James Maass: 'You can't win. So why do it? ... Gambling will always ruin more lives than it will ever help.'

I've worked in and around the gaming industry for over 35 years. To be specific, let's call it what it is: the gambling/betting industry. Greyhound and horse racing, sports betting, cards, dice — all of it.

Most inexplicable human nature in regards to betting can be explained through addiction, unfortunately, or the basic lack of understanding how the mathematical part of betting works, and how all games of chance are based on probability and that's why the house or casino, if you will, or even the state lottery always win.

The mind-boggling part of this is when I see people putting hundred-dollar bills into software-programmed slot machines.

The slot machine has always been a rigged fixed game. In the old days, machines were programmed with alarm clock devices that paid out jackpots after the house had their guaranteed profit margin. Today, we live in the most technology based society that's ever existed. Corporations can build their entire budgets based on exactly every penny they know each machine will make. The Oregon Lottery does the same thing.

I suppose some people call this legal thievery "entertainment." What it really is is theft.

If the slot machine was banned, casinos around the world would fold.

It's curious, as smart as people are with technology, why the basic understanding eludes them that they can't win on a slot machine over any period of time that creates an exact programmed return on investment for the casino, whether it's run by the state, the Native American tribe, or the corporation that owns the casino.

How people are so naive about this is truly inexplicable. You can't win. So why do it?

Addiction, bad mathematical skills and lack of knowledge.

It's clearly not fun when you walk through a casino and look at the faces of people feeding money into these preprogrammed nonsensical devices. They should be illegal. We know they are set up to steal money, so why is it allowed?

Gambling in this country coast-to-coast is out of control. Gambling will always ruin more lives than it will ever help. It's time to take an adult look at this heinous industry, and we need to start with the software-based 21st-century slot machines designed to appeal to the gambling addicts in our society.

James Maass is a Beaverton resident.

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