US Casino – Gambling on Credit

We all know casino’s are only after one thing.   Despite the fancy surroundings, great food, free drinks and great customer service – there is only one goal for the average casino, get people gambling and hopefully losing.   In fact the losing usually takes care of itself, the built in advantage or house edge and mathematics will do the job.


Have you ever noticed that it’s difficult to find out the time in a casino? High powered air conditioning and permanent lighting means that 2.00 am looks very much like 2:00 pm in the depths of a casino.  The idea is obvious, make people lose track of time and again keep them gambling.  However there has always traditionally been one fixed limitator – the amount of cash you have.

You might have all the time in the world, plenty of stamina, heaps of expectations but when you run out of cash, it’s time to go home.  We’ve all been there, and in fact for many people it’s the only reason that they ever leave a casino – after all it’s nice in there!   This has gradually been changing across the USA where there are now many states where you can now gamble on credit.  In fact Missouri, the latest, is now the 11th State in the country which now allows people to gamble with money they don’t have.

The casinos will be allowed to extend credit lines to any customers they like.  The loan is only short term and attracts no interest, but must be paid back within 30 days.  There is no technical limit on the number of these loans which are extended and thus no effective cap on the total amount of credit – it’s all down to the discretion of  the casino.  The details like this, which make it so worrying.  No credit limit, unregulated money lending and all happening in an environment of risk taking and gambling – madness, unless you’re a casino.

It’s of course all about money, but it’s not only the casinos that benefit.  Any loan which is not settled after 30 days, is automatically classed the same as a bad cheque.  Most states have set up units which will chase up these debts, adding ten percent to the total as their ‘cut’.   They also can classify non-payment as a felony which means that for the first time – gambling debts can land you in jail for non-payment.

This is a huge source of revenue for hard pressed authorities, in Las Vegas the District attorney processes 100 cases each week – that’s thousands every single year.  Each one is probably earning many thousands in ‘commission’ for the collection agency.  Another worrying statistic is that the volume increased by almost 10 percent during the recession.

Remember this also applies to online gambling too, which is potentially even more risky. The simple fact is that gambling on credit has the potential to seriously destroy your financial well being and personally I’d like to see it banned.

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