My (female) vision of arcades

Gambling halls, gambling halls or gambling holes, whatever you want to call them, they are part of our gambling culture. What strikes me is that, barring exceptions, most of the visitors are from casino machines. And that doesn't surprise me either, since I don't feel immediately called to walk into an arcade to gamble. But the feeling that I have is hard to name. Yet I will try that now, because why do more men play in a gambling hall? And why do I usually pass them by?

The arcade

When I think of a casino, I think of glitter, glamor, a night out. When I think of an arcade, then … well what then? I don't really think about it that much. Is that strange? Maybe not. Because of the arcade visitors, about three-quarters are men. Sometimes even more. So I am not the only woman who would rather skip a visit. Are all arcades the same? No definitely not. There are several arcades in the beautiful Eindhoven where I live. Where, to be honest, I have never taken one step inside. I do come here at the Holland Casino, not a special place but suitable for a fun night out. I haven't been in Jack's until now, actually I'm ashamed of it. Because although Jack's is an automatic casino, I am so far impressed by how little you feel when you enter a store. You also notice this immediately from the type of visitors: people also come here for a night out, and there are more women to be found than in other arcades.Jack's Nijmegen DukenburgAt Jack's in Dukenburg, I feel very welcome as a woman and we have 3 Fair Play locations in the city of lights. Which I have never been to, though I have often passed by. It just doesn't attract me. And there is the tricky point: why not? Also in other cities, where there are other arcades, I do not enter them. Since I wrote for Onetime, I walk everywhere, although abroad, within what looks like a casino. If it turns out to be a vending machine hall, more often than not, I am somewhat disappointed but I will continue, because hey, I may not immediately have a prejudice of myself. But here too it appears that, if there are any guests, these are mostly men.

So I don't enter a game room

The Great One asked me when we were on the road for another day: do you often come to slot machines? The honest answer was no, after all I went to a few Jack's locations, and together with the men at the WIN in Nederweert, plus the few arcades I saw abroad. But otherwise, no, not. I studied in Amsterdam for 4 years. There I often walked to Central Station or the metro on the Nieuwmarkt, from the university building on the Oudemanhuispoort, around the corner from Hotel De L'Europe, or vice versa. I walked across the Red Light District, across the Rokin and Damrak or via the Nieuwendijk. All places where (local) arcades are. And I have never walked into one. The Great One asks why not. I have to think about that answer. At the time, we are talking about 8 to 12 years ago, I really had only been to a casino a few times. Gambling, casinos, arcades, they were not high on my list of “entertainment options.” Of course, I knew De Carrousel from all the times I walked past it. But I never stepped inside. If I had the time, I'd rather walk a little further along the shops. But I never knew that there were also arcades, such as Macau and Lucky Flipper (formerly Gambling House). So I always passed that one by.

The big question: why not?

So I still haven't answered the question why not. Well, partly of course: I didn't know they were there and I have never noticed that they were there except for the Carousel. That while I walked past it at least once a week. It was partly my fault: I rather looked at clothing, jewelry, makeup and books / magazines to spend money on. I think, when I look back now, I didn't even know about the existence of the arcades.Macau AmsterdamMacau in Amsterdam, I have probably walked past it a hundred times or more, never noticed that there was an arcade …. But, the arcades did not make much effort to bring me in. No idea if the policy is that no advertisements can be made for the door, although I don't think so when I see the Carousel. But so, I missed advertising. I missed the call to me, a 25-year-old blonde student from the province, to visit these gems in Amsterdam. I also wonder, if I missed them, how many tourists would pass unthinkingly …. It is clear to me that the reason why I did not enter an arcade was two-fold: I did not know about it and they did not put much effort into it to introduce me.

Has anything changed in recent years?

Well, in the meantime I have been writing for Onetime again. And I have now visited a few more casinos than just the HC in my hometown. Although I haven't entered one machine casino here in Eindhoven. I have to change that. If only to taste the atmosphere. Outside my home town I have become more curious, when I see a casino or arcade, especially abroad, I often want to walk in. Plus, I like to do a casino tour with the men of Onetime, where we visit different casinos and arcades. The counter is at 2 this year, but if it's up to me we'll do more. We come to the far corners of the Netherlands where I have never been, let alone would visit a casino … I notice two things: many of those arcades don't stand out at all; walk right past. Secondly: with the exception of Jack's you will see many more men than women at most arcades. For example, what I myself did not know until recently is that arcades almost all offer free food and drinks. I think this is a point that may well be a bit more emphasized, so only the gambling itself costs you money.

How do I feel as a woman in an arcade?

Well, I can be quite brief about that: in general I don't feel at ease. So far I have never entered a gaming hall alone, I have always been with someone else. And that makes the difference for me. I feel like I'm being watched as someone who doesn't belong there. Maybe that is because it feels that way to me. In some arcades I was the only woman at the time. And although some of the staff are female, that does not really invite them to play nicely. I also see few machines in the average arcade that make me happy as a woman. If women are already playing, then it is often at the roulette. Now it can be up to me, but that is not my game. What I like to do is play on slot machines, but then on video slots. And you see that relatively little in an arcade. Where you are thrown to death at the Holland Casino with this type of machine, the more traditional machines dominate a gaming hall in general. Cabinets such as Batman and multiplayer cabinets, on which apparently few women play.multiplayer barcrestThe Multiplayer cabinets generally attract more men than women. Besides that women are already far in the minority in an arcade, they also have other interests than men. Women seem to prefer to play on a cupboard where you can play with a low bet. Personally, I am also happy with a cupboard with a story, or at least with different bonus games for example. And when I look around, it seems to hold true for more women.

How do you get a woman into an arcade?

It would be easy to say: fewer men. No manager will do that, the men provide income. And of course I have no problems with men, in fact, I often prefer to work with men than with women. That is food for a different discussion, but I have worked in IT and let me put it this way: that is quite a man's world. Only in such an arcade is it a bit different for me. You must have enough normal men. If they come to play together, for fun, I find it less threatening. Also the men who have a chat or joke in a normal way, I have no problems with that. But to say the least, I feel embarrassed by the loners, the lonely, silent types. The types that seem to merge with the game, talk to themselves, sometimes even seem to have lost a little bit. It seems to me that they can burst into anger at any time because the “cupboard doesn't give them anything.” Intellectually, I know that I may have to find them pathetic rather than scary, but, well, isn't that feeling?! But how do you do that? Maybe take a look at the decor: the arcades where I felt better at home were set up more spacious, lighter and more modern. Friendly and present staff also do a lot. A first glance inside a store determines 9 out of 10 times if I walk into a store. And that is no different with an arcade. Invite me, persuade me, seduce me. Really, we women are sensitive to that. Organize events that mainly attract women, think of a bingo or an evening with a (good or not so good) folk singer. Go crazy, organize a ladies night with snacks and a prosecco (if the municipality allows it). Let us feel special, then we will come! Jack's and HC also succeed…

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