Long before I graduated college, I was working at a local casino–specifically, the exact same casino we all said we would never work for when we were still in high school nearby. Then some of us turned eighteen, then nineteen, and decent-paying jobs were scarce in that part of the Ohio Valley. Most of use were drawn into that awful vortex and were making more money than we thought we would. And o, how the years passed.
Now, before I kick off this series, let me be clear: who I was then is not who I am now. I wasn’t a good person, and I am not saying I am now, but look, friend: some of us have to try to hit bottom before we even remotely understand what bottom really is…and those were my years in the casino.
Here’s a little bit of background for you, arranged neatly into three categories. After that, you’re ready.
I. My friends/coworkers at the casino: some of the most ridiculous characters you could ever meet. To this day, several of them are my closest friends. What we endured there together in those years is hard to gather in one volume. We’ll do our best.
II. The casino itself is still operational. Ownership has changed many times since my last shift, but the constants are still there: addiction, death, and a never-ending Level 5 Space Hurricane of unbelievable subpar top-down management and operational horseshit. The tales we share here will come mostly from the video lottery side, as I got the hell out of there before tables arrived. Also, I have never had a head for cards, and thus, I don’t give a shit about anything that goes on outside of video lottery…unless I make money doing so.
III. There is no actual product in the casino business. It’s filed under “entertainment,” but what that means is that patrons piss away more money than they can often afford, and everyone is looking to cash in on chance, that marvel that isn’t the kind of math you can study. At some point, you still have to be at the right place at the right time, with the right kind of money. Good luck with that.
This image is labeled for reuse, so don’t try any bullshit. Coincidentally, these also happened to be my favorite machines on which to work when I eventually left the cashier cage and became a floor attendant. More on that later.