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THE "FIX" IS IN

by Vinny DeCarlo

Vinny DeCarlo is the author of How to Beat Casino Surveillance Ė Insiderís Secrets for Card Counters. He is a retired veteran casino man with over 20 years of upper management experience. His expertise covers the pit, security, and surveillance, and he even served as a General Manager for two different casinos. Currently, Vinny travels the states as a freelance reporter and a personal consultant to many Indian casinos. According to Vinny, there are two types of casino employees - those that know him, and those that claim to know him; therefore, never believe what you hear.

The economy is looking bad in Atlantic City these days; however, not to worry because the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has the "FIX." Yes, the FIX, as in the old mob lingo of saying that itís rigged or fixed to fall your way.

Now a large percentage of folks that read this article are going to refer to it as "bull," while the rest are going to learn something that they can keep with them for the rest of their lives.

Letís dissect this, and other recent news, for what it really is Ö the FIX.

Recently, the A.C. Division of Gaming Enforcement decided to allow A.C. casinos to eliminate the so-called "middle management" in casinos, otherwise known as Pit Supervisors or Pit Bosses. If you who donít know what a pit boss is or does, please allow me to briefly explain what they do.

Ever since the very early days in Nevada, casinos felt the need to have an interim person, who was known as a pit boss, to deal with the player and the casino manager. This person would be the intermediary, such as a car salesperson is today. The pit boss main duties were:

  • Open the games
  • Make sure the inventories (cheques in the floats or trays) were correct.
  • Ensured that the dealers knew their games
  • Watched for and removed cheaters from the casino
  • Made sure the right players were being comped correctly
  • Ensured that all payoffs were clear and correct.
  • In addition, should a player have a complaint, the pit boss would take care of it.

Then came the card counters. The pit boss was thrown into the arena to thwart these smart players per the casino manager. It wasnít personal, it was just business.

Maybe you have been backed off by a pit boss in the past and you harbor some harsh feelings towards the whole lot. Well, let me tell you something: if it were not for the pit bosses and supervisors, you would not have stood a fair chance at all. Donít forget: surveillance throws out about 95% of suspected card counters, not the pit boss. Just look at them; they are so busy that they donít have time to focus on one player, analyze their play, and then back them off (you would be insane to think so). Therefore, there goes your first line of defense as a player (and as a taxpayer if you happen to live in Atlantic City). And so are my feelings on the DGEís recent addendum to allow casinos to reduce staffing levels, including casino security.

Now donít get me wrong; itís not all bad, at least not for the advantage players, card muckers, dice switchers, cheats, railbirds, etc. The DGEís idea to save casinoís millions of dollars will, in fact, cost their own state millions and more in unemployment benefits, local store sales, state taxes, school taxes, foreclosures, community services like Police, Fire, Hospitals, etc. Weíre talking about a major loss and we havenít even gotten to the good part yet; the casinos are not going to save millions of dollars. (Yep, you heard me right.) Instead, it might just cost them millions due to employee theft, false claims, card-counting teams, dice teams, and increased violence (no command, no control). You see, the pit bosses were put in place to be fair-minded people looking at both sides of the table and trying to be as fair as the rules allowed.

The employees the casinos will terminate (and trust me, with an open-ended invitation from the DGE to do whatever they want) they will include the middle-aged, blue-collar workers, who have dedicated their lives to ensure fair and honest gaming. After these dedicated and hard-working folks are thrown out to the street, they wonít make it back to the curb let alone a new job or career. Moreover, the casinos wonít just be eliminating those with menial experience. No way. They now have permission to term employees that are overweight, black, Asian, female, us older folks, etc. Unfortunately, the casinos will have the full authority of the DGE to discriminate and ruin peopleís lives. Donít be fooled by their lies that they will only eliminate employees with little or no experience, who were never needed in the first place; No, it will be the people that have kept these places together and running smooth for years. After all, thatís what they were paid to do; unfortunately, they will be the ones targeted for termination.

The DGE continues to call this a "deregulation" (like the Air Lines, gas prices, etc., and we know how that worked out). However, in a sudden statement to shift the blame, they said, (according to thePressOfAtlanticCity.com), "Eliminating requirements for pit bosses was included on a "wish list" written by the Casino Association of New Jersey in March 2009."

Therefore, we now learn that itís the casinos that want to fire the employees who did their time and are up for their retirement (or retire-ony in this case). Cleaning house, so to speak, so that the top brass can maintain their bonuses and maybe get rid of a few employees with personality quirks, some older employees, a few female employees, maybe a few employees missing a front tooth, etc. I know, I said it before, but this is serious.

Now the big question for the card counter is whatís in it for me. What do you expect to get out of this mess? In one word, plenty.

