Opinion by Helge Nome
I attended a coin show hosted by the Edmonton Numismatic Society on the weekend. Of note here is the building where the show took place: The Century Casino and Hotel. Looking for a counter lunch I walked through the casino and took in the sights and sounds of the place. It is big, like a Wal Mart store, but rather than shelves of merchandise, rows upon rows of milking machines are featured, arranged in creative ways so as to avoid creating long boring alleys. And a constant drone of sounds emanate from these machines as they milk their customers.
How can you explain the phenomenon of hundreds of people sitting, seemingly mesmerized, in front of screens with constantly flickering symbols? At the poker tables in side rooms there is at least some kind of social interaction between players, be it less than friendly at times, but the milking machines are a different animal. They used to be called “one armed bandits” but that label has gone by the wayside as electronic versions took over. However, the term “milking machine’ still applies because it describes their true function: To milk their customers of their cash, while reinforcing their futile dreams of rich rewards for doing nothing except dumping money into the machine and press a button.
Anyone who doubts whether this is in fact what happens can simply go and ask members of charitable organizations who act as milk maids for these machines, spending nights in the back rooms of casinos to share in the profit from exploitation of vulnerable people. They regularly take home $20,000 - $30,000 for a night of sitting in the back room in order to legitimize what is going on.
This whole spirit of getting something for nothing now pervades society at large and is the primary reason for what is happening in the financial system. It has only happened a thousand times before in human history and the consequences are laid out in scripture in all cultures. But then we moderns are so much smarter than our forebears, aren’t we?