COVID-19 and Risk

Las Vegas reopened over the weekend, and naturally, the casino floors were packed. This is shocking behavior considering how well the average casino gambler understands odds.

While the casino gamblers are acting like they’ve never even heard of COVID-19, or heard of internet betting, they’ve decided that feeding their debilitating gambling addiction at the risk of getting a disease, that most probably think is a hoax to begin with, is quite alright with them. Despite showing no signs of calculating the risk or understanding the consequences, they’ve decided to let it ride. Like the turkey leading up to Thanksgiving, they have been fed and pampered, so nothing bad can happen to them.

Well, let’s not be turkeys. Let’s calculate the upside and the downside.

The upside is that you win some money, have some fun, and maybe get laid. In the process, you stick it to the man or own the libs and pretend the world is the same as it’s ever been.

The downside is you get a treacherous, life-threatening disease that even patients with “mild” symptoms say is the worst pain of their lives. And lose $100 at Keno in the process. And your sex drought continues.

I love gambling as much as the next guy, but this seems like a lopsided bet.

Let’s say your average night out at the casino or concert costs $250, and your risk of getting COVID is 1%. Now, let’s say you would pay $100,000 to get rid of the disease because of the risk of death and the pain and suffering. In essence, the concert ticket no longer costs $250 but actually $1,250. Would you still go to the concert?

Now, let’s say it’s 2020 and you can watch or listen to every song played live in history, or you can go on an app and play blackjack with a real, live dealer. But you don’t have to suck in cigarette smoke or pay $25 for a beer.

What is the upside of going to the casino now?

I certainly understand that people are lonely and that the physical world is incredible. By all means, I want to go out to a nice restaurant and throw back a ribeye and wash it down with some overpriced Manhattans. But you should estimate the risks involved thoughtfully.

This is one of the things that frustrates me the most with people who don’t follow social distance guidelines or wear a mask. What do you gain by standing 3 feet away from me instead of 7 feet? The answer is nothing. What do you risk? Well, your life. So…

and …


Pascal’s wager states that you should believe in God because if you do or don’t and God isn’t real, who cares? But if you do or don’t and God is real, the consequences are eternal. So it behooves you to believe it.

The same is true today with COVID. Yes, you will have to take “risks” in some instances, but calculate them. Make sure you understand the upside and downside risks, particularly when those risks are one-sided.


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