slot machine photo(1)

I admit it… I LOVE to gamble; to play the slot machines at the casino.  It is one of my wicked vices. (I’ll bet you are all shocked to hear such an admission, which I have been consciously keeping from you so as not to tarnish my good image.)

It goes back to the days when I was a young adult.  My mother and my brother loved it when I took them to a casino in a nearby state.  We would take a day trip sponsored by a local bus company, and for a mere $25 fee, we would get a coupon for a free buffet and a coupon for $25 in gambling money.  As my mother was extremely frugal, this deal was enticing to her, and it allowed the three of us to have a nice day together.  My brother, who was severely developmentally delayed, legally blind, deaf, and schizophrenic, loved the long ride on the bus, to eat at the buffet where he could choose all of his favorite foods, and to enjoy all of the bright lights. But his favorite thing to do was to play a martian slot machine.  In his schizophrenic haze, he thought of himself as an alien, so he felt somewhat vindicated to see a slot machine “of his people.”  His $25 in free gambling money would last for hours as he would always bid the  minimum, 5 cents.  Every time the symbols on the machine matched, aliens would swoop down to bring them into their spaceship.  With his eyes pressed close to the machine to see, my brother joyfully whooped and hollered every time that happened.The money he won was secondary. He was in his “element”, something which he rarely felt elsewhere. Plus,my brother loved Diet Coke,and he could get all of the Diet Coke he wanted free. (We had purchased a refillable plastic cup one time, and my mother held onto it like gold…washing it and bringing it to every visit to the casino….for years my brother was thrilled to get free soda!)

My mom would always cash in her $25 gambling voucher.  She did not believe in gambling and preferred to take the money in cash, which to her meant a great day out with a free trip and buffet.  Her joy over a great bargain was greater than her playful spirit. She was certain that the machines were fixed, and that they “let you win” in the beginning, and then, when your money was gone, you would put in more and more, never winning again. Although I thought this idea was ludicrous, I have to admit that, over the years, I have seen this happen time and time again…those crafty slot machines!!!!  Regardless, I LOVED to play the slots. I would have to sneak away from my mom because when my $25 voucher ran out, (as it ALWAYS did,) I would play my own money.

And so it was yesterday, when I took a similar bus trip with the recreation group of adults with disabilities that I coordinate.  (After all, just because they have a disability doesn’t mean they should be excluded from loosing their money at the casino like the rest of us!)  It was during that trip that I lost all of my money.  As the last few cents dwindled away in the slot machine, I felt a sick feeling in my stomach.  I was so sure I was going to win!  It was FATE for me to win, because I really needed the money and therefore God could work his “magic” and allow my machine to his the jackpot, therefore getting me out of debt.  Isn’t that the way God works?  Unfortunately not…

As my money ran out, I sat there sad, disappointed, and frantic. What would you all THINK of me? How was I going to buy lunch for the rest of the week?  How could I have been so STUPID?!?!?! All my money was gone…

It is a good thing I only brought $20 with which to gamble…



The Apple Tree: Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane
Authored by Linda Petersen
The link to the book:


Comments on: "I Lost All of My Money at the Casino :(" (117)

  1. Oh, dear heart, the house ALWAYS WINS! But, at least you didn’t run to an ATM and increase your losses…SOME people (I’ve heard) have been known to do that! 🙂

  2. You are THE BEST!

  3. You had me going for a moment there at the end:-) Great post, and a smiley clever ending – thank you!

  4. Well I was worried there for a moment! Should have known you wouldnt blow your life savings…. what great memories for you and what a great day for your brother..

    • I especially remember how much he enjoyed that particular machine. In fact, when I do play, I search that machine out and play it just for nostalgic reasons.

  5. 1wanderingtruthseeker said:

    My mother loves to gamble the slots too. I’m more like your Mom. I go for the food, but I love to see mt mother have vun.

  6. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez said:

    My dad had few rules for us kids and in that short list was, “No gambling.” My brother visited a friend and they played pool. They began playing for pennies just to see who was ahead at the end of the game. My dad walked in and flew into a rage that was not pretty. Good thing you are not our sister. :^)

  7. We are eternal optimists we always believe we can win right up to the last second when we see we have in fact lost everything. It’s probably how we get through life! Very enjoyable. I hope all the others did not suffer the same fate, bit of a miserable journey home.

