The Third Place: MTEP and the Gaming Industry

Gamblers in the Ship of Fools (1494), an illustration from the
German-speaking world’s Stultifera Navis (Ship of Fools)

Unlike the “Video Game Industry,” a subset of the Work-World Domain pertaining to computer software development, the “Gaming Industry” generally refers to Enterprises devoted to gambling. While most economic activities attached to Domains in the Work-World will change the conduct of their operations, the general premise of gambling among the bettors remains the same. Rather than wagering Kapital to either lose their Kapital or gain more Kapital, they are instead wagering Actual Geld in order to lose their Actual Geld or gain more Actual Geld. The key difference is that the Actual Arbeit of the Gaming Industry is very low in terms of its Quality of Arbeit. This disadvantage in particular is compensated by reaping large sums of Actual Geld from the bettors.

The phrase “the house always wins” becomes a valid adage when the house acts as a convenient source of tax revenue for local and regional governments. Similar expectations occur in Production for Profit and Production for Utility, although the former involves finding additional ways for patrons to spend their Kapital, while the latter is more obsessed about the utility costs of gambling.  The Enterprises of the Gaming Industry, in contrast to the Video Game Industry (which are better suited for NSEs and POEs), deserve to be classified as SAEs (State-Administrated Enterprises) and SOEs (State-Owned Enterprises). When the Gaming Industry operates as SAEs and SOEs in Production for Dasein, the Council State is making its intentions clear that gambling as an economic activity is really a quiet method at levying taxes under the guise of entertainment. The Explicit Intent conveyed by the Council State is that gambling is only meant to be a compliment to an existing array of other sources of Arbeit and Geld, rather than their replacements.

How does that Explicit Intent become applicable? In addition to tax revenue from the gambling and betting that occur inside casinos, the Council State can also repurpose a casino to also serve as a LERE Refinery as part of the Life-Energization Reciprocal Electrification Process. A single casino requires a constant stream of electrical power for its venues and oversees the transfers of large volumes of Actual Geld. Those characteristics inherent in all casinos are ideal for installing a LERE Refinery on their premises. With LERE Refineries, casinos can receive Digital Arbeit from the National Intranet, turn them into Digital Geld, and then transfer to the Central Bank as part of the Reciprocal-Reserve Banking System. With the Gaming Industry continuing to master the digital realm to host online gambling services, it is only natural for them to be easily considered as a suitable candidate for the LERE Process.  

The idea of repurposing casinos to suit other purposes or repurposing a hotel to accommodate limited forms of gambling is not necessarily new. Proposals have been posited in the US and the Soviet Union during the 1980s. In the former Soviet Union, one of Perestroika’s economic reforms involved the installment of slot machines at international hotels catering to tourists in 1988. In these United States, the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip have shifted away from their traditional reputation as America’s gambling halls. As Native American tribes began establishing casinos on their Reservations, the Las Vegas casinos responded by focusing on shops selling luxury goods and restaurants offering a fine dining experience. The “Forum Shops” at the Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, opened in 1992, arguably set a precedent whereby the Retail and Culinary Industries partook in a combined effort with the Gaming Industry to repurpose the casinos on the Strip. Further expansions to the Forum Shops occurred twice in 1997 and 2004.

Here’s where the Forum Shops appear in a general floor plan of the complex. I am including a link for those wishing to zoom in further and read the text. The entrance to the Forum Shops is between “The Colosseum” and the “Parking Garage.”
Here’s the floorplans of the Forum Shops. If anyone is interested, I found a website link to a 3D model rendering of those same floorplans.
An overhead view of Caesar’s Palace. The Forum Shops is behind the Colosseum (the round structure) as seen in the foreground on the right.

The trend begun by the emergence of the Forum Shops was that the casinos on the Strip could no longer present themselves as casinos and hotels boasting a specific theme in aesthetics. They had to recontextualize themselves as “resorts” befitting of a tourist destination. The solution was to renovate the facilities so that they can accommodate the Retail and Culinary Industries as tenants. Conventions were also built to attract potential customers with shared interests in certain media. The same could be said about their ability to host boxing competitions and musical performances. And all of the trends which I had just described is applicable to America’s other traditional destination for gambling, Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Of course, the definition of what passes as a “resort” in the State of Total Mobilization is a matter of perspective, however. As more casinos have begun following the trend begun by the Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, the whole Strip resembles more like a collection of “Shopping Malls” than a vacation getaway. In fact, the consumption of electrical power at the Strip alone makes it particularly notorious for being the most polluted area on Earth in terms of “Light Pollution.” Think of the Light Pollution itself as being no different than the white and gray hues of smoke billowing out of the smokestacks at the manufactories and steel mills.

