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Mark Pilarski Columns

“Money Plays,” or at least it should

I walked up to a blackjack game, put $100 in the betting circle, and said “money plays.” The dealer said I had to change it into chips. I chose not to proceed with the wager. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Donald P.

Wow, Donald, that would come as a big surprise to me, too. In the seven joints where I worked, your money could play. Typically, the dealer shouts out, “money plays,” and that’s that.

I can’t speak for some casino in eastern Iowa, or a Native American casino in California whose rules tell dealers to change cash into chips, but I believe what you experienced was out of the ordinary.

The reason behind the cash to chip exchange is that the casino wants to create a fantasy land experience for its patrons. By doing so, Donald, it devalues your money by having you bet chips instead of legal tender.Think of the illusory nicknames a casino chip has. A $5 chip is a “nickel” and a $25 chip a “quarter.” Betting with your own hard-earned moolah makes you realize its genuine value.

When forced to turn your bankroll into chips, you should always spend that extra moment and cautiously think about the exchange. You must always treat chips as hard-earned cash.

Do you Twitter, and if so, anything regarding gambling? Tim M.

Tim emailed me this question last April, and my dismissive reply was that whoever subscribed to my tweet stream would quickly notice that my contributions to the twitosphere would be mostly food related. However, after a persuasive commencement speech from Twitter CEO Dick Costolo at my son’s graduation from the University of Michigan (@umich), I have decided to reconsider opting in to this social messaging movement and start microblogging.

So, fellow Tweeple, I will keep my tweets strictly about casino gaming, and steer clear from showing off an embarrassing pic of my buffet plate at the Mirage in LV. Then, hopefully, my tweets can be your source for gambling news/views/tips and some occasional industry sarcasm. Follow me @markpilarski.

Sports betting is not allowed here in MS. Can I legally call a friend of mine in NV, and have him place an occasional wager for me, with him getting a little piece of the action if I win? Scott F.

I have, well actually, you should have two concerns. With legalized internet gambling in its earliest, murkiest stage, wiring money or placing sports bets outside of Nevada still violates the Interstate Wire Act (18 U.S.C. 1084). This code provides criminal penalties to anyone engaging in the business of betting when using a wire communication facility for the transmission of interstate or foreign commerce of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest.

Correspondingly, called “messenger betting,” under existing NV law, it is illegal to pay someone to place a bet for you, even if it’s a little kick-back from winning action.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week:The house doesn’t beat the player. It just gives him the opportunity to beat himself.” – Nick “the Greek” Dandalos