  8. Ha! You’re a big spender/gambler! I tend not to gamble because I hate losing my money like that and because I don’t really have the money for gambling. It’s OK to go to the casino and spend $20 if that’s what you love to do.

  9. Why are we always so sure that we will win as we walk through the doors? We envision the lights and sirens going off to signify the big win and how we’ll spend it. Yet i have not once had the opportunity to walk out with more money than I went in with just playing the slots. Creatures of habit I suppose.

  10. How could this possibly tarnish your reputation? Here’s what I read:

    I spent $20 today on a day trip with friends – we had lunch and hours of entertainment – we hoped, we prayed, we laughed, we cried – a good time was had by all –


    I once got a “coupon” for $20 at the local casino – I went and played the penny machines and since it was also 10x points day, I racked up enough points for free lunch and $25 back in cash – at the end of the day, I got paid $5 to take a “Mommy’s Day Out” –


    • Thank you for putting a positive spin on it. That is actually the way I feel…had a great day, ate a great buffet, spent time with friends, and had a great bus ride through the countryside. Who could ask for more than that for $20….

      • My grandfather was a minister – their family didn’t play any type of card games, at all, because they were used for gambling…
        Limited stakes gambling came to our state in the 90’s and while I’ve seen and heard tales of ruin and misfortune, I still believe the deals to be had regarding coupons and meals can make it a fun bargain day’s entertainment, if you only see it as such! 🙂

        And personally, as for bang for your buck, or hourly expense of entertainment, the casino does better, for longer than the movie theater does – (unless you sneak in your own snacks…)


      • That was my only regret…that the casino didn’t have hot buttered popcorn. On the plus side, I got all the free Diet Coke I could drink, and I probably drank at least $20 worth!

      • 🙂
        I admit that when I started work at a huge company, and my boss/team went out every Thursday evening after work to the local tavern to have a ‘team building’ meeting, I was shocked that I didn’t get a beer for a $1 tip!
        (The only evening outs I had had in years was going for free buffet, and some penny playing while drinking free beers for a $1 tip…LOL
        After the first ‘team building’ meeting, I wondered how anyone could afford going to a bar?!?

  11. oh my goodness, the lights and sounds are too fun to pass up! I loved playing slot machines in my early 20’s. I had dreams I won Quartermania (the big jackpot in Tahoe)…

    sorry you lost your money. 😦 That’s not a good feeling.

  12. billierard said:

    Haha, I always used to walk out with more money than I went in with, but my brother always used to lose all his on the more expensive machines. However, I was a kid, and I only used to play for small money. I always took in a small amount of money, from £2 to £5, and came out with about £1 more than I started with. I felt like I was rich!

    • I was so excited when they came out with penny machines. But if you look closer, you have to play 50 pennies each time! NOT fair! I’d rather take my chance with a quarter in the regular machine!

      • billierard said:

        Where I went there was loads of different machines. In a few places, there were ones where you could just play with one penny. Mostly it was machines where you had to play with 2p at a time, and there was also ones where you had to play with 10p. 🙂

      • That’s my kind of place! I could play one penny all day on my $20.

  13. Every time I go to the casino, I see thousands. You are in good company!

  14. I’ve been to a casino twice in my life and the thing I remember most was the yummy choclate cheesecake they had there. We had fun and I spent ten dollars in gambling but we were there for hours. I don’t feel we did anyyhing wrong. Better than those stupid lottery tickets that you sctatch off and throw away.

  15. leafstrewngirl said:

    You have such a lovely blog, and you inspire so many. Thank you!

  16. I once had a few with small children, and there were casinos on the main road new their house that they passed by often. The kids were entranced by the the lights and fanciful architecture, and hoopla, so of course they wanted to go there. They asked their dad, “What’s that place?!” He answered, “The devil lives there.”

    Your story could be a metaphor for so many situations in life. If you are smart and prepared, you can have a nice swim in the same water where others are drowning.
    (I hope that doesn’t sound morbid)…

  17. There are very few games that are in the gambler’s favor. If you play the blackjack table you might make some money.

    At the very least you didn’t lose much. That stuff can be addictive.

