In my never ending search to try to understand human behavior, I have come across another phenomenon that exists in some people, (and it's more than you think), known as the "gambling gene". For those of you who missed the article on the "car gene", it can be found in my column's for 2006 on October 7th. The gambling gene truly has me baffled. I might have been born with one, but as a Young man in my early 20's, I went to Las Vegas with some friends and lost all my money while the room was being cleaned before I could take possession of it for a three night vacation. It was fair to say I got cleaned quicker than my room and to be able to even eat for this vacation, I had to go to a loan shark and pay huge fees to cash a couple of checks. I am quite sure that is when the gambling gene left me body, basically never to return.
I do not know whether I am lucky or not to have lost the gene but I go to gambling meccas with my wife to enjoy the amenities not the action. I love the night life, restaurants, shopping centers and, of course, the golf courses. Most places are also in beautiful locations that are generally very relaxing if you keep out of the casinos, but back to my point about the gambling gene. Over the last 45 years, I have watched Las Vegas grow from a nice resort town to one of the worst traffic spots known to man kind. If you don't know the back way into the hotels and shopping centers, my advice is to take a cab everywhere and give up any semblance of a time schedule. The City of Las Vegas has created untold amounts of wealth for the business people, land owners, hotel and casino owners, entertainers, etc. and has depleted the monies of people from all over the world to the tune of many trillions of dollars. (Just a guess, and I am probably way below the actual number). Take this scene and multiple it again and again across the country and the world and you can see an amazing statistic: if people had a never ending supply of money such as a pension, they would receive every month the world wouldn't probably need any other type of industry to survive quite nicely!
The same people who go to super markets to buy their groceries and spend 15 minutes in front of me messing with the coupons to save some money, which is absolutely the thing to do except in front of me, will go to one of these gambling spots and throw four or five times as much away in the pursuit of the jackpot. Is there something wrong with this picture? The line that always makes me crazy is "I only lose what I can afford!". I have been counseling people for decades and have never asked or have been told by anyone how much they can afford to lose. Never! I think Las Vegas made up that line to go along with "gamble responsibly".
I don't want you to think I am picking on Las Vegas because I am not. I have an office in Henderson, Nevada, a suburb of Las Vegas, and I love to go there. Great golf, great restaurants, great shopping and a very unique desert. I am off point again so I will continue with my discussion of Indian Casinos. What amazes me the most about these Casinos is that they are owned by tribes of one person to fifty or so in the Coachella Valley, Palm Springs area of California, and they grow just like the big ones in Nevada and other spots around the globe.
Why do you suppose that it happening? How can a one woman tribe, as we have in our desert, open a casino and compete with the MGM Grands and Trump Casinos of the world?
In my opinion, you needn't have a marketing plan, super skilled executives running every department, or even a lot of money to make it work. You need a place where people can GAMBLE, and they will create your fortune for you. (It really isn't quite that simple, but I don't think I am that far off). If you have the gambling gene, you know exactly what I am talking about. If there is a place where you can get a little action, your there.
Would I like to own a Casino? You bet I would! Would I be tempted to gamble? You bet I wouldn't! When you are privileged to see the "take" on a given night from any of these places, you realize there isn't a reason in the world for you to gamble. Besides, people who are chocoholics and are also in the candy business tell me they lose their desire for the treat rather quickly once they've been around it all day long for a bit of time.
Contrary to what you might think, I do not find these places evil, I do not find gamblers to be less than me in any way, and I do not think that this industry is bad for an area or even our Country. Actually the Indian Casinos in the Coachella Valley are the largest employers in the area and give untold amounts of money to charities and other institutions. They're great neighbors and very responsible citizens; we haven't seen increases in crime because they're in the area, but we have seen increases in homes, shopping centers, hospitals etc. The food at these casinos is generally way above average and most of these in our desert are laying out plans for golf courses. How amazing is that?
My point to this article is that too many people do not restrict there gambling to the casinos but take it with them in life. Gamblers have told me that the best thing they can have, of all the things one can possess, is luck. I believe that. But when you try to take your gambling into financial markets you need knowledge, first and foremost, and if your lucky once or twice, so be it. You cannot base your financial investments on luck, or you may find fairly quickly that your luck has run out.
Whether your money goes into the stock market, real estate, gold coins, or oil futures, you need to put aside the gambling and pick up the knowledge you need to have a chance to make your investment work. If not, your chances are probably better at the casinos.
I have worked with all types of people including those who have won and those who have lost. There isn't a whole lot of difference, and, I have found, that winning, like having money, doesn't necessarily create happiness. And, for that matter, losing doesn't either. So make sure you gamble where your suppose to and not where it takes more than luck to succeed.
That is how I see it.