Real-world casinos are ghastly places and its time we got rid of them all, I mean it’s not like we need them now we have the internet, right?
We have made so much progress as a species, and some would argue the rate of this progress is getting quicker, a cumulative effect building an ever stronger wave of innovation and invention as global communications get faster, more convenient, more useful. This growing cascade in development is building into a tsunami that will wash around the planet in a manner that would make even Noah think he almost certainly needs a bigger boat.
The inevitability of this, however manifestly evident (we all have Star Trek communicators in our pockets, people, wakey-wakey) seems to be lost on some people, people who have made their money on one of the old world redundancies that litter history like typewriters and horse-drawn carriages and are deluded enough to think that it’ll be enough to stand against the tide. Most notable amongst these are the owners of casinos who are clinging onto a concept that has long since been supplanted.
Those casino owners, who appear to be gambling news will break any moment that the internet was just a bad dream and that it’s still the 1950s, are providing a service that is costly to the consumer, lacks accessibility and almost has to hoodwink people into accepting it’s narrow-band analogue approach in a very obviously digital broadband world. Their riches will buy them time but nothing more, and it is that they attempt to purchase.
The moves by some to role back changes in the law to allow online gambling, by dint of patronage in times of political campaigning, amounts to nothing more than self-serving legalized bribery, part of the institutionalized corruption that capitalism has wrought upon Democracy rendering it nothing but a rule of the rich not the many. So who are these bastions of obstruction and what makes them think they can possibly ignore progress? Unfortunately it’s mostly deluded old age and money.
Where once casinos were a magical kingdom, an infrequent oasis in an otherwise gambling dry ocean they now litter the American north east like a plague, their catchment areas feeding off each other like sharks, and as those of you like to bet on sports in US already know, there’s an alternative now, and that alternative is the internet. Sites like Bet365 have shown that the internet can do it better, easier and faster, and casinos, and their owners, better get used to it.
The rise of the internet gambling at such a phenomenal rate is a testament to just how ready the marketplace was for change, how stale and staid it had become, trapped in old ways of working that had failed to adapt to a new larger marketplace. The huge capital investments in real-world facilities no longer the best way to make bigger margins in the world of gambling, the internet has become the new frontier of meeting market desire.
So what then of these aging monoliths of gambling’s past? What are we to do with these ancient monuments to glory days of yore when we had to spend money just to gamble money? Are there other uses to which these places that prey on peoples pockets could be put? The answer is, of course, yes, and that the number of uses for these facilities stretches way beyond some of the “boutique hotel” efforts made by some in Atlantic City following it’s partial collapse.
The financial crash might have knocked out a few of the weaker beasts in the herd but still casinos continue to inhabit an ever shrinking portion of the gambling market. However as the Chinese crackdown in Macau almost halves casino revenues there, and investors in the US decide that casinos are too much at the whim of the global economy over the long term, perhaps now is the time to think about what else these places could be used for.
Some amongst you might wonder what it is I have against these dinosaurs that lumber on despite the ice cool age of technology having made them an anachronism, and in essence it is not the casinos themselves that I find abhorrent as much as what they have become as times have become leaner and their margins have been squeezed. The once suave sophisticated palaces of pleasure are long gone replaced with a battery-farming machine that taps gamblers for all they have.
The local identity of any casino now secondary to the numbers it places on the balance sheet of a corporation that is owned by an even larger group that an investment bank owns a controlling stake in. Some of them might have put a wig-wearing, orange faced, aging political crack-pot on top, like a cherry atop a trifle, but the capitalist crush has made them all but faceless, their employees just numbers, their customers just fodder.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in the US or Macau, South Africa or Portugal, you will be in the shadow of one of these ghastly places, and whilst some nations have attempted to turn them into forces for good, with the proceeds going to charity, the fact is as the market for real-world gambling continues to shrink and be a political football, with the US gambling lawsin particular seemingly up for grabs, the internet segment will continue to grow and develop.
The effects of a decreasing market share on a cost-intensive service sector business are for the most part upon unemployment and where that would usually not be a factor the location of casino placement means that, as in Atlantic City, it can be devastating with too few alternative sources of employment. This locality based dependence upon casinos, and casino tax revenues, leaves a vulnerability best dealt with at a stroke rather than letting it bleed slowly on the carpet of our country.
With an effect far beyond their walls, with the inherent crime, corruption and vulnerability they create for both their employees and the local economy as a whole, with all the self-interested influence they inflict upon the rest of us, and with all the better uses to which we could put them, how is it that casinos are still permitted? A sensible society would ride the wave of the future and surf with it into a better, cleaner, more productive world, not cling to these anchors of the past.
The ghosts of times gone by that find themselves unable to change, their revenues not supporting the costs that would incur, unable to access the wider gambling market that has been created, and losing investors made nervous by the financial upheaval so damaging to consumer spending, are on their way out. The old song says you have to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run…..and casinos better start running, because the internet is coming for them.