  18. My mom and I stopped by a casino one night we had an overnight pit stop while on a trip delivering horses (we had already dropped them off…they weren’t still in the trailer). Yes, we pulled a horse trailer into the casino parking lot…and yes, they all stared. We got ourselves set up, and then just wandered around, shy, awkward, and not knowing what we were doing. We’d poke each other and say, “you do that one”, “no, you do it first…” We were so out of our element and so afraid to step out of it, that we kind of missed what could have been some awesome fun. But…we kept our money and went to the mall the next morning before we left!

  19. Way to go! I’m glad you had a wonderful time even if you lost everything. LOL

  20. You crack me up. Bravo!!

  21. You are smart and you almost got me with your trolling. My mum’s like you, when we went to Niagra falls, she only spent 20 bucks on the casino. But, she actually got back $10.

  22. I love your stories, your humor and your honesty. I love the endearing way you look at your brother’s challenges with an acceptance and love for who he is. $20.00 – too funny!

  23. It is vey wise of you to set a limit…and not break the resolution! Those darn machines have been the ruin of many over here…I personally detest them…but your storyy was really very funny, I enjoyed it immensely.

  24. I live in Nevada, between Reno and Vegas. I hear ya. 🙂

  25. Did all that diet Coke give your brother a brain tumor? They seem to be all the rage since Nutrasweet came out.

  26. I love that last line—gambling is ok, as long as you set a limit AND stick to it 🙂

  27. Sorry for your loss! .I just can’t gamble my $ …even though some win, most DON’T!

  28. […] was reading through some blogs and this one in particular sparked my memories about my Grandmother, […]

  29. I can see why your Mom liked that deal– sounds like a blast, and I am a slave to bargains! 🙂

  30. I do exactly the same when it come’s to slot machines! xo

  31. I wouldn’t have guessed you to be the casino type. I actually think its quite amusing. Whatever gives us that quick rush is okay. It’s different for all of us, I sure wish that Ted light was flashing at the top of your slot machine! Maybe next time 😉

  32. I once posted a picture on Facebook that infuriated my mother! It was a picture of her completely absorbed in slots and I had the kids sneak up behind her and give a thumbs up. The caption read “How nice of mom to come spend quality time with the kids. They are really enjoying their time together”. I got her good 😉

  33. My favorite are the 2-cent machines – $20 goes a long way with those! 😀

  34. I love your writing! I used to live near Las Vegas (was never a gambler – learned young betting matchsticks and pennies with my brother that if I bet, I don’t win – divine protection maybe?). You make me laugh out loud sometimes, which is EXCELLENT! Thank you!!!

  35. What fun you all had! Loved the way you present it. For a moment I thought you lost your life savings, haha…

  36. Thanks for the read! I look forward to reading your blog!

  37. Hello there! I want to say that I enjoyed this post of yours. $20 may not be a lot to some people but for some others may be the difference to seeing through a day or two. Anyway, I think it’s very nice that you organised a trip out for the recreation group. Everyone deserves to have a good time 😉

  38. What a great story. When i was little, My aunts and their friends would go to Atlantic city and spend the day. One always came home with the $20! She “borrowed” from her sisters! It was so funny. I think your day was wonderful! You brought happiness to a lot of people and helped the economy by losing 20 bucks!
    Think of it this way, you would have spent just as much money buying a couple of happy meals or a few lattes at Starbucks! And the fun would have been over in half an hour! Beautiful story! ~maria

  39. Great ending:). That’s my kind of gambling, but I admit sometimes I will pull another $20 out of the ATM, because I’m certain I can win if I just try again. Practice makes perfect right?

  40. How amazing that you found a place for your brother, you and your mom to hang out! Spawning gambling a gambling addiction, that’s a whole ‘nother story, :0p

    It’s difficult for most people to understand how hard it is to take people with special needs out, for their enjoyment, not just our own. They are real people too, if different. I doubt I would have ever thought of a casino. What a fun experience!

  41. If you’ve read my blog you know I have many addictions. I use to go to Atlantic city with my parents when it was a run down resort town. They built the casinos while I was in prison and when I came home I won free tickets to a Brooks &Dunn concert. Now let me preface what I’m about to say with this, it doesn’t take a smart guy to end up battling addiction for 25+ years but when I walked into the casino and seen the chandeliers and carpet along with the “free” buffet and “free” concert, I knew it wasn’t a place that gave away money. Everything about the casino is designed to separate you from your money including the “free” things. I didnt gamble but did enjoy the show and buffet ,so the way I figure it I’m ahead of the game! Fourth row tickets to a concert=200$ easy, buffet for two =30$ not giving a guy named Trump my money= priceless !

