Of all the ethnic groups and minorities that Las Vegas caters to, nothing is more obvious or blatant than the nonsense that goes on with casino marketing for Chinese New Year (CNY). I understand that casinos must market themselves to all demographics – but CNY just takes the prize for casino boot licking to one specific ethnic group.
Obviously CNY is a huge cultural celebration for these Chinese and other Asians. Part of that celebration for some Chinese involves coming to Las Vegas and gambling. Casinos roll out the red carpet to welcome Chinese visitors to their resorts.
Las Vegas casinos may act like it’s all about celebrating Chinese culture and history, but reality is that the Chinese gamble and many of them gamble big. Every casino executive in this city knows that CNY has the potential to be a huge win for the house.
Now imagine a group of a casino executives are meeting 6 months in advance to discuss and plan for CNY. At the start of the meeting the corporate “Diversity Compliance Officer” presents each executive with a list of Chinese gambling superstitions. The “DCO” stresses to each executive the importance of being familiar and aware of Chinese traditions and superstitions in regard to gaming. Now imagine the chuckling and laughing that probably would be going on as this list is assessed. CNY is a casino operators dream. Here you have a demographic that is for the most part upper middle class to wealthy, has high levels of education, loves to gamble, yet they tend to follow some of the most ridiculous superstitions when it comes to gambling.
So let’s examine some of the gambling superstitions that are so important in the Chinese culture. (These were found by a simple Internet search using Google)
1. The color red is considered lucky – Casinos do have a lot of red in them, now I know why!
2. Wear red underwear when gambling – Come on now, can I get a thong check on this one?
3. Females are luckier when gambling during their period – Whoa! Not even going there.
4. Do not enter a casino through its main entrance: Use a side entrance only to enter a casino – This sounds like it would get old after a while to use a side entrance over and over. What happens when valet parking?
5. Males and females should avoid sex before gambling – This one I need some help on. Is sex forbotten during the entire trip or just before a gambling session? Is there a waiting period after having sex before hitting the tables? Ex: Mr. Woo and gf have sex early the morning in their comped suite at Encore -- When would it be safe for Mr. Woo to play baccarat?
6. Do not gamble after you’ve just seen a monk or nun – I don’t think this will be a problem in LV.
7. White female table games dealers over the age of 50 are considered to be unlucky – I don’t know about this one, but if anything they are usually are grouchy and enjoy to see players go on losing streaks,
8. Do not gamble after you’ve just touched someone else’s shoulder while they’re gambling – I really have no opinion on this one.
9. Switch on all the lights in your home / hotel room before going out to gamble – Come on now. Talk about wasting energy.
10. Being an early winner is considered bad in that you will eventually be a big loser by the end of the game – This has to be one of the stupidest ones of all. Money is money, does not matter when you win it -- just win it and keep it!
11. The numbers 4 and 14 are considered unlucky – No opinion. They are just numbers.
12. Urinating during a game can help change a losing streak into a winning one – I just have to laugh on this one. I bet the restrooms at the Wynn and Encore were just filled with Chinese men the past few weeks.
13. Smoking two cigarettes at once before entering a casino is thought to bring good luck – I never heard of this one before. Seems ridiculous and possibly a health risk.
14. The numbers 8, 13, and 18 are considered lucky – No opinion, They are just numbers.
15. It is believed that every gambling table has a baby ghost associated with it and that feeding it with sugar will help your luck – Come on now, this is getting ridiculous. A “baby ghost?”
16. When playing baccarat, shout out “Ding” or “Deng” before a new shoe is dealt – this will make the cards more favorable – Interesting, I will have to listen for this one.
17. The color black is considered unlucky or a sign of misfortune – No opinion.
18. A dog close to the casino table is considered unlucky or a sign of misfortune – Clearly the “Pets Stay” promotion at Caesar’s Entertainment (formerly Harrah's) creates a conflict here. Refer to the following JH blog post to learn more about this promotion:
19. Having a gorgeous woman standing behind your chair will bring you good luck – she does not have to be Asian – So an ugly women brings bad luck then?
20. Only use your index finger to touch your preferred card – Now this is getting ridiculous.
21. It is believed that having a few grams of sea salt inside your wallet attracts wealth luck – Seems rather harmless.
22. Never wear a ring on the thumb as this strongly signifies loss of wealth and an evaporation of success – Never heard of this one, interesting.
23. Wearing a jade ring on the little finger is said to bring you wealth. For males, wear on the left hand, and for females, wear on the right hand – Interesting, will have to check this one out.
24. If you are winning some big money during a gambling session, the belief is that you should make sure you do NOT get up to wash your hands – Now, what if you have to use the restroom? You don’t wash your hands when done? Yuck.
25. Sitting on a handkerchief is considered good luck – I have never seen this one in action, sounds absurd.
26. Picking up cards with your left hand is considered bad luck – So only the index finger on the right hand only? Come on now…
27. No cutting hair or fingernails the first few days of CNY. Washing hair on the first day of CNY is also not a good idea – no opinion.
28. Avoid wearing white (which relates to death) during gambling sessions – Never knew about this one.
29. Never play blackjack if a white male is seated at 3rd base – This one I had never heard about. When things start getting “racial” you have to wonder what is really going on.
30. Do not count any of the money gained or lost during a gambling session – Common sense says know when to stop and hit the eject button.