Casino Visits as a Social Opportunity

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Myself with a few of my favorite slot people
Myself with a few of my favorite slot people

My early casino visits 20 years ago were probably not uncommon for many gamblers – they were often solo trips, usually time away from others to decompress, and have fun playing the slots or on occasion Blackjack.

I vividly remember a senior week in college trip to Mohegan Sun, where I gambled with a couple of friends at Blackjack and they were mildly surprised that I already had some awareness of what I was doing.

I had a kinship in casinos with my mom, who would often enjoy my presence with her at the casino, given my dad (and later, my partner) really aren’t gamblers. But even then, we’d often enter a casino space, go our own directions, and check in periodically.

Given how my earlier casino experiences went, I never really saw casinos as a social opportunity, aside from when I’d take non-gambling visits for food or destination activities like concerts with friends.

That changed when I discovered the online slot community, and in particular when I joined Brian Christopher’s fan club, The Rudies. While I had previously made friends online that I had later met in person, it was the slot community that really was transformative for me.

For the first time, I began meeting up with people who shared my love of casinos and gambling, but we also would engage in other activities together as well, whether it be meeting for meals, attending shows, or even just hanging out and conversing about various topics.

I’ve joined members of the community for trying authentic Maryland crab cakes, driving the Red Rock scenic route and visiting the Hoover Dam, going on cruises and participating in excursions, and meeting in various parts of the country for celebrations and time together.

I didn’t expect that becoming part of the slots community would lead to some of the most important and enduring friendships of my life, but it has. And in the process, it’s even taken a bit of the emphasis off of gambling when visiting the casino. 

In that way, it’s helped me develop a more balanced approach to casino visits, even when I still do the trips to local casinos on my own.

Casinos seem to have leaned into this a bit, aided by the need to space out machines during the pandemic. Banks of machines previously more tightly placed together are now more spaced out, leaving more room for friends and family to join you. 

Some slots are set up with wider benches where two people can sit together. I’ve even noticed players are a bit more social at machines nowadays, saying hello and rooting each other on more frequently than I recall seeing in the past.

In some way I feel like this was always more historically the domain of table games, but over time the social connection around slots has grown. But overall, slots have become less an isolating activity that one does on their own, and more one that friends with a similar interest can do together. And in the process it forges friendships and connections with people all over the world.

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