NASA satellite photo of Las Vegas from Earth’s orbit.
The brightest area near the center of the city is the Strip.

How Casinos create Actual Arbeit and Digital Arbeit

Furthermore, the fact that the Soviets under the late Mikhail Gorbachev in 1988 had considered gambling, however limited the Perestroika-related proposal was in the old Soviet Union, as being compatible with STEP (Soviet-Type Economic Planning) does raise some implications for MTEP (Mission-Type Economic Planning). After all, we have to remember that MTEP was designed in opposition to the unwieldy, primitive attributes associated with STEP. As I had stated earlier, a casino could in fact be considered as an ideal candidate for the LERE Process by acting as a convenient recipient of a LERE Refinery. And, if one might be inclined to recall what I had written earlier about LERE Refineries in The Work-Standard (2nd Ed.), I did consider the casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City to be suitable areas to erect LERE Refineries.

That being said, what Actual Arbeit and Digital Arbeit, if any, is going to come from the daily operations of any given casino? Basically, instead of having two sources of Actual Arbeit, there is only one source of Actual Arbeit and Digital Arbeit. The Actual Arbeit comes from the successful sales and provisions of goods and services. The Digital Arbeit, on the other hand, comes from the operation of an online gambling services and the maintenance of the LERE Refinery insofar as both are in actuality on the National Intranet.

In most casinos, there would usually be a number of card tables, roulette tables, craps tables, slot machines, and betting shops. The Quality of Arbeit from running them are roughly equal or on par with each other in terms of Actual Arbeit. It is likewise the case for all the other services provided among the various facilities and amenities provided by the adjacent hotel. Compared to other Enterprises, including most Industries in the Natural and Manufacturing Sectors, casinos are designed to operate at all hours of the day. Attrition is a constant threat to all personnel, which may justify the need to implement a constant rotation of manpower to keep the Quality of Arbeit of the casino constant. One could argue that the Gaming Industry would be considered among the first Industries in the VCS Economy to be targeted by the Mechanization Rate of the Central Bank.

Speaking of the Mechanization Rate, I should stress that the Mechanization Rate itself corresponds to the extent of Automation replacing Vocations in the VCS Economy. Higher Mechanization Rates correspond to more areas of the VCS Economy contributing a constant rate of Actual Arbeit and Actual Geld to the Life-Energy Reserve. Its effectiveness at controlling the Attrition/Inaction Rate and by extension Currency Depreciation/Appreciation is meant to provide the Totality enough Zeit to bring their Attrition Rate down to governable levels. The Mechanization Rate, unlike the capabilities of the Totality, is incapable of boosting the rates at which Actual Arbeit and Actual Geld are contributed to the Life-Energy Reserve. We must always bear in mind that the real source of wealth lies in the hands and minds of the Self under the Work-Standard.

Relation to the Third Place

Going by the American Gaming Industry in Las Vegas alone, it is a notable observation to find that the casinos on the Strip have taken on the characteristics of Shopping Malls on top of their initial properties. Not only is each casino self-contained enough to host and entertain its patrons, they also demonstrate their potentiality to receive support from other Industries to enhance their production processes. The Industries that participated in the production processes of those casinos are then able to boost their own production processes through greater accessible to potential customers. Thus, in return for their ability to accommodate large numbers of tourists, they require a likewise number of personnel to run and operate them.

If there were two recurring characteristics worthy of mention that are related to the Third Place, it is the fact that the Third Place’s production processes and functions are both self-contained and self-sufficient. Its self-contained nature stems from its flexibility in accommodating a wide variety of different Professions, Enterprises, and Industries. But its self-sufficiency is a recognizable trait that no casino on the Las Vegas Strip is capable of truly exhibiting. The Third Place has to be able to sustain itself through its own sources of Arbeit and Geld whilst simultaneously boosting the economic capabilities of the nearby communities of Households. Moreover, it also needs to be family-oriented and coexist with various Enterprises, in addition to serving as an institutional patron that caters to the creative and intellectual strength of the Totality and Student Body.

Given those qualities, it is logical to assume that next possible candidate would be the Shopping Mall. Yet the Shopping Mall in particular has had a long and complex history in the American Way of Life. There was once a time when it was considered ubiquitous in late 20th century depictions of American Suburbia. Their rise coincided with American Suburbia, but their decline came as a consequence of eCommerce. In another Entry in Section Five, I will be exploring the historical circumstances behind the Shopping Mall, and why I am convinced that its architectural concepts hold the key to unlocking the mysteries of the Third Place as an institution peculiar to the Total Educational Effort as part of Production for Dasein.   

Categories: Third Place

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