Gambling City

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Gambling Goodies From the Grave?

Author: Mark Pilarski

Dear Mark: A friend recently passed away. He had a large amount of casino comps. Do they go to his estate and to his heirs? Bob M.

In its strictest form, Bob, a "will" is limited to real property while a "testament" applies to the disposition of personal property. So, is the distribution of your friend’s personal property in the form of casino comps and used by a beneficiary legitimate? Most likely, not, Bob.

The thinking behind comps, Bob, is to get you into the casino and to gamble. YOU are the gambler they are targeting, not Aunt Gertie. If the departed acquired room, food, and beverage (RFB) comps, show tickets, and rounds of golf to induce continued play, kinfolk can’t covertly use the deceased’s freebies.

Somewhere in itsy bitsy fine print on just about every club card brochure, the wording along these lines exists: NON TRANSFERABLE! Members may not give, lend or in any way grant another person use of their card.

These revocable perks-for-play, Bob, are a privilege given out by such-and-such casino respectivly in exchange for THAT player’s past and future action. Most casinos will want to see a photo identification of the person trying to redeem comps, and it had better match with the individual whose name is associated with that account. A copy of an obituary won’t make the grade.

Dear Mark: I don't gamble, but I very much enjoy your column. You make your point very clearly, unlike the authors who have the other poker column and write in jargon that I don't really understand.

Your latest column regarding a blackjack player who was insulted by the dealer's play so he "cashed out and went to a slot machine." I can envision the scene, and surely it would have been more effective to "cash out, find a deck chair and a good book." Toasting the pit boss from a deck chair would have been so much interesting than toasting him with a handle in his hand. I am afraid he lost all my empathy when he chose to continue getting screwed, after getting screwed. Fender T.

Thank you for your kind words, Fender, and your support of the column. It always amazes me how many non-gamblers read it. I really don’t have too much to add, with the exception that your wit and wisdom was worth sharing with my readers.

As for why gamblers do what they do, well, there is a simple explanation. The casino does all within its power to entice you to gamble and forget that pulling on a slot handle, in most circumstances, is one of the worst bets the casino offers. Add bright lights, drinks and mesmerizing melodies coming from their slot machines, and suddenly, those “don’t do it” principles from a faith-based upbringing are out the window.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Once I lost ten blue chips to a player who bet me that the pale light we happened to notice filtering through the curtains was dusk, not dawn.” – Dick Miles, Lowball in a Time Capsule (1970)