Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Revel-ation. (Meet me tonight in Atlantic City.)

Aside from the occasion – okay, regular – lottery ticket, and the purchase of any raffle ticket that’s put before me, I’m never had the gambling bug.

I’ve been to the track a few times, and enjoyed it, but I’m strictly a $2 window – if that even exists any more – kind of gal, betting only on ponies with names that I like, or basing my wagers on the colors of the jockey’s silks.

In a casino, I’m good for as long as a $10 roll of quarters will last in the slots.

I guess you could say that every company I worked for back in the day was something of a gamble, and, sadly, none of them paid off big. I made a few bucks when one company I worked for was sold, but mostly, well, let’s just say that if I had a dollar for every underwater option I was ever granted, I might not be lighting cigars with five-dollar bills, but I’d be sitting prettier.

No, gambling is a vice that has never held much appeal. It’s just at such damnable odds with my closely held beliefs that, other than the occasional quarter found on the sidewalk, you generally don’t get something for nothing, and that, at the end of a long, clockless, windowless day, the house always win.

I have to believe that, deep down, gamblers know this as well.

How can they not?

It’s just for gamblers, the lure of something for nothing and/or beating the house must be just too powerful.

I’m not talking about professional gamblers here – pro poker players with excellent memories and the ability to interpret the other guy’s “tell”; Wall Street types who either truly understand or are good guessers about market direction – but the little guy schnooks who think that there’s easy money to be made if you just perfect-a the trifecta, who keep buying those PowerBall tickets (which, as someone with the benefit of an advanced degree from MIT well knows, is a complete chump’s game), and who have no problem pulling the arm of the one-armed bandit in hopes that a fortune in quarters will come spewing out.

At any rate, I was interested to read that a couple of Jersey boys (okay, one was a woman; I just anted to say Jersey Boys) are suing the Revel Casino in Atlantic City:

…for more than $35 million, claiming it “lured” patrons to its Atlantic City slot machines in July with a bogus promise to refund all losses…The suit, on behalf of “tens of thousands” of slot players in five states and Washington DC, accuses Revel Entertainment Group of breach of contract, unjust enrichment and violating state consumer-protection laws.  (Source, I’m a tad embarrassed to admit: NY Post. At least it’s not the Daily Mail….)

Revel had apparently been running a come-on ad campaign, promising:

“All July long, we’re going to refund all slot losses” and “You really can’t lose . . . If you win, you win. If you lose, we’ll give it all back!”

Which suckered those “tens of thousands” of slots players in without their reading the fine print, which the suit claims was “virtually illegible.”

If they read the fine print, they’d have seen that their losses would be covered by free slot play, done at 5% a week over 20 consecutive weeks.

So, if you lost, say $1K, in July, you could come back 20 times through the rest of the year an get comped for $50 worth of quarters a shot. Which, of course, if you’re a big enough gambler to be suing Revel, would just be pogey bait to get you to keep throwing good money after free money.

And while I’ve never been to Atlantic City, I suspect that even the most ardent of Jersey-ites aren’t willing to spend twenty consecutive weeks traipsing down there to hit the slots. (Does Atlantic City on a gray and drear November day sound like anything other than drop-dead depressing?)

Maybe I could make my way down there once or twice, if Bruce Springsteen were going to be there and personally sing, just for me, Thunder Road, Promised Land, and:

Well now, everything dies, baby, that's a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back
Put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty
And meet me tonight in Atlantic City

Part of the suit whines claims that Revel used their terrible come-on-a-my-house campaign to turn around their business:

“This deceptive business scheme . . . result[ed] in the first-ever profitable period since [Revel’s] opening 18 months ago,” according to the the court papers. It emerged from bankruptcy in May with a new marketing strategy aimed at a more traditional Atlantic City crowd.

(I.e., a crowd that smoked, didn’t like expensive food and booze, and was turned off by Revel’s initial “high-brow” la-di-da attitude.)

Well, duh-a-duh.

Revel’s is a business, and if its enticing ad filled the casino and the house won, well, that, like the Hokey Pokey, is what it’s all about.

How could anyone think that any casino was going to be playing “head’s you win, tails I lose”?

Come on!

This is the daffiest thing I’ve heard since Newt Gingrich set out his Social Security privatization scheme that would make anyone who gambled and lost back into the program and made whole. (So much for the notion that Republican’s are more sensible fiscal actors.)

How can you be grown up enough to go out gambling and not understand that if something sounds too good to be true, it is?

Isn’t this one of the few things you can pretty much always bet on and win.

Sadly, there are some folks out there for whom this is a revelation.

Sure, it was a bit snake-y (snake-eyes-y) of Revel to run that kind of a campaign. But, come on.

Maybe they’ll win there suit, but I, for one, wouldn’t bet on it.

If baby needs a new pair of shoes, they might be better off scanning the boardwalk for dropped quarters.

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