at the situation: The guy knew he was going to a casino. He had four drinks at the airport in Burbank, California, one on the flight to Las Vegas, one while waiting for his driver, another while riding to the hotel, and several more at dinner right after checking into the hotel. His drinks were at double digits before he even sat down at a blackjack table, which means, among other things, that this is a dude who can hold his liquor. That said, he can probably also cover up the fact that he’s drunk.

What happened next, to him, was that he woke up the next day with no money and $500,000 in markers in his pocket.

I hate when that happens.

Seriously, though, if you guzzle that much booze before you go into a casino, you have to take some responsibility for it.

I know this not so much from personal experience (the only time I ever had a booze-out while playing, I ended up winning), but for one simple reason:

A 12-year-old girl from Henrietta told me so.

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