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#57 Gambling

Posted April 11th, 2008 by Peter · 39 Comments

In Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Korean, and Cambodian communities, researchers have been noticing a hidden epidemic: One that siphons an unprecedented amount of money from asians every year; One that breaks families apart; One that is actually taught to children at a very young age. You guessed it right (no pun intended): Today’s post is about gambling.

When asked about compulsive gambling, asians do not always come to mind. They’re too responsible. They’re too law-abiding. They’re too, well… intelligent to indulge in such an irresponsible act. However, quite the opposite can be said. Gambling, which invokes asian superstition and use of their vast accumulated wealth, is the ultimate mediator. In fact, gambling is officially the “new” American past time, as people (as a whole) spend more time every year at casinos than they do with their families, movies, concerts, or other recreational events.

Asians greatly contribute to this because of:

1. Tradition: From a very young age, many asians are accustomed to seeing their parents sitting at the dinner table with friends and family playing game sof “money card (c. 1000 AD).” This causes asian children to bet chips (yes, potato chips) on friendly games of thirteen and texas holdem, which later escalates into betting the family’s own lucky fish.

2. Superstition: When New Years comes around, Asians gamble to usher out the bad luck of the previous year. This involves spending vast amounts of money on pointless games of pai gow and money card. This also means betting with only lucky numbers in mind. For example, the number 8 is very symmetrical and balanced, while the number 4 sounds like death in Cantonese. The obsession with gambling usually manifests itself into every day life, as some asians will even bet if it will rain or not on any given day. Asians bring these superstitions with them when they immigrate to other countries, which leads us to…

3. Fate: The often hard-working lay-class Asian immigrants are risk takers that have left their homelands for the dream of better futures. When they enter casinos, they are treated as honored guests, receiving free drinks and cigarettes. The positive connection is instantaneously made, as the neon lights often derail them from the American dream. This is why most will engage in “attack” gambling, where vast amounts of money are spent on pointless computerized card games. Nevertheless, it’s not like asians aren’t spurred on by casino corporations.

When the ill-fated “Harrah’s” bus comes by, drooling elderly asians are already eagerly awaiting their weekly excursions to Laughlin, Nevada. Why? Because they receive 20$ bills upon entering the bus. When they arrive, they fall into the same traps that their younger-counterparts fall into: The V.I.P. treatment, free hotel suites, and concert tickets. These are all ploys to keep asians from returning home. and due to the thrifty nature of asians, this is usually effective.

Asians love gambling because it is hard-coded into their society. Children view it nonchalantly. Adults see it is a past time. Fate has brought them to the casinos to be kings. No matter how smart some asians are, they can not resist a casino’s seductive lights, because Asians, since 1000 AD, have indeed made gambling a way of life.

Last 5 posts by Peter

Tags: Activities · Chinese · Culture · Customs · Environment · Habits · History · People · Superstition

39 responses so far ↓

  • 1 foxwithcpu // Apr 12, 2008 at 7:00 am

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  • 2 CNM // Apr 12, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    My mom taught me how to play all sorts of card games when I was four so she could practice for her poker group and yearly trips to Vegas. I try my hardest to resist the urge, but I know my love for gambling is genetic and therefore impossible to deny…

  • 3 Kevin // Apr 13, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    My parents only knew a few card games such as basic poker and blackjack. I did learn 13 card poker, 13 (aka big 2 among other names), another game which I don’t remember the name for and mah jong from them. Gambling is a big deal whether it be in the stock market or betting on sports. I don’t see many older generation asians going to casinos that often, however a “friendly” game of mah jong or something in one’s abode occurs every week!

  • 4 mogo // Apr 15, 2008 at 4:36 pm

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  • 35 got-rice // Oct 11, 2009 at 10:24 pm

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  • 38 ilovehorseyrides // Jun 9, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    My family’s Asian and we were all raised to be non-gamblers. That still doesn’t stop us from going to Las Vegas and Atlantic City :)

  • 39 ilovehorseyrides // Aug 14, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Not everyone in my family is a non-gambler. In Vegas, my aunt played the slots at the Linq and the Mirage.

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    I did the same at the former Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City last summer.

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