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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. He also recently appeared on the Getting the Edge radio show from Las Vegas ( 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.

My sister recently witnessed a body being carried out of downtown Binion's casino from a possible suicide and confided in me that she had yet to see any press or TV report about it. She then asked me if there were any cover-ups going on in the Las Vegas media.

I thought to myself that this was a good question because I can really relate to it. I had the same suspicions about casino cover ups many, many years ago and decided to do some research on this very subject, with my motive being plain old morbid curiosity

Due to the numerous casino positions Iíve held over the years, I have seen, and also heard, of numerous deaths that have taken place within the casino (this includes restaurants, hotel rooms, slot areas, casino pits, etc). I have witnessed in person, or via video tape and security reports, the following: heart attacks, seizures, suicides, murders, and even cancer deaths. (Believe it or not, many people that have been deemed Ďterminalí by their doctors have come to Las Vegas for one last wild time.) And then we have the jilted police officer that goes into the menís room and removes his service revolver and places it in his mouth and BANG! He just scarred several peoples minds forever some of which were teenagers that have 70 or 80 years to deal with what they just witnessed. Death doesnít hurt the one who goes, it devastates those around them. I remember being in a city United States city that is farther north than Canada (figure it out) when an of duty police officer had be steaming away on a BJ table all night until he was down to his last black. He played it, got a stiff, hit it, busted than said to a crowded table of 6 others: well, thatís it for me, tell my family I tried" as the other players laughed it off as a joke he pulled out a 9mm service pistol and discharged it into his left temple and hit the ground quicker than a week old shirt.

The only situations that ever got any real media attention were shootings (e.g., Harrahs Laughlin motorcycle gang war, the Nugget shootings, the Harrah shootings, the MGM Toupak assassination, the Motorcity casino blackjack table suicide, etc). I believe the local press covered the shootings due to the fact that the Associated Press (AP) and United press International (UPI) picked up these stories and distributed them nationally. On the same token, the local television news jumps on gang and drug related murders, deaths due to robberies (convenience stores, taxi cabs, liquor stores, etc) and domestic dispute killings (husband and wife, boyfriends and girl friends, jealousy, rage, etc).

Hereís my opinion (again, coming from someone with many years of casino experience). There is an unwritten, unspoken rule that nobody dies in a casino. I believe this stemmed from the early days when the Chicago Mob, trying to keep a low profile in their new candy store (Las Vegas), said; nobody gets whacked in Las Vegas. The same holds true today. Old habits die hard even if you use a 9MM pistol.

These days, if a person dies on the casino floor, paramedics are called and they perform CPR on the subject (even if theyíre into rigor mortis type deceased) until they reach the hospital were, upon arrival, they are pronounced ĎDOAí (Dead On Arrival). If itís a suicide (e.g, an off duty police officer in a casino restroom recently put his back-up weapon into his mouth and pulled the trigger), the area is blocked off from the public by security guards. If the public can view the area, cubicle type barricades or blackout sheets are used to shield the area, and no information is released until the investigation is completed and a coronerís report is issued (In other words, until it cools off and itís not considered news worthy.)

Las Vegas is considered the adult playground for the world and any mention of death could put a damper on the festivities. Even the gaming commission has rules about casinos advertising anything that is not gaming friendly, which, by the way, includes the term "gambling." Hence, this is the reason casinos donít advertise things on the marquees such as "Only 2 Deaths" or "Less Than 12 Killed." You could say that "What Happens in a Casino, Stays in the Casino."

Gee, what a grim article this turned out to be. Anyway, here are some fun facts about deaths and near-death situations (that take place in casinos) that most people donít know about.

The families of suicide victims usually claim that a casino employee, who finds the body in a hotel room, had taken items (watch, ring, etc) or cash from the deceased and want some sort of cash settlement.

The security department will not close out a report on a suicide or murder victim until they get confirmation from the hospital (even if the person was dead when they left the casino).

Casinos get complaints from people that were actually saved/revived by a security employee because of bruises or broken ribs left due to that employee performing a Ďlife savingí maneuver such as CPR.

Dozens (if not hundreds) of deaths occur in casinos every year. This includes drowning, suicides, shootings, murders, heart attacks, choking (on food and not by an angry spouse), etc. This includes both employees and visitors.

Most casino deaths are due to pre-existing health conditions (and you thought it was the food in the buffet).

