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Over 60…And Getting Younger: July 9, 2010


Either you like to gamble, or you don’t.

I like to gamble a little bit. When I go to Las Vegas or Atlantic City or Foxwoods, I have an automatic cutoff machine. When I lose too much money, I get dour and depressed. I want to leave and go home. I won’t cash any more bills, and I find a quiet place to just watch other people gamble. At most, I go two or three times a year to casinos.

I have heard Las Vegas described in this way: “Las Vegas is a city with no memory. It is the place you went for a second chance. It is the American city where people went after the divorce, after the bankruptcy, or after a short stint in a county jail.” This quote comes from Nicholas Pileggi’s book, Casino.

Recently Lorraine and I have been going to the Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway. It only takes about an hour from Jericho. Somehow, those long, three-hour trips to Atlantic City and Foxwoods are getting to be too much for me. You go there full of optimism and good expectations, and come home dejected and in a bad mood.

Lorraine is a confirmed slot machine player. She gives each machine a human existence: “This is a good machine, and that one is an evil one that treats its mother badly.” She anthropomorphizes all the slots. She flits from machine to machine. She tires me out just standing there and watching her.

There are no table games, such as Blackjack, Roulette or Texas Hold ‘em at the Empire. I just find a poker machine and play Jacks or Better or Wild Deuces. On a poker machine you must make some decisions, such as which cards to hold and which to discard. At least you have input. If you wait until evening, you can gamble at the Trotter Races.

We have found a few good restaurants in Bronxville and Pleasantville in Westchester. Then, it’s back in the car and back over the Throgs Neck Bridge to the safety of Long Island and Nassau County.

I am not looking forward to the day when gambling casinos get too close to Jericho. I always lose more than I bargained for.

As I said in the beginning, “Either you like to gamble or you don’t!”