What is more fun than going on a nice vacation and losing all your money? Doing that in space! People have been going to Vegas for decades just for the thrill of pretending they can win. And for centuries before that people have been gambling away their wealth…so what better way to usher in the Space Age than to ensure it includes a casino.
The Fun Part
April 3, 2053
MGM Lagrange, Approximately 326,054 km from Earth
Maybe I do have a problem…I have been up here what…three weeks now? When was the last time I called home? Oh gawd have I called since I got here?
Hmm…but if I just do one more hand that is all I need to get back on top. I know my luck is starting to turn.
Mr Phillips, I’ve been asked by the front desk to inform you that your card has been declined for your room charge. Do you have another card we can use?
Uhh…yes try my American Express…here
Thank you sir, enjoy yourself. Do you need anything?
Something to eat would be great, it feels like a week since I last ate.
Very good, I’ll have a hostess come by with a menu.
Thank you, uh…what was your name again?
Oh right, thank you Alan.
It is my pleasure sir.
Damn it, where was I? Oh right, if I put $100 on 26, $1,000 on black, and $300 on odd, that should get me back on top.
Just one more spin of the wheel…just one more is all I need…
The Real Deal
So I’m going to assume you all know what a casino is…so I don’t need to explain how a space version of it would work…well at least not the casino part. The games are a different matter.
Poker, slot machines, and blackjack will all probably look pretty similar to earth. While digital versions of both poker and blackjack are currently available, they aren’t used in casinos because we are silly monkeys who trust being able to touch things. That will probably persist in space, although I’m not ruling out the first space casino being all digital.
Other games, like roulette and craps rely on gravity to work. And before you say just use magnets remember – people play those games because they believe there isn’t an outside force causing them to lose…well other than luck and god that is. But they believe the dice and table are level and not weighted or otherwise skewed in the house’s favor. So if you add magnets to the table or dice then they can be manipulated by the casino without people seeing or knowing. And that is unlikely to be accepted.
No magnets are probably not the solution…other than for keeping chips on the table (more on that in a second).
An easier and more palatable solution for craps would be a small dice gun which shoots out the dice towards the table using compressed air. This would propel the dice while also ensuring the dice continue to roll until they hit the table.
After the dice hit the table though you need something to keep them from bouncing right back off and out into the room. That’s where table fans come in, blowing air down towards the table at speeds high enough to allow the dice to bounce, but not fly off. These fans would need to be connected to the dice gun to know when to turn on (no one wants a strong fan blowing their hand while they try to get their chips in place).
What about the chips? Oh right…back to that…The chips are going to need to be magnetized to keep the fans from blowing them around. But instead of the table being a permanent magnet, they would need to adjustable electromagnets in them to ensure at the end of each round the chips can be easily swept up, and new ones place.
So roulette is a harder game to adapt because the centrifugal force that keeps the ball rolling around the edge, will also prevent the ball from bouncing down. Unlike on earth, where the design of the wheel allows the ball to spin around but ultimately settle down; a space version would need to use a similar application of forced air to gently push the ball down as the wheel begins to slow. I know…not terribly exciting…but the alternative is an all digital version of the game…so….yea.
Lets continue on our vice theme – looking at what happens when you commit a crime in space…or rather what is likely to happen when future you does. Until then – feel free to reach out to me below if you have ideas about future posts, or if you want to schedule a talk for you organization about how you will fit into the future of space.