No, I’m not referring to Internet gambling. I’m talking about armchair gambling.
That’s right! You can now bet the farm, your kid’s college education and the SUV right there in the comfort of your own home!
This revelation came to me in the form of the latest Hammacher Schlemmer catalog. Leafing through the colorful pages of this big-boy toy emporium, one finds a handsome variety of affordable and entertaining outlets for America’s newest cowboy – the recumbent gamer.
Take, for instance, what you can get for less than $120.00 (plus shipping and handling) -
THE TOUCHSCREEN PORTABLE VIDEO POKER GAME
For the more adventurous risk-taker how about
THE CLASSIC DESKTOP SLOT MACHINE
But play like a professional with
THE HOME VIDEO POKER MACHINE
And for those high-rollers among us who can't get enough - there can be no other than
THE SKILL-STOP SLOT MACHINE
What's that? Already blown the Christmas club at Mohegan? Well... next time you'll hit the jackpot! You know you will!! In the meantime ease into the sport with this little gem...
HANDHELD TEXAS HOLD ‘EM POKER
At only $9.95 it makes the perfect stocking stuffer!
Hurry! It's on sale!
And - don't tell me these guys at Hammacher don't have their finger on the pulse, because just take a look at what I found in the toy section!
CHILDREN'S TOUCHSCREEN ATM BANK
What a much needed boon for the average casino patron, worn to a frazzle from all those unnecessary trips to the local casino under the guise of catching a Gary Puckett show and throwing away a bunch of Benjamin's on five-star meal - when all they really want is the excitement that only comes from chasing the odds.
And I bet (no pun intended) that there’s more than one slot jockey out there scratching their chin and thinking of the benefits and sheer beauty of this industry interloper.
No more need to explain to the spouse where the mortgage money went.
Can’t find a sitter? Don't leave the kids home alone all night anymore! Put'em to work - make them go get you a beer!
And maybe you can even save enough money to put back in the company bank account before the boss starts getting suspicious!
Obviously, the home-gaming concept has nowhere to go but up. Stay tuned to this trend, people. Studies have shown that most gamblers don’t even care about the money – just the thrill. Apparently, even Jack Whittaker, the $315 Million powerball winner from slot-soaked West Virgina – still gambles.
And you and I both know it won't be long before some quick thinking entreprenuer comes up with a sounds-of-the-slot-parlor CD or a nicotine-and-Old-Spice aromatherapy device to recreate the subtle ambience of the full service casinos.
Let’s face it, when folks start to catch on to the pure adrenaline-pumping joy of being able to pull that lever from the comfort of their own bathroom, we can say so long to those much-ballyhooed local revenue streams!
But cities and towns can rest easy. Deval Patrick and Tim Cahill are are surely studying the home gaming issue at this very moment, and are no doubt prepared to put together a brilliant plan for recouping the revenue the state could potentially lose as gambling moves to individual households. Perhaps by issuing 1 million residential slot licenses?