Thursday, October 21, 2004

My name is Bond James Bond. Fill my plastic cup with quarters ...


Tunica, Mississippi
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I've been mulling over the final draft of the UK's new Gambling Bill, published a couple of days ago. The justification for the Bill is that UK Gaming Laws haven't been revised for 35 years and the growth of Internet gambling means that the regulatory environment needs to be updated.
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Mmmm, so the new law will permit US-style mega casinos, holding up to 1,250 fruit machines with unlimited jackpots. It's not entirely clear to me how that can be considered a response to the regulatory needs of internet gambling. But there you go. And, OK, it is a bit strange that a supposedly socially-conscious government is undoubtedly paving the way for a massive increase in gambling addiction and that scarce Parliamentary time is being spent on this, rather than sorting out the totally messed-up reform of the House of Lords. We can all guess what's going on. A few pounds here. A free holiday or two there. A bit of jig-a-jig somewhere else and, lo!, MGM get their new casinos. This is all part of the order of things these days in the UK.
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My biggest problem with all of this is that US style casinos are rubbish. I should know. I've visited more than a few. People in the UK don't really understand what's coming their way. When people here think about casinos they picture Brett Maverick or James Bond; high stakes games of poker, baccarat or roulette, played by impeccably turned-out men with an elegant, jewellery-encrusted femme fatale draped over each shoulder. Existing UK casinos are a bit like that, maybe with more Indian restauranteurs and Chinese wholesalers than secret agents or gunfighters but they do, sort of, follow the classic movie model.

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American mega-casinos, on the other hand, are about slots, lots and slots of slots, plus the occasional video poker console. I've boarded Mississippi river boats so laden with fruit machines that the river is almost lapping over the deck, casinos so packed will small change that the delta mud or desert sand are teetering on the verge of tectonic collapse. And inside always the same scene. How cool would James Bond look if we saw him was sitting on a tall stool, a plastic cup filled with quarters between his legs, his lapels covered in unnoticed cracker crumbs and cigarette ash, mindlessly feeding coins into a fruit machine in a windowless room at 4.00am, a thin sliver of drool trickling down the side of his mouth?

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How would those classic encounters with Blowfeldt play out?
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'So Mr Bond. You have three cherries and the fruit-loop jackpot multiplier. Your famous good fortune has not eluded you. Shall we adjourn to Mr Porkies $10 Eat All You Can 24 Hour Bar-B-Q Buffet for some domestic beer and a plate of Mr Porkies world's famous ribs?'
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And if that style of casino seems lame set somewhere like the Mississippi Delta how lame, how very very lame are they going to be in Blackpool or Leicester?

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oh dear, oh dear oh dear, oh dear

5 comments:

Geek's Girl said...

Not so much a comment on this particular post, more of a gush about how I'm a fan. It's a pleasure to read something that is entertaining and I look forward to regular doses.

I believe people need to know when they're doing something write (bad puns and chocolate will be the death of me yet).

Stef said...
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Stef said...
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Stef said...
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Stef said...

Why thank you Geek Girl, that means I now have four fans in the world, if I count my mother

(not sure why Blogger decided to insert this post four times - maybe once for each fan?)