There are three things to remember about a gambling casino like 토토사이트:

  1. It’s all about the money.
  2. It’s all about the money.
  3. It’s all about the money.

Oh, and one other important thing to remember: It’s all about the money.

I’m not talking about the price of a hotel room or dinner. Folks like Buck and me who are gawking, non-gambling tourists are not the market. The key is to get susceptible people to buy into the fantasy that they can beat the house odds consistently and become winners.

I haven’t decided yet if I am a spoilsport, killjoy, hypocrite or just a homebody. Most likely a combination of all of the above swirled up in the blender of my Southern Baptist childhood. I’m still trying to make sense of my negative visceral reaction to this; my first and most likely only, visit a casino hotel.

One thing I learned, for sure, for sure: It ain’t for me.

In the summer of 2007, my husband, Buck, and I drove the short distance from Pensacola, Florida to Biloxi, Mississippi. It was our first trip westerly past Mobile, Alabama since before Hurricane Ivan devastated the Gulf coastline in September 2004. Other than a quick walkthrough of a smoky casino in Auckland, New Zealand back in 1998, this was our first casino experience. Neither of us gambles — except in the stock market, which I guess is either the world’s biggest auction or biggest game of chance.

But hey, we’ve seen James Bond movies. We know that casinos are glamorous dens inhabited by fabulously wealthy sheiks, Texas oilmen, and gorgeous movie stars, where international men of mystery slink about in shadowy corners, flashing diamond-encrusted cuff links. So we thought our travel education must be incomplete and decided to drive the two hours over to Biloxi’s Beau Rivage, which, according to their publicity package, is where the “spirit and excitement of the French Riviera blend with the traditional elegance and comfort of the American South.”

Uh-huh.

We arrive at about 3:30 in the afternoon. The 29 story building is a dramatic backdrop for a huge bubbling fountain surrounded by gorgeous gardens designed with impeccably trimmed English Boxwoods, cone-shaped evergreens and thousands of hot pink pansies. A state-of-the-art computerized slide show marquee lets us know that we have arrived at a temple of The Good Life.

Among the buildings just across the street is a closed gas station rusting out with the roof over the pumps hanging at a crazy angle, a souvenir of Hurricane Ivan. Next to it is a closed-down apartment building. It’s up for sale, wind-blown trash-collecting along one wall, boarded up window and door openings all along the back wall.

But I digress. Back to The Good Life. A valet drives away in our car, while a bellman puts our luggage on a rolling cart, explaining that it will be in storage until we get into our room, at which time we can call for it to be delivered.

Before we can fully digest the meaning of his words, grand glass doors are opened to sweep us into the lobby, a huge atrium filled with what looks like several hundred thousand blue hydrangeas in full, exquisite, damn near surrealistic, bloom. Intricate tile mosaics on the floor are interspersed with colorfully designed floral carpets. We follow the growing throng to the bank of check-in counters.

Light dawns. When (if ever) we arrive in our room, we will call for our luggage to be delivered.

The waiting crowd looks for all the world like a bunch of refugees from Central Casting. There’s a group of middle-aged nurses checking in for a convention and some guys in polo shirts that I immediately typecast as “golfers”. One fellow wearing a bright tropical shirt, straw hat, and clenching a mercifully unlit cigar in his mouth had the reddest, most bulbous nose and bleariest eyes I had ever seen. And elderly folks, lots of them, grimly leaning on walkers or listing heavily to one side as they lurched forward.

Buck and I saw that we had two choices: wait it out, or retrieve our luggage and car and drive two hours back home. We were made of sterner stuff than to give up so quickly on The Good Life. So, we settled into a Zen-like meditation state, moving inch by long inch until our number came up and we were granted the room key to paradise.

After settling in, we went exploring.

The lobby architecture is over-the-top opulent. Glossy shops in the promenade, including Tommy Bahama, DKNY, The Jewelry Box, Bally, and more, convey a message: “This can all be yours.” This area has the only gourmet coffee shop I’ve ever seen where you can get a shot (or two or three) of whiskey or liqueur with your morning latte, and where the bonhomie is laid on with a feel-good trowel. Step right up, my friends, step right up.

There is a convention center, the ubiquitous spa, a gleaming, largely unused fitness center, an outdoor pool complex, a large theatre for concerts and other shows, three top-of-the-line restaurants, and numerous other restaurants, buffets, cafes, and bars.  There’s an insidious little twist at the end of the shopping promenade. It’s a 3,000 square foot Arcade, filled with sophisticated video games, the perfect venue to inculcate the 10 and under set into the joys of electronic gamesmanship.

And the people flock to it, whether by car, tour bus, and bicycle or on foot. They come.

The casino itself is seamlessly linked to other parts of the complex. It is the beating, smoking heart, and when you cross the purple-jacketed threshold of security officers and enter into the casino environs, the mood darkens.

The central chamber is an enormous room filled with electronic slot machines, a twenty-first-century version of the old one-armed bandit. Women and men sit in a haze of cigarette smoke, seemingly in a trance, a stack of dollar bills in one hand, cigarette or glass of booze in the other, grimly punching buttons. Their fluorescent casino pallor labels them as regulars. There is a constant weird noise. It is a layer of piped-in oldies soft rock at the top of the strata, underpinned by bubbling up layers of electronic game sounds. I feel as though I am on the set of a Star Trek The Next Generation set, one where The Borg has gotten people into pods and is gradually turning them into a hive.

The communal mind, with its hive-like humming sound, made me want to run.

Add to this picture a top note of heavy security. Everywhere you look, someone seems to be observing you. Someone with a headset, wireless microphone and at least two cell phone/radio devices hooked on their belts in the small of their back.

Are we having fun yet?

Buck and I stayed for dinner and then walked quickly back through the casino to the hotel elevators, escaping to our room. Arising while it was still dark, we checked out a day early and high-tailed it for Pensacola, back to our off-the-grid retreat in the piney woods, knowing we had, indeed, found The Good Life.

Source: Personal visit. I should add, that if you enjoy casino gambling, I can’t imagine that you would go wrong by visiting the Beau Rivage or other casino hotels in Biloxi. I have lots of friends in Pensacola who have tons of fun there. Different strokes for different folks!