By: Stephen Kish Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Torontonians will soon be asked
by city council – always seeking new revenues – to comment on the predicted benefits of a proposed new casino. One question this raises is how pleasurable casino gambling really is for the typical gambler.
Dr. Nigel Turner, a CAMH scientist, addressed this issue in a study focusing especially on those games in which the casino has only a "slight" advantage over the gambler (e.g., blackjack). As reported in the Journal of Gambling Studies
, Dr. Turner discovered that using computer simulations, there was actually a "fairly high probability" (slightly less than 50 per cent) in such games that the gambler would win – but only in the short term. Not surprisingly, with continued playing, the probability of winning declined.
This finding suggests that some casino games rather cleverly entice the public initially with short term wins, but gamblers won’t experience the overall pleasure of winning if they continue playing.
Does the typical gambler leave the casino with a smile on his/her face?
Most gamblers leave with less than they started with because the games are designed with a negative expected return or a house advantage. Some people also end up with less money because they felt "compelled" to "chase their losses."
Given these situations, can the total casino experience really have been pleasurable?
Should the “entertainment” aspect of casino gambling then really be considered a "benefit" by Toronto City Council Members casting votes for or against a new casino in their neighbourhood?"