Math Lessons from a Gambling Cruise

15mins was all it took for a single machine to contribute $100 to a company’s revenue. No surprise the company employs hundreds of these machines and has them run for 24 hours, 365 days a year.

1 machine generates $400 in 1 hour
100 machines $40000 in 1 hour
that’s $480000 in a single day

if you guessed the aptedly-named one-armed bandit, you are right. they are that lucrative. Suddenly, the IRs make all the sense, pun intended.

Why am I writing all these? Fortunately for me, I had only been a witness. 15mins was all it took for an individual to squander $100. Every press of a button had lost him $2. For a distance, I realized how the slot machines worked. For every 2 cents you lose, it allows you to “win” 1 cent back. Slowly, but surely, it siphons your money. For that matter, they are probably capitalism’s greatest invention.

Why was I in a casino in the first place? My parents suggested that I join them on a free cruise with casino facilities and buffet meals are provided. Sure, why not? It won’t earn a single gambling cent from me anyway. I always stand firm on that I don’t gamble, because I 玩不起 to begin with. Translation: I’ve got no balls in the the game of chance.

So back to the ship. People are constantly fascinated by the extravagant food. I hear comments on the pricey dishes of seafood and I see actions that co-relate to those comments. In other words, they attack the food. who can blame them, really? Most people probably lost money just before meal time. “Eat your worth” is always the mantra. Obviously, they are people who live on false hopes.

Guess I’ll go further on the people on board, as much as I am not in a position to judge.
Call me shallow, proud and whatever along that line.
Just about everyone on board smoked everywhere and anywhere.
Just about everyone on board gambled.
Just about everyone on board looked Chinese.
Just about everyone on board behaved like a typical Singaporean.
Also, judging from the way they dress and behave, these passengers aren’t first-timers on board. In this sense, I would consider them compulsive gamblers.

In a bigger picture, they gamble, win some, get happy, celebrate by smoking, gamble, lose some, relieve stress by smoking, get cancer someday, make one last gamble with their minimal medisave, hoping to win for medical fees but end up losing everything, get dejected, smoke even more to feel better but step closer towards death.

So enter an enlightened, civic-minded citizen from somewhere in Singapore so ulu that our cartographers cannot map out (maybe Mount Faber). “Eh, our people are squandering their hard-earned in casinos outside our Singapore. Count here, count there, they throw $1 million everyday to those gambling cruise ships leh. Think of all the cool development Singapore do if all this money come back to Singapore! We can do research in our bio-medical field to cure their smoking related cancers. When we have surplus, we can use it for medical subsidy for these people. Then the middle and lower income families will be extra happy, medical benefits like mountain. Then we can be true to the words: ‘Every Singaporean Counts’

So why the hoohah about Integrated Resorts?

Why not let the next questions be:
Will there be an IPO?
Singaporeans got priority to buy or not?

But for me, the important thing is that gambling is a matter of choice. One that I know I will not take. For the environment that comes with it and the fact that I’ll be a chicken shit any time anyone challenges me to a game of chance. I’m better of practising counting cards.


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