So, to answer your question, I canít really say that there are "cover ups" happening in the mediaÖ. but you can.

What affected me the most in my career of watching people die was the way people act upon witnessing such an incident. For example, Iíve watched a little elderly woman stroke out then do the full Cardiac Arrest while pulling the handle on their favorite slot machine only to use the handle as leverage to help them hit the floor a bit softer. Upon hitting the floor, this woman is stripped of full her coin cups, purse, glasses, etc., within seconds by the people that were sitting next to her minutes before, laughing and joking with her. Now that sheís out of the race, get her watch, ring, etc. This is enough to make you sick, but, letís pretend it doesnít bother us and weíre here to pick up the pieces. Here is where it hits home (if youíre warm blooded).

When Nana hits the floor and is bum-rushed by her peers for her personal belongings, cash her slot cups filled with winning coins (or TITO ticket), her purse with ID, family pictures, mementos, etc., an old saying hits me: "Donít sweat the money, it can be replaced," and I have always believed in this, but letís look at Nana and ride with her in the Paramedic wagon. Hereís what happens. They verify sheís dead so they can pronounce it upon arrival at the local General Hospital (the counties take all) then, when undressing her due to no ID (it was stolen by some piece of sh^t punk). So, Nana ends up at the coronerís table and is dissected even if sheís of the Jewish faith which is a sin and there is a toe tag place on her entitled "Jane Doe." Her, in the freezer, she will lay for weeks or months until a family member claims her but, they canít because thereís no way they can know she is missing. So, after a set amount of days, she is planted in an unmarked grave as Jane Doe # 1234545676789 and she will be forever separated from her loved ones. This happens enough for the Las Vegas Coronerís office to have their own web site (with pictures) asking for the publicís help in Identifying some of these lost souls.

This makes me sick. Nana worked all her life and just wanted to have fun, got too excited CAíed and died, then, as a parting gesture, was robbed of not only her money, the bastards took her ID too. Now she, after a hard life cutting out a living, is a meat slab, in the cooler with a toe tag and no family to claim her because sheís an unknown and her body and facial figures have changed since rigor mortis. I consider this the ultimate raping of ones soul. But fret not, there is a God and vengeance is his as we all come to him at the end.

I know that The Las Vegas Review Journal would never try to "cover up" anything from my column. Even when I give the details about how XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX and when it became XXXXXXXXXXXXXX and why itís now XXXXXXXXXXXX. They have way too much respect for me than that.

So, we learned that one cannot die in a casino but the dead can be raped in a casino. So, right now I will offer you a tip for your soul, which I learned while in Nam. Place a form of ID in your shoe so that if what happened to Nana should happen to you (nobody plans their death other than Meth users) you will be reunited with the ones that love you, and if theyíre anything like my family, they will take the pleasure of raping you.

I like to leave my column on a high note so Iíll share this little Historic Vegas tip with you. The term "86" is currently used as a term to remove a person from the property. Do you want to know the origins of the term "86?" Here it is, in its rawest mob like form.

86 was a code to the limo driver to drive said individual (big winner, cheater, shot taker, non-debt payer, stick up man, etc) The code is deciphered as the following:

Drive him/her 8 Miles out of the city limits (nobody dies in Vegas), and plant him/her 6 feet deep; hence, you have an "86."

Many have met this fate but one person stands out: Lucky Louie (and Iíll get to this someday).

If youíre an advantage player (AP), heed this "Code of the Straws." (In fact, here, right now, I will demystify this old casino code.)

If you order a soft drink while you are playing, the casino will stick a long McDonalds-like straw in your tall glass. This tells surveillance that youíre not a gambler. However, if you order a mind-altering drink, it will be served in a rocks (ice) glass, which is smaller in height, and the straw is half the size (since real drinkers use the straw as a stirrer as to get the full aroma of the poison theyíre drinking).

Surveillance has a credo that says "APís donít gamble, they donít drink, they donít smoke, they donít take chances (like driving without wearing seatbelt), and they donít tip." Wanna be a card counter? Do what I just said and youíll be labeled an AP player quicker than Obama wrecked the economy. Now, if you look at the above casino-AP-traits, youíll see ways of appearing as a gambler, while being an AP. Are you with me? If not, go to one of those sissy BJ sites that are all hype and no real information, pussy.

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