As I have noted previously, I worked as security for a casino for three years, an experience that I am not likely to repeat… ever. In the casino industry, the guest is everything and security is a dime a dozen. Our role was one of visual deterrence; be seen and pretend to be useful. In reality, we were unarmed, and our effectiveness was so limited (to avoid lawsuits and to keep guests from feeling unwelcome) that we couldn’t even fight back if attacked. The guests, of course, were well aware of this and while most were well-behaved, we did have quite a few “winners” during my time of service. Here are the top 10 most memorable. Sadly, all of these torrid tales are 100% true.
The Open Automobile
One aspect of my job was bicycle patrol of the three-level parking garage. All things considered, I enjoyed patrol days, because it got me out of the stuffy, smoke-filled casino and gave me a chance to exercise. It also meant, most of the time, that I didn’t have to deal with bothersome guests. But that isn’t to say that it didn’t present other, more interesting situations.
I remember being on patrol one day and coming across a vehicle in the garage that I could have sworn was in the process of being stripped. All four doors were wide open and no one was about. I observed the scene for a few moments, then called it in to dispatch. They had me remain on the scene while they tried to locate the owner of the vehicle.
After several minutes, they radioed to tell me to go ahead and close and lock the doors. Apparently, a guest had forgotten to close up the car. How is it that you can be in such a hurry to gamble that you forget to even close your doors, never mind locking them?
As security, our job description was pretty clear; provide visual deterrence through our presence and assist guests as needed. On one rainy August evening, I learned just how loosely that can be interpreted. I was on bike patrol in the parking garage and we were particularly busy that night. So busy, in fact, that we had resorted to using the overflow lot (a dirt lot across from the garage where a second garage was to eventually be built). As I cycled about, I was stopped by a guest who informed me that she had a flat tire on her truck. I radioed in to dispatch and the reply was immediate; “So, change it for her.”
I knew, somehow, that this was anything but good, and I was right. For one thing, she was parked in the overflow lot, which as stated previously, was a field of dirt (now a field of mud due to the rain). Worse still, she was driving a pickup truck with the spare mounted beneath the rear bed. That meant that I had to slither beneath the truck, on my back, in the mud to remove the spare and then do so a second time to put the bad tire in its place. All the while, she stood by looking impatient and frustrated.
By the time I was done, I was covered in mud from head to toe, and the guest simply got into her vehicle and drove off, without so much as a “thank you” or even a grunt of appreciation. It got worse when I took my break, later in the evening, as my supervisor (the one who had told me to change the flat) saw me and reamed me for the state of my uniform. I tried to explain, but he would hear none of it.
Casinos are like the mythical Elephant’s Graveyard when it comes to the elderly and retired. We’ve actually had people collapse and die right there on the gaming floor (and often, the other patrons pay them no heed, even stepping over the bodies to get to the machine they had been playing). This meant that our handicapped parking spots were almost always filled to capacity. Not that there was a shortage of such, mind you. And we did have space in the garage, and a tram that would ferry passengers across at no cost.
One day I was standing patrol at the front of the casino when an elderly guest left the garage and crossed the walkway to the casino (on foot). He made a beeline straight for me and I could see that he was upset about something. With a sigh, I put on my game face and pleasantly asked how I could help him.
“Your handicapped spaces are all full,” he snorted.
Before I could say another word, he continued. “I can’t believe that I am expected to have to park all the way over in the garage. I can’t walk that far! That’s why I have a handicapped pass on my car!”
I was floored, completely unable to reply. How do you reply to that? I started to point out that he had just, in fact, walked that far, when he turned abruptly and headed back to the garage, cursing about the parking situation.
This next situation didn’t actually happen to me, but to a compatriot on a different shift, but it was so off-the-wall that I had to include it here. The officer in question received a radio call about a disturbance in the restroom in the lobby of the hotel. On responding, he found two gentlemen in one stall, engaged in what can only be termed “intimate relations.”
He rapped on the stall door and confronted them, only to receive cries of protest. When he entered, he heard low moans and saw the lower torso of one person kneeling on the floor before the toilet, on which sat a second person. And yet, the men claimed that he was mistaken and that nothing had been going on. The officer informed them that they were disturbing other guests and would have to move on or get a room and that if they did not comply, the police would be called. Wisely, they decided to take it elsewhere.
Ghost in the Machine
Gamblers are a superstitious lot and there is no end of rituals, lucky charms and other quirks that they use to influence Lady Luck to be with them. I’ve seen amulets draped over machines, garlic being rubbed on (or stuffed into) machines, money being rubbed on womens’ breasts or behind, and all kinds of other tricks. My wife, who is Asian and worked as a cashier for the casino, was often asked if she would rub a bill on her shirt “to infuse it with Asian luck.” People would get furious at housekeeping if they cleaned a machine that the individual had been playing for some time, claiming that it would “clean the luck off.” I’ve seen it all, but one woman takes the prize for stupidity.
I was walking patrol of the slots area when she grabbed me by the arm and said, “Would you please tell this machine to let me win?”