Without this so called extra baggage of "unneeded employees," the casino is at your mercy when it comes to rating your play; when you make a claim and surveillance doesnít have sufficient camera coverage (a lot of them donít) to debunk your claim; the cards and dice will be changed less often, making it a cheaterís-delight store; your actual buy ins and cash outs wonít be scrutinized, therefore, your wins will not be used against you; drink service will go way down; and more dealers may opt to tip themselves (when the players donít) by just grabbing a few cheques and placing them into their pocket. Oh yes, there will be bands of cheats roaming the casinos, robbing them blind in plain sight without their knowledge (not to mention the dice crews, pickpockets, wheel past posters, card daubers, etc.). Whoís going to know? Whoís going to tell? Who the hell cares? Surely not the one person they will put in charge of managing the entire casino, as well as parking cars and cleaning restrooms. I mean why not? What fool is going to take on such a responsibility knowing that not even a Superman could pull off this job and keep the bonus-buddy-brass happy. Itís a sure demise for the poor slob that is chosen for this suicide mission.

Maybe theyíll realize that the problem was elsewhere. How about the economy, stupid? Or marketing? What were, in fact, they doing? I would think that if business were down, they would go after the department in charge of building up business. (Duhhh.)

Now, letís take a horror show and go a step deeper. But first, some history on this deadly subject weíre about to explore.

In the early days of Nevada, casinos used to Ďskim" money from the drop. Simply put, they would take some casino money so that they didnít have to report that stash to the Gaming Commission (and pay taxes). People like Dalitz, Gioncana, Lansky, Lucky, Batista, and other nefarious owners would take a few dollars out of the count rooms before the moola was counted (skimming off the top so to speak).

This made a few thousand folks millionaires, and with this money, they bought powerful people like Nixon, Kennedy, judges, local police, and others, with enough money left over to start a lucrative illegal narcotics distribution network, brothels, pawn shops, and some money to pay off senators, mayors, etc. The casino money was all there, but suddenly, the gaming commission made it their job to make the casinos accountable for every last cent. Suddenly, the syndicate (i.e., the mob) was selling their interests in legalized casino gambling and they moved on. Letís face it; the thrill was gone for them. But wait Ö whatís old is new again. Take the drive-thru or drive-up car hop restaurants, the drive in movies, Rockíem Sockíem robots, the new cars like the Mustang, Camaro, and Dodge Challenger that are made to resemble their old predecessors. They figured that these items were big sellers and if they sold once, why not again. And they were right, which leads me to the next item of contention: the elimination of truth in reporting for A.C. casinos. The DGE just made it legal Ö let me repeat that Ö made it l-e-g-a-l for casinos to not have to report their true earnings every month like they have been doing for years since the first Atlantic City casino opened in the 1970ís.

Now I ask you Ö have they lost their minds? Have they given the keys to the bank, back to the mob? To hear the DGE tell it, theyíre so desperate that theyíre willing to break a few laws to help these gambling empires and billionaires succeed beyond our wildest wishes. In fact, theyíve given the casinos the option to calculate their bills and to pay their bills on a sort of "honor system." Iíve been in the business for over 23 years and trust me, thereís no honor here. (Think about this: why doesnít the IRS follow this ludicrous idea and allow United States Citizens to pay whatever taxes they feel they should and whenever they want, if ever. Or how about eating at the finest steakhouse and paying what you feel and when you feel like it? In my opinion, itís the total destruction of our economy, as we know it.)

Didnít we not learn from the Bay of Pigs, Joseph Kennedy, and his rum-running mobsters during prohibition? What about the price gougers of the 1970ís oil industry who said, "If you donít like our prices, get it elsewhere".

Whether you like me or not, or gamble or not, you will be paying for what your so-called elected officials have done to you. When this is over, the first few thousand fatalities (those that were terminated, to save the casino pigs their bonus checks, and cast out into the streets losing their jobs, cars, homes, retirement, dinner, self respect and finally theyíre lives) will appear to be the lucky ones.

In the U.S. Marines, they taught us to "never leave your brother behind," and we lived by that; but here, we have the complete opposite. Our elected officials have left us all behind and not in the name of our Lord and Savior, or our Flag and Country, but simply for that all mighty buck. To the DGE, I say, "May the good Lord have mercy on your souls because I wouldnít count on any sympathy from the taxpayers."

Editorís Note: After Vinny wrote his article and submitted it to me, seven casinos in Atlantic City announced a slew of table-game layoffs. This is on top of the 115 casino inspectors that lost their jobs a few months ago. While all these table-game layoffs were going on, a blackjack player won a total of $15 million from three Atlantic City casinos over the past six months: $6 MM from the Trop, $5 million from Borgata, and $4 million from Caesars. (Read the articles in this issue of BJI for more on this.)

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