Friday the thirteenth, unlucky for some, but for Casinos in Monaco it can be a bumper day. Did you know that one Monaco casino had reportedly seen an increase in gamblers on its slot machines of more than 30% last year on Friday 13th? Gamblers challenging fate not only flocked to the casinos in greater numbers they also spent more than 25% extra time on the machines. Very brave for the significant number of French gamblers among them who come from a nation that is notoriously superstitious. If you were Italian of course it is the number 17 that is cursed. Bucking the trend Italian gamblers are rather attached to the number 13 – they even call winning a jackpot “fare il tredici” (translated it means “making the 13)”.
What is a bonanza for the casinos, is the opposite for the airlines whose losses threaten to rear their ugly head as the superstitious avoid flying on Friday the 13th. Want a super deal? – some airlines keep up their number of passengers by lowering prices – you can search for an opportunity to buy a ticket to fly on that date often at a great discount.
Gamblers are not the only ones that challenge fate, historically there existed a small number of famous “13 Clubs” for those that wanted to show their disdain for superstition – in the United States these Clubs had five US Presidents as members, including Theodore Roosevelt. They may have regretted it however as two of them were later shot. The Grim Reaper had the last laugh. Oscar Wilde refused to join the 13 Clubs saying, “I love superstitions”.
The obsession with the number 13 in the West leads to all sorts of “13 watchers” alerting us to miscellaneous facts that support the association of 13 with evil and bad luck – like the wicked people with 13 letters in their names including Adolf Hitler (11 letters?!). Ironically, his first name was Adolfus. Charles Manson, Jack the Ripper, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy, and Albert De Salvo all contain 13 letters.
Why 13 is Unlucky
From the 1890s, a number of English language sources relate the “unlucky” thirteen to an idea that at the Last Supper, Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th to sit at the table. If you need more convincing the mass arrest and execution of the Knights Templar, widely believed to be protecting the Holy Grail (the cup Jesus drank from at the Last Supper), started on Friday 13, 1307. And typically there are 13 steps to the gallows – or as one sarcastic comic said “12 up and one down”! Casinos with large tower-style hotels are very aware of these superstitions, so it is not uncommon for them to miss out 13 when labeling their floors by jumping straight from 12 to 14. Many theorists say that while 13 is not innately unlucky, it does have a dodgy position in the number sequence. In both conventional mathematics and sophisticated numerology, you can’t get better than the number 12. There are 12 zodiac signs, 12 apostles, a dozen roses, 12 days of Christmas. We just love 12. Then 13 comes along and throws everything out of kilter.
Casino-goers Buck the Trend
So perhaps those who feel drawn to the number 13 are also those who aren’t afraid to think differently. So we can expect Casino goers on Friday the 13th to buck the trend and perhaps even bet heavily on the usually unpopular “13 black” at the roulette wheel. Interestingly, throughout history, the notorious number was actually connected positively to female energy. Ancient cultures celebrated the number 13 in connection to Goddesses — the Divine Feminine and physical regeneration.
French Society and Friday the 13th
French society is particularly superstitious it seems with reportedly between 50% to 60% influenced by a sixth-sense of luck or bad luck on days like Friday the 13th or the full moon. “Française des Jeux” is the operator of France’s national lottery games and they capitalize on this cultural phenomenon. Watch out for a possible Super Loto® of 13 million euros and windows of “tobacco” boutiques in the Principality being full of tempting displays. Scratch and chance games are particularly popular. Reportedly up to twice as many are sold than usual. People have been known to line outside all day. Friday the 13th, is expected to be “joyful madness” in Monaco’s “Tobacco” boutiques. Cafe de Paris and Sun Casinos will likely feel an extra buzz of activity and SBM will put their best foot forward to welcome regular players with extra payouts on the slot machines being reported to reward their loyalty on Friday the 13th.
The beautiful Charles Garnier inspired entrance in Casino de Monte Carlo is a dream for Gamblers. Gamblers can be superstitious about main entrances and there was a controversial casino entrance in Las Vegas where there was a gigantic lion at the Grand Casino entrance, forcing visitors to walk through the actual jaw of the animal on their way to the gaming floor. MGM Grand had their entrance changed eventually; however some people will still use the side doors instead of passing through the main one. Just in case.
Tongue Twisting Phobias about 13
Psychologists have very fancy names for our superstitions. They are real tongue-twisters: The phobia for being scared of the number 13 itself is called Triskaidekaphobia. Then there is Paraskevidekatriaphobia. Behind this name is fear of Friday 13. There is even competition to name this phobia the alternative being “friggatriskaidekaphobia”. Frigg is the name of a Norse goddess who inspired the English to come up with the word “Friday”. If you are scared of a Full Moon you have Selenophobia – originating from the Greek term “seleno” (meaning moon). Two of the most feared superstitions combined Friday 13th and a Full Moon. The phenomenon last occurred just under 20 years ago, on October 13, 2000. But no need to worry because we will have to wait until 2098 for it to happen again!