Shocked, I hesitated before responding, “Ma’am, the machine doesn’t respond to my commands. It’s an inanimate object, and there is no hidden button that we press to let it pay out.”
“I know that,” she replied indignantly. “I want you to tell the little man inside the machine to pay me.”
I paused, my mind trying to make sense of what I had just heard.
“I know that there is a little man inside the machine who can see me, and he won’t let it pay off because I’m black! But I’ve been playing this machine all day, and it owes me some money.”
She was quite insistent, and I’m not sure that she believed me, even after I had a slot tech physically open the machine and show her that no one was inside.
Not all of our guests were rude and belligerent, of course. We had a few that were just plain stupid. Take, for example, the group of hotel guests that had decided to spend the afternoon skinny dipping in the hotel pool. Dispatch first spotted them on the security cameras and sent an officer up to the pool to tell them that they needed to get dressed. We watched as the officer arrived and confronted them.
He spoke to them for a few moments and then the two males got out of the pool and got dressed, but the three females refused to budge. He radioed back and said, “They won’t get out while I’m here.”
“Tell them that you will turn around, but you aren’t leaving until they exit the pool and get dressed.”
The officer relayed the message, but the women remained stubborn. Finally, dispatch radioed him and told him to tell them that dispatch had been watching them for some time on the cameras and that if they wanted a copy of the tape, it would cost them $5 a copy.
That got them motivated.
I’ve already mentioned The Pissing Bandit, but she deserves a place on this list. She was a well-heeled woman about 40 years of age who would come into the casino on a regular basis each week. We don’t know if her problem was incontinence or stupidity, but she would sit at a slot machine until she urinated on the seat, and would then move to the next one in the row. I recall one day she soiled no less than six seats.
We weren’t permitted to confront her on the issue, as she spent a considerable amount of money in the casino. Instead, as soon as she left for the day, housekeeping would run over and retrieve the soiled seats, replacing them with fresh ones.
I’m F***ED UP!
One evening while on bicycle patrol, I was instructed to go an confront a man who was panhandling from guests in the parking garage. As I approached, I could see immediately that he was inebriated. I rode up to him and asked politely, “Can I help you, sir?”
His response was short and direct. “I’m f***ed up!”
Fighting the urge to reply in kind, I instead said, “Alright, sir. I need you to move along and stop asking people for handouts.”
“I’m f***ed up!”
“Yes, sir. We’ve established that. Now I need for you to leave the property, please.”
“See, I was… was here… with some… some friends, but they… I was… they… I’m f***ed up!”
“Alright, sir. I understand, but you can’t…”
“You… you don’ unnerstand. I was… I… I’m f***ed up!”
I radioed in to dispatch regarding the difficulties I was having with the man, but they didn’t seem to understand until he yelled into the microphone as I was speaking, “I’m f***ed up!”
Apparently, that established what was going on because the police soon arrived and escorted him to a place where he could rest for the evening.
That Isn’t Rain
On cold evenings, the bicycle patrol got a break and was permitted to use the Flintstone-mobile (our name for the golf carts that were assigned to security). They weren’t exactly luxurious, but they did offer some protection from the elements, particularly the biting winds. One such evening, while on patrol, I was sitting, stationary, in the cart, looking out of the front toward the casino, when I heard water running. I glanced around to see a vagrant urinating on the back of my golf cart! I confronted him and he protested, “I had ta go, man!”
I politely pointed out the fact that there were restrooms inside the casino, but he replied, “They won’t let me in, man. I’ve been 86ed.”
I wonder why?
And with all of these gems, you might be wondering what I have that could possibly top them. And here you go…
One of the less pleasurable joys of security at the casino was the post of “moving target.” More correctly, this was called “traffic control,” but when you’re standing in the middle of a busy intersection with impatient and angry people driving vehicles within inches of your body, our nickname for it seemed more fitting. It was a Friday night, one of the busiest nights of the week, and valet was overworked and short-handed. As a result, the drive leading up to valet was packed with cars and my job was to keep the intersection clear so that cross-traffic could move freely.
I had just finished clearing the intersection when a woman approached me and said that she really needed to use the bathroom. I indicated that valet was working as quickly as possible to clear the drive and that as soon as they took her car, she could go to the restroom in the casino. Dissatisfied, she returned to her vehicle.
A few moments later, she approached again, stressing that she had to go to the bathroom and was going to abandon her car in the valet line to do so. I told her that if she left her car, it would be towed at her expense. I suggested that her passenger (who looked to be of driving age) could take control of the vehicle and let valet take charge of it while she went to the restroom, but she was adamant against it.
I shrugged, saying there was nothing more I could do. She returned to her vehicle yet again and I resolved to keep a close eye on her. I noted that she was sitting in the driver’s seat with her legs out of the car, which should have been a clue, but it didn’t click. That is, until I saw the stream of urine projecting out from beneath her dress!
I was utterly flabbergasted and disgusted. I didn’t know how to address the issue, so I called it in. Dispatch responded that they had seen her on the cameras, but there was nothing to be done and to let it go. So I went back to directing traffic, a stream of urine slowly dribbling down the drive.
And to think that people ask me why I will never work for a casino again.