What’s Next, Crack in Vending Machines?

Falling through the universe at the speed of life

By David Glenn Cox

Like looters in a store grabbing anything available just to grab something. In the late stages of Capitalism, anything goes. The pharmaceutical industry selling you drugs to deal with the side effects from their pharmaceuticals. There’s that scene in the Godfather where Michael tells Kay, “In five years we’re going to be completely legitimate.” I’ve never smoked crack or have done Heroin. It is unlikely I ever will. Unlikely, I’d take the time and trouble to track down a suppler and go buy a pipe and a lighter. But if it were sitting on my coffee table ready to go, what then? You say no never but that’s how the devil operates. It won’t kill you, you only live once. You could try it once just to say you have. It could be educational!

I’ve been to Vegas two or three times, dog tracks and horse tracks bought lottery tickets and played scratch off games. I have nothing against them, but I’m hardly a regular. In Portland they had poker clubs. Tournaments that would start on Friday nights. My buddy would take his unemployment check and buy in. If he was lucky, he could quadruple his money but sometimes he only broke even, and it took hours and hours of play. It wasn’t like he could pick up a phone and bet $500 on a coin toss. Well now you can. The TV airwaves filled with advertising for sports betting. “Call Now and talk to a Real New York Sports Bookie! Voice altered to protect identity.”

When I was younger, I had a friend who had never worked a day in his life. He sold weed, shot pool and bet on football. He was reasonably successful at all three and he took his sports betting as seriously as any job but sometimes he got burned. Somebody fumbled with two minutes left to play and the parlay fell apart. The parlays and complicated bets that’s where the big money lives and it’s only a phone call away, download the ap now for big money.

Millions unemployed looking for a break, looking for some way to hustle up some cash to prevent disaster. And by god some are going to do it and crush the house, but most are going to lose because the house always wins in the end. Look at their advertising budget and see if they don’t know it, round the clock seven days a week. The crack pipe sits on the coffee table. Go ahead it probably won’t destroy your life and there is only one way to find out. Pick up the phone and give them your credit card number and you have until the end of the month. And ah, do me a favor and don’t tell the wife, it’s a surprise. Bring out the Jimmy the Greek fantasy of the professional gambler riding in the back of a limo saying, “working is for chumps,” fishing for suckers sixty seconds at a time.

Pete Rose was banned from baseball for betting on the games. I bet he wished he could have downloaded the app. Then Red Pete 14 could bet all he wanted without having to worry about a Bookie turning state’s evidence. The sports industry is a hapless victim here, happy for any venue that grows their business model but knowing inside that pipe are the seeds of their own destruction. Sure, the President is a lying sack of lawn fertilizer but what about the umpire at the Yankee’s game? Maybe he downloaded the app too. Maybe he’s tired of squatting behind twenty something prima donnas making millions of dollars while he sweats it out in a black suit waiting for twenty years to come. I bet $2,000 the Yankees are going to lose today.

Last year’s NFL season was peppered with controversial calls or what we might call unexpected profit potentials or a beach house in Mexico. Gee, if they don’t beat the line a lot of people will get hurt. Professional Boxing was once a mainstream sport, but shady characters and curious decisions made people begin to question the integrity of the sport and the sport faded. No one bets on Professional Wrestling. No one takes their kid to Little League Blackjack Camp. Is the game, a game or just the subject of the bet? A three-hour coin toss with probabilities and random variables?

I was fortunate to have had a good education about sports betting while young being raised as a Cubs fan in Chicago. I learned, you can and do lose in the ninth inning. I learned you can and do lose with two outs in the ninth inning. Your All Star First Baseman just let the ball go between his legs and some moron fan just grabbed a sure out foul ball. I learned the lesson so many Cubs fans have learned, Imagine the best thing that can ever happen, now forget it! It keeps the money in my pocket as I’m too cheap and not that desperate yet.

It shows that there is nothing really sacred every avenue of exploitation will be utilized. Like Vegas Vacation they have the off-brand casinos. Tiddly winks for money and a Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament. Play video games for money from the privacy of your own phone! The pretty young twenty something says, “I made $6,000 from my phone! But I’m not a gambler or anything it’s just video games!” You are playing in their universe with their algorithm and who regulates those things in Malta or Cypress or some other loosely affiliated country on the edge of legitimacy?

Who gains from this? Michael Corleone keeps his word to Kay, and the TV stations grow fat on their good fortune. It’s the American dream, easy money smarter than the average bear machismo. All you have to do is get them to bet. Playing on the fantasy banking on the desperation and then like PT Barnum picking them clean, kicking them in the ass and pushing them out the back door. What’s next, crack in vending machines?

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