Monday, November 26, 2007

That Tribal Leadering sounds like a good gig, if you can get it...

Each of the tribe's almost 3,400 members receives about $120,000 annually in profits from Seminole enterprises, mostly casinos. However, since 2000, Tribal Council members have spent more than $280 million from discretionary funds they control on travel, lavish homes, luxury vehicles, boxing rings, basketball courts and even cosmetic surgery, the newspaper said.
Wrap your head around that one for a moment (I mean, after you get off the phone with the lawyer about suing your parents for not being Seminoles.) These casinos are bringing in enough money to give $120k to every man, woman, and stray dog in the Seminole tribe, reinvest in the business, buy other businesses, and still have the dough left over to embezzle almost $300 million worth of airline tickets and nose jobs. Unglaublich! That, my friends, is a whole lotta Bingo.

Will one of you that enjoys losing money in games of chance explain this? I want in on this racket somehow; there seems to be a lot of money in teaching folks probability and statistics the hard way.

(Yesterday a young man bought something like twenty scratch-off tickets. "With this many, I have to win!" he said. I gently explained to him that if he bought every single scratch-off ticket printed, he would still lose money. "No way!" he replied, "There'd have to be the jackpot ticket in there somewhere!" *Sigh*.)

14 comments:

Say said...

"Will one of you that enjoys losing money in games of chance explain this?"

Easy: volume. They have a small advantage in most games and large advantages in some games. Even when you 'win', they don't pay you full odds (e.g., in roulette you have 1:37 shot at hitting your number but the payout is only 35 times - when you win, you lose. When you lose, you're even money).

-SayUncle

comatus said...

My late mother just met the Govt drop-of-blood definition to collect as an Ojibwa. I briefly turned over the idea of holding her failure to do that against her; then last year I spent some time in one of the tribal homelands and realized that, as a prosperous tribalist, I'd by definition be working in a casino. Some years ago, during a (not-brief-enough) stint as a manager in a federal venture, the one guy I had to fire descended to such a state that he had to move to Vegas and...work in a casino.

So the downshot of the oppression of my mother's people is that I get to paddle my canoe, hike hunt and run nekkid in the woods, and pontificate by moonlight on the depths of my native heritage, while those who actually live the life get to deal cards and hustle tourists. There were some tough years, sure, but I don't think Mom lost the culture war.

Marko said...

And remember, we don't call them "Native Americans" anymore. It's "Casino-Owning Americans."

Breda said...

C, just for future reference, what woods are you referring to? We like to hike occasionally and, wow, would that ever be awkward.

phlegmfatale said...

you run nekkid in the woods, comatus? If I didn't already, I'd love you now.

Tam - there's an amazing article that really struck a chord which Time magazine published in 2002 - it's riveting reading and depressing, at that. http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101021216/ Sorry - don't know how to embed the link, but it's eye-opening, to say the least. The tribal administrators of the funds have a vested interest in NOT recognizing relatives with which to share the booty. Also, there are apparently many many tribe members of the various nations who live in abject poverty because of dissonance with the fund administrators. Not surprising to hear about another group of humans who are not above politicking/manipulation, though.

BryanP said...

It's "Casino-Owning Americans."

*snort*

Yes, and they're no longer "handicapped" or "disabled." They're "The Conveniently Parked."

comatus said...

phlegmmy, not in this damn weather. There's a reason my ancestors traded furs. This long scandal looks like a perfect storm of bad administration and accumulated human weakness, except I'll grant the (American) white man this much: in the Old World, when cultures clashed, your choices were, exactly, flight, slavery or death (some days, all 3). This still applied in Yerp in 1946, and 'might could again.' The concept of gradually melding, re-educating, improving, and taking care of a dispossessed people, however wrong-headedly, cruelly or corruptly carried out, is practically unique. You might say white America treated the Indians better than Rome treated the Greeks. That, and despite Hollywood talk, in practice almost nobody was too proud to intermarry, late in the season.

The gambling thing, I still don't get.

TBeck said...

No wonder Ward Churchill wanted in so badly.

There's also a certain irony to the reservations selling cheap cigarettes to the White Man. What comes around...

TBeck said...

Neal Boortz said it best when he described a lottery as being a tax on people who are bad at math. I pay about four bucks a week in taxes, but I'm also pretty good at math. Go figure.

Gregg said...

tbeck,
Uhhhmmmm, tobacco was introduced to the "white" man by the indigenous people of the "Americas". Thus, I'm unsure of how you meant your comment about them selling cheap cigarettes. Admittedly, they first sold us pipe tobacco and primitive cigars, so the quality has gone downhill, but other than that not much has changed.

Anonymous said...

It's no different way up here in Saskatchewan. The big man in the Indian casino business ran up half a million in expenses while he was flying by Concorde.
http://www.taxpayer.com/main/news.php?news_id=1862

Jack

TBeck said...

I meant that instead of the gubmint selling them whiskey now the reservations get to enable our bad habits instead. There's a certain justice to it.

Jeff said...

IIRC, the average slot machine was pulling in $200k at the Arizona casino I worked security at, and that was with the programing to give back 90% Can't remember if that was weekly or monthly though.

perlhaqr said...

Gambling is a tax on people who can't do math.