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Gambling Does Pay! (the House) May 24, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Brilliant words.
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Wow, I went to Vegas, and the guy at the machine next to me
HIT A JACKPOT AND WON $10,000!!
I, however, came back $50 poorer. As did 2 million others.
Who wins? Not us.
I once worked for a guy whose previous job was a product
manager at Bally’s. He shared with me a few little snippets
of info about how those machines are programmed. They’re
all networked, and they’re designed to pay out only as
much as is needed to keep the suckers, er, customers
playing at the adjacent machines.
I seem to recall that in Operant Conditioning it’s called Scheduled
Reinforcement. Though in this case it’s a little different,
since the reinforcement is delivered to a neighbor.
They had software engineers, mathematicians, and
psychologists running around developing the machines–
and lawyers, to make sure there was enough pseudo-randomness
to appease the regulators.
Our economy is not operated with the same tight level
of control and design, but in Silly Valley the
machines happen to have paid out in close enough proximity
and enough regularity to keep everyone playing at a
fever pitch. Apparently y’all still are.
Outside of the valley, it’s the same racket, but
the media gets the job of making the jackpots seem
much more regular and proximate than they are (e.g.
hyping wealthy celebrities and telling the Horatio
Alger myth again and again).
The Lotto Economy, I’ve called it for years. Still fits.
It’s a total farce. A shell game, a scam, a racket.

 

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