    • Good for you! My husband knows many people who get “comped” free hotel room nights and things like that. I know they are only “comped” things because they spend a lot of money when they get there. I’m glad I only get “comped” free Diet Coke.

      • Please don’t get me wrong it may be the only addiction I don’t have but lucky for me this one passed me by lol

      • Addictions are funny things. I don’t really have any, (unless you count buttered popcorn.) I know that for people who have strong addictions, they trump everything else. We fostered 18 children whose parents were so addicted to drugs that that could not stay drug free for 6 weeks. (If they had negative drug tests for 6 weeks they could get their children back.) In all 18 cases, they chose drugs over their own children. That kind of addiction is powerful…

      • Well it really is and I’m glad I never had to make those kind of choices but addictions are nasty diseases.

  42. Gambling is a game you never truly win :/

  43. I love watching people play slots, though I don’t play it myself. $20 for an evening of fun, dinner and a little excitement is ok in my book. 🙂

  44. Love your post! I try to stay away from gambling I could become addicted! And I’m sure the house always wins.

  45. First of all, thanks for visiting my site. Secondly, this article fit so well with what I have been writing. I was so glad to see you had the good sense to set a firm limit, but as you know, for some people this is the demon they fight. It is a sin that so easily besets them and they do gamble away food money, rent, and so on. Most people have at least one demon they have to stay on guard for. It is good to talk of these things, because God wants to help us get back in the position of control. Praise God for his love and mercy!

    • I agree completely, I have empathy for those who sit there and put money in and in and in…some carrying oxygen tanks, no teeth, stringy hair, smoking…
      Addictions are horrible, and I am so glad I have never enjoyed drinking or smoking because I realize it is SOOOO hard to quit.

  46. mcd555 said:

    You’re lucky! You had fun for the money you lost! But that’s not a gamble yet!

    You know what real compulsive gambling could lead to!

  47. I live in Hawai’i which is one of only two states (the other being Utah) that has no legal gambling at all. However, where there is a will, there is a way. We have a huge following for illegal gambling on fighting chickens, football, bingo, etc. People have been trying to get a state lottery for years to no avail. I have mixed feelings about it. It certainly pulls a lot of revenue into the state that could go towards programs in education. But, we already have an high ratio of our population on welfare and buying lottery tickets can be addicting to the point of losing not only your own money, but the money received by the state for subsistence…a two-edged sword so to speak. I’ve only been to Vegas twice and it was a good deal of fun, but like you, I limited myself to $20 and at the end of the night, I no longer had the $20, but I had paid for my meal (no freebies in those day, unless you were a high-roller– I don’t think $20 qualified me), I had paid for my drinks, and had several hours of fun. So, I think in the long run it was worth it.

    • It’s so nice to hear from you from Hawaii. I’ve been there a few times, once on a wonderful trip I won on a tv game show, and once when I won a week’s rent of a condo. Both times were AWESOME…although my favorite island was Kauai.
      Regarding gambling, I guess people can find it anywhere. I don’t think I’d be betting on chicken fights…ugh!
      I think having fun for $20 is worth it. I do know I’ve created quite the controversy over gambling addiction. I guess I just have to say that my $20 in the machine should not entice anyone to gamble any more than my frozen wine cooler in the bathtub would entice anyone to become an alcoholic…

  48. You sound like me with the $20 limit…though I’ve seen my sister lose much, much more.

  49. Sharon said:

    I’m glad you can post honestly about such 🙂 it’s refreshing. I agree a fun outing when you can know and stay within your limits.

  50. Sorry if this comes through twice still learning. It’s good you can share honestly about something you could be misunderstood about. And sounds like a good days outing if kept within your limits!

  51. godanalytics said:

    Funny that your mom would take you gambling…but wouldn’t gamble because she didn’t believe in it…or something like that. That is the perfect picture of motherhood to me!!!

    • She took me on a cheap bus trip with a free buffet where she got $25 in cash back. To her it wasn’t gambling, it was a fun day out.

