February 26th, 2018
I don’t know if all tribes run a casino, but every reservation we’ve seen so far has had one. Yesterday we ate brunch at the Nisqually Red Wind Casino. The food was excellent. The buffet had standing rib roast, shrimp, crab legs, and eggs any way you wanted them. The tribe paid for all of our meals, so we made the most of it.
I don’t gamble. I have plenty of vices, but gambling isn’t one of them. Prior to this trip, I had never spent any time in a casino. During the last few days, I have had plenty of opportunity to observe the behavior of those who dwell there. It’s been quite interesting.
It was pointed out to me that the casinos have no natural light or windows. The are no clocks. There is no way to keep track of time unless you look at your cell phone. Actually, everything in the casino is designed to keep you distracted so that you lose track of time. There is innocuous background music (e.g. smooth jazz). The rooms are filled with the sounds of bells and whistles. Lights flash continually. Alcohol is easily available. It’s a Petri dish for developing ADHD.
The environment in the casino encourages people to enter, play, and forget that they should leave eventually. The staff members are unfailingly helpful, polite, and smiling. They are willing to satisfy nearly any desire of the customer in order to keep the person gambling. That is the goal.
It was late on Sunday morning when we ate brunch. I finished eating before most of the other walkers, so I spent a few minutes exploring the casino cavern. There aren’t many players hanging around the casino on a Sunday morning. Those who are there working the slot machines are part of a special breed. These are not the people who get filmed for gambling promotions. These folks are not high rollers. They are not glamorous. They do not often look happy.
I admit that there are many people who have a great time in the casino. I know some of them. They love the thrill. They are elated when they win and stoic when they lose. They totally enjoy the experience. I just didn’t see any of them on that Sunday morning.
I saw one old guy sitting across from a slot machine. He was in the smoking area. The man gazed at the display with a fixed stare. He was oblivious to the fact that the ashes from his cigarette were falling down on the counter top. He had a grim-looking face. It didn’t look like he was having any fun. Not at all.
That’s not for me.