By Shedrick Byrd

What’s happening to Casino gaming?  Within the last six months my visits to three different casinos have been disastrous.  There were times I went to casinos to enjoy the suspense and excitement of gaming.  But lately I have had lots of suspense and little excitement.  I never expected to win a lot but did enjoy the winning streaks when they happened. 

The last few times I went to a casino, it seemed duller than it was a couple of years ago.  I didn’t hear the winning cheers throughout the casino when someone hit a jackpot or a big win.  There were fewer people on the days I went.  As a matter of a fact, one day there were so few people I thought I could almost count them on my hands.   

I like playing the slots.  Years ago I enjoyed playing the 25 and 50 cent slots, but my luck was so bad on them until I went to playing the penny slots.  What amazes me about the penny slots is it seems you have to put a dollar’s worth of pennies in each game to have a chance of winning anything.  So I went back to the 25 and 50 cent slots. 

Because I have been having fewer winning streaks as compared to the past, I started to wonder, is this a new thing for all casinos?  I have heard a number of people who enjoy casino gaming complain about the tightening up and how hard it is to win at the casinos these days.

The casinos still have some of the amenities, such as free games, free buffet dinners and lunches at some casinos, free prizes and beverages and as well as complimentary rooms for overnight and long term gamers.  When I look around at the casinos and think about how big they are, the size of their staff and the number of different machines they have, I see why they may need to cut back on winnings.  Their overhead must be through the roof! 

I hear that Virginia is interested in bringing in casino gaming and Virginia Beach wants to bring a casino there.  Has Virginia waited too late?  Is the casino market too flooded?  With what I have been observing from other casinos, is it worth it for Virginia?  Are casinos drying up?  

Two of my compadres who have most often traveled with me to the different casinos over the years in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. asked me not to write this article discouraging bringing gaming to Virginia.  We made an agreement to go to a casino at least once a month.  One of them likes the Blackjack card game and the other the Dice game table.  Their luck has also been dwindling.  Both of them, like many others, claim they are tired of traveling to other states to enjoy casino gaming and want casinos in Virginia.     

Shedrick Byrd is a frequent contributor to the New Journal and Guide and is the author of the book, “The Mississippi Byrd; from Rural to Urban to Suburban and Beyond.”

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