      • godanalytics said:

        Ha. Ha. I’ve never been much of a gambler…but I have “gambled” with the stock market in a big way…and lost A LOT! Grew up in a “strict” house…”cards” were even a no no. Hope you win big one day!

      • I hope I win big, too, but that’s kind of hard on penny machine! “Big” is $250! Although that IS big in my mind!

  52. I am glad you stick to your personal limit. My daughter turned 21 in October and wanted to go to the casino. We took $30 each and played the penny slots. We had a good time and when the money ran out we went home. At least we had a fun night out.

  53. Where can one get a good time on 20$ these days. Well spent, not too much losses.
    I loved to read the story of your brother.
    Love to all

  54. Sorry you lost all that money, gasp. I am giving you an award. Stop by my blog and pick up the Best Moment Award.

  55. funny, When my hubby and I used to go he would give me $50.00 for slots, and he liked poker. I’d lose it in the first 5 minutes 15 minutes tops. I would go look for him, sit and wait till he started winning, you do win at cards but it takes for ever. I’d take his winnings and go lose it at the slots. so on and so on. 🙂

  56. I thoroughly enjoyedh this story! Thank you!

  57. LOL 20 bucks…you don’t have a problem. You would have spent more than that out at a restaurant buying drinks or at a movie with popcorn. I have left 500 dollars poorer before on many occasion, and trust me…I envy your innocent fear of losing what are essentially pennies rather than paycheques.

  58. I up Catholic we would go to the feather parties where was gambling. I learned as a young kid that i never won anything.

    I’m glad you only lost twenty bucks. I’m in that spot too where I’m needing cash but it’s not coming. The best i can do it’s to stop my bad habit, which is spending.

  59. There is no sure way to win at slots and I know this well. I do enjoy a late night ride on empty roads and stop and get a coffee to drink on my half hour drive to the race track and the slots. The quiet drive is part of the experience. I”ll bring in $100.00 and wonder all over trying different machines. Sometimes I’ll score a couple hundred , but most times I will lose the hundred. I can usually last a couple hours and that’s fine because I want to leave before the morning traffic starts up.
    I do this a couple times a month so it’s a few hundred , no big deal for me. I figure if I can’t score with a hundred , 500 is not going to increase my chances any. I see so many people betting max and losing 5- 6 hundred at one machine they think is magical and is some how special. Yes it’s easy to see the out of control people losing large in there. I just shake head and when my last 20 is gone from the hundred I limit myself to , I am out the door and think maybe next time but I’ve still had my couple hours of play and losing 100 , I pretty well decided was gone before I walked in the door so I’m not leaving mad and have complete control. Also I leave my bank card at home and the credit card I carry is not set up for cash advances , just have it incase I have a break down with the car. I make sure that a hundred is all I spend. There actually are no real jackpots anymore with these newer machines , just chum change payouts , with maybe a few progresives that pay a large score but you need to play 10 bucks a spin and that’s out of my range.

    • I noticed that about no big pay offs anymore. Years ago if you match the three symbols you’d get a jackpot, now there are a lot of smaller amounts given. It makes it more interactive, but not much money…

  60. Guys on forums say there is no working roulette system, you
    can’t beat it in the long run, but i’m using bluehand roulette system for weeks and it earns me decent money everyday, maybe
    couple of weeks is not a long run, maybe i’m lucky

  61. Andrea Taylor said:

    I am so tired of going to the casino with a couple of hundred of dollars and leaving out with no money at all. I always win an put the money back in the machines plus more money, I don’t know how I will pay my mortgage and all my bills.

  62. It happens to the best of us. I went to Vegas earlier this year, and lost all of my five dollars in a whopping two minutes. My friend, much to my chagrin, won twenty on the same machine.

  63. You were smart to only bring $20 of “play” money. My mother’s family is from Las Vegas. They were there before gambling became such a big part of the economy. When I was little, and totally entranced with watching slot machines in use (I admit, I still love to watch people on the slot machines:), my grandmother used to say: “Do you see these beautiful rooms, the beautiful lights and decorations? People actually give their money to these establishments so they can make them even nicer.” Needless to say, she never gambled.

  64. That’s funny! My dear friend works in a casino. He says overall you will never win. Never. But if you’re going there for fun there’s nothing better.

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