Only 13 states allow an individual to own a fully-functioning casino slot machine. Virginia happens to be one of those 13 — an important statistic to know if you decide to give your wife a slot machine for Christmas.

Did he say "slot machine?" Yep. Slot machine: specifically an IGT Double Diamond Deluxe model.

Amy loves games of chance (which may explain why she married me). Fortunately, she is also incredibly lucky when it comes to playing bingo and slots. If she wins any more often at the weekly bingo at Hawkeye Hall in Christiansburg they may ban her for life.

Her favorite slot machine is the aforementioned Double Diamond Deluxe. She has played Double Diamonds in Las Vegas, on the riverboat casinos in St. Louis (often with her mother) and at the casino at Charlestown, West Virginia, which was only an hour’s drive from our former home in Arlington.

IGT, the company that makes the Double Diamond Deluxe, sells a lot of machines to casinos. It does not, however, sell to individuals, so we had to look at companies that take old machines, rebuild them, and then sell them back to individuals. Most are in Nevada and Ohio. Research, however, turned up a wholesaler of rebuilt slot machines in an industrial park in Fredricksburg. Yes, he had a Double Diamond Deluxe, just in from an Indian casino in Washington state. He normally doesn’t sell to individuals but said he would make an exception for us. Yes, it was in good condition and he could have it rebuilt and ready by Christmas.

Driving to Fredricksburg last Saturday to pick up the slot machine proved to be the easy part. Getting a 250-pound, five-foot high machine into the house unseen was impossible so Amy knew ahead of time she was getting the Double Diamond for Christmas and helped pick it out so I could be sure it was the one she liked so much.

The machine sat in our garage from Saturday to Monday and, with the help of Bernie Coveney, we wheeled it up the hill and into the back of the house, making torturous turns through the rear porch and mud room, through the kitchen and into the library/rec room where it now occupies a corner.

As I write this, the sounds of bells, whirling slot wheels and an occasional whoop of joy that means a win emanate from the rec room.

Sounds like my wife likes her Christmas present.