Portrait of a slots player

Amid all the projections of revenue, one loses sight of the fact that slot machines make money because people choose to play them.  Just who are those people?  John Grogan of the Inquirer has an answer, in a column about one woman who likes to play:

In an earlier, better time, Patricia McNally enjoyed horseback riding, tennis and badminton. She loved to dance. “Sex was good, too,” she says with a wry laugh, “but, oh well.”

Now, at age 69, the West Chester grandmother is racked by degenerative arthritis that has turned her bones brittle and forced her to undergo two spinal fusions and several other surgeries. She is in near constant pain and has had to abandon all her physical hobbies.

These days, McNally has found a comforting substitute for the joy her active lifestyle once gave her – playing the slot machines.

She does not agree with those who believe slots gambling is a troubling and exploitative business that in effect taxes the poor, the elderly and the unsophisticated. She fully understands that slot machines offer astronomically bad odds of winning and that they are designed to string players along, draining their wallets.

That does not stop her from feeding in quarters. To her, slot machines are just one thing: a splash of escapist fun on an otherwise bleak canvas.

“When you get to be my age, there’s not a lot of excitement,” she says. “Quite frankly, playing the slots is crazy. The percentages are stacked against you. But it has an element of excitement you can’t get anywhere else, at least not at our age. The fireworks, you’ve got to get them where you can find them.”

John Grogan Don’t tell her not to play the slots

I strongly recommend this article.  McNally is a smart woman, who plays within set limits and views it strictly as entertainment–she could be a spokeswoman for the concept of casino entertainment.

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