Guest Column: Casino: The house never loses, just the players

By Norman Bleed

Here’s a trick question: Why was Prohibition repealed? Was it really because, after 14 “roaring” years, we finally realized the sheer impossibility of keeping drinkers and drink away from each other? Or, more to the point, wasn’t it because, even as FDR was inaugurated on March 4, 1933, “Forty-one legislators were in session waiting eagerly for the chance to approve the wet [repeal] amendment [to the Constitution] and TO SLAP TAXES ON BEER AND LIQUOR TO SAVE THEIR EMPTY TREASURIES” (as according to The Roosevelt Myth)?

A very similar public service is being performed in Rockford today for all those risk-takers who’ve been somehow surviving forever without a local wagering emporium. Helping them is mostly what motivates all the big-wigs who are “all in” with the idea of our building a church to Moloch — “a deity who was propitiated by the sacrificial burning of children” — not the new, risk-free tax revenue stream they’ll have to find even more creative ways to fritter away.

Obviously, all these luminaries have seen all the good that the Illinois Lottery, with its astronomical odds against its players, has done — particularly, as was promised, for public education. (The children!) And they’ve concluded that, with our own House of Worship — “casino” comes from “casa,” or “house” — we could even better teach our young, by example, to “play responsibly,” i.e., to simply accept that the “house” — by design — almost always wins.

For instance, have you ever heard of a casino going under? Or, how about just having a horrible run of good luck by its patrons, such that it had to close down early for the evening? No, you haven’t. With their incessant Upstairs/Downstairs mentality, our well-off bettors here think nothing of the city’s not at least putting a casino question to the voters. There’s no need! They absolutely know we want all its ensuing negative social fall-out, most of which they’ll avoid, ensconced in their ivory towers.

With their wearisome, inveterate classicism, the intelligentsia of Rockford, when they deign to think about the rest of us at all, think we’re philistines: contentedly stupid. So, let’s give them an original Philistine — Goliath —instead; or, better yet, give them David. To save wear and tear on their whole, respective armies, those two fought a proxy battle, betting on themselves (as bet their armies).

If a casino does get crammed down our throats, stay the hell away from it. With “games of chance,” you have almost none. If you must gamble, find a “game” — literal or figurative — in which you can put your physical or mental gifts and skills to the test. Bet — only and always — on yourself.

Norman Bleed is a resident of Rockford.

From the Sept. 7-13, 2011, issue

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