A Las Vegas woman has won an eye-popping $1.3 million slot machine jackpot at Aliante casino, sparking an outpouring of feigned enthusiasm for her good fortune.
Lisa Schmitz’s exact win on April 25, 2015 was $1,273,260.29.
Onlookers at the scene of the jackpot win reported being overcome with a deep sense of envy about the windfall, but witnesses immediately “put on a happy face” as is the custom with large Las Vegas jackpots.
As word spread of the progressive win, legions of slot players shared the news while adeptly sublimating their deep-seated feelings of resentment.
“It’s not like I’m the only one who feels this way,” said one longtime gambler, “We’re all going through the motions, but screw her. Should’ve been me.”
The sentiment has also been echoed by casino employees, many of whom live on subsistence-level wages.
A dishwasher in the Aliante’s cafe, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “Imagine working for next to nothing in a place where these lucky bastards stroll out with over-sized checks all the time. Who needs a giant check like that? It’s gloating. So, you learn to fake being excited for them. You should see the slot attendants and cocktail waitresses, they’re masters at it. Of course, then they’ll go home and punch their kid’s stuffed unicorn in the face.”
The practice of pretending to be happy for large jackpot winners is not limited to gambling, of course.
“Synthetic happiness,” as it has been called by Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert, can result from being told an undeserving co-worker is promoted or that a friend one hasn’t talked to since high school has gotten engaged.
Gambling wins, however, seem to generate the greatest sense of umbrage.
Another slot player put it this way, “The bottom line is I deserve to win more than this woman. But you go along and act thrilled that somebody, anybody, won. It’s an unspoken rule. Manufactured, begrudging enthusiasm is the glue that holds us together as gamblers and as a society. So, yeah, I’m super happy for the winner Aliante! And I can’t wait to get home so I can share the news with my kid and his stuffed unicorn.”