Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
Before we retired, my wife was a bean counter for one of the largest accounting firms in the U.S. When it comes to numbers she is a bit fanatic. Now that we are traveling most of the year in our motorhome, she categorizes all of our expenditures and keeps constant track of how much we spend. That is all well and good, but one of these categories drives me nuts. She is always trying to keep camping expense in a profit position. The way she plans on doing this involves casino camping a few times each month. I know as an accountant she should understand odds more than most people, but she loves playing roulette. It is hard for me to argue with her on this point because at this time we are ahead. Applying her roulette winnings to the camping expense column we have an average camping cost of less than two dollars a night so far this year. My point is that it can go the other way at any time. She insists she has a system that will cap our losses. How can I convince her that in the end, the house always wins?
--Chipping away at expenses in Laughlin
Let’s break this down a bit. The house does not always win. There are numerous casinos that offer overnight parking, many with free hookups. Most are more quiet than Walmart, have security, and welcome travelers. It’s a win-win situation as long as you don’t go inside. Another way to look at it is entertainment. If you go inside and set your gambling limit at your camping savings, you break even. You don’t explain your wife’s plan on capping her losses; I assume it is similar to my point of breaking even.
Casinos are popping up everywhere. There are several websites that offer updated information on those that extend the welcome mat to those looking for overnight parking. They each have a different set of rules. Some expect you to come in and sign up for a Player’s Club Card, but most just direct you to an RV parking area. In your wife’s defense, roulette seems to be the best odds of any gaming. If she just plays black and red she would have just less than a 50-50 chance. I don’t think the odds get any better than that; it’s all downhill from there.
I agree with you in the fact that eventually the house always wins, because most people don’t know when to fold’em, know when to walk away, or know when to run. However, I get the impression your wife has her own little system. It sounds like she enjoys playing, enjoys calculating her wins and losses against her camping expenses, and seems to think she will cap her losses if camping gets to be more expensive spinning the wheel than not. I have termed trying to find a campground opening in the reservation system, “Campground Bingo.” This puts a new spin on that term.
I wouldn’t worry too much about your wife’s gambling habit unless she insists on casino camping every night, or gets addicted to wheeling and dealing so much she forgets about her cap system. There is one other downside. When she comes back to the RV she will smell like smoke and it isn’t from a campfire.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink