Using Arcade Games to Teach My Daughter About Gambling

I am writing this as my daughter skates around the local roller rink. There was a time when she would bring $5 with her and blow it all on the arcade games. After many failed attempts to grab the stuffed animal or put the ball in the right slot I think she’s learned the value […]

GamblingI am writing this as my daughter skates around the local roller rink. There was a time when she would bring $5 with her and blow it all on the arcade games. After many failed attempts to grab the stuffed animal or put the ball in the right slot I think she’s learned the value of a dollar – and that most gambles don’t pay out.

Tickets are the real reward here and they don’t get you very much. Each one is worth a penny at the “Stuff Shop” and the assortment of plastic trinkets is vast. Spider Rings are worth 5 tickets, erasers of every shape and size are 25, and miniature bags of Silly Bands (remember those) will cost you 250. These knickknacks are not just expensive, they are the loss-leaders that get us to spend money on games of chance.

She could win big by gambling on the Big Bass Wheel, which costs a dollar for each spin. The jackpot is in a 3 inch area on a 6 foot cylinder surrounded by other ticket values from 4 to 100. The chances are good that you will walk away with 75 tickets or less for every dollar spun. Net loss? 25 cents.

Games Of Chance are mathematical in nature with random results that can’t be predicted or manipulated (without cheating, that is). Even the board game Candyland has a predetermined winner with no chance of the players influencing the outcome. Pick a card, move to that color square, pick another card, move again. No skill or strategy is involved.

However, sometimes the reward is too tempting to resist. We see this all the time with the Lottery. When a jackpot reaches into the hundred million dollar range everyone and their sister goes out to buy a ticket. I’m intrigued by this behavior because the chances of picking the right lottery numbers are the same whether the jackpot is one million or 500 million.

There are only so many combinations possible for five white balls and a bonus ball: 1 in 175,223,510 for Powerball and 1 in 258,890,850 for MegaMillions. Because we can’t influence the outcome our chances of losing to the Powerball are 175,223,509 in 175,223,510. That’s a lesson most people don’t learn about gambling until it’s too late.

I prefer playing Ice Ball because the outcome relies on skill instead of luck. The payout is still small but you have some control over the final result. However, the odds still don’t work in our favor when it costs 50 cents to win 20-25 tickets. Trust me, I’ve tested this theory out a few times – the net result is almost always a loss.

My daughter and I have learned that “the house always wins”, but we will still drop quarters in their slots from time-to-time. Games are meant to be exciting and fun, especially when playing with a friend. It is more rewarding to see my daughter get the high score on Mini Hoops than to receive a few perforated tickets.

It’s been a year since my daughter has spent her own money on these games. She also stopped asking me for money because of the lecture that always comes as I open my wallet. Yes, it can be a buzzkill but I’d rather she learn about gambling from me than from Harrah’s.

 

What unusual prop or lesson have you used to teach your kid the value of a dollar?

 

  • Published On : 3 months ago on June 17, 2017
  • Author By :
  • Last Updated : June 26, 2017 @ 7:29 am
  • In The Categories Of : Credit, Debt, Loan
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