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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 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.

Recently, I gave a eulogy at an old friendís funeral. I was approached by what I thought was a dear friend of the recently deceased. The young woman asked me if I was Vinny DeCarlo. I came clean and told her," Yes." She then asked if she could ask me a few questions since it was her motherís funeral that I was attending. I quickly learned that she was the daughter of the woman I had just eulogized. Though I had known her mother for many years, I never knew she had a daughter.

Sahara (her name) told me that her mom had committed suicide and asked me if I could tell her "why casinos did this to their employees." I told her that I highly thought this to be untrue, and that the casino employee suicide average was neither higher nor lower than any other large-scale business. She replied with, "Oh really, then why do you never see casino employees smiling?" I chuckled and said, "They all smile; itís one of the prerequisites to getting a job at a casino." She laughed in my face and said, "I hope your readers never find out how smart you really are," and then she walked away. I suddenly realized what I said and had a horrible itch under the collar of my suit. I must have looked like Rodney Dangerfield (R.I.P) tugging at my tie and collar.

I realized she was under duress because she just sustained a large loss, and was angry; however, I also realized she had a point and somebody should publicize her feelings because she was not alone in her feelings.

So, to Sahara, what follows is for you, your brothers, and your loving mom. Though words wonít bring her back, understanding is the first step to healing. All the following stories about injustices that have happened to casino employees are true and may explain, "Why casinos employees donít smile."


A blackjack player requests a hit on his stiff 16; the dealer pulls a ten-value card, busting the playerís hand. The player gets irate, takes his cup of hot coffee, and splashes it into the dealers face. The dealer instinctively grabs the customer by his shirt and asked him if he was insane. The dealer suffers second-degree burns on his hands and face, and then is termed by the casino for poor customer service.

Shot in an Elevator

A casino security guard finds an intoxicated player passed out just outside of the casino. The guard wakes the individual and informs him that he needs to move on. After 15 minutes of trying to revive the person and get him on his feet, he finally complies; however, instead of moving on, he returns to the casino and enters an elevator. The guard blocks the door from closing and attempts to talk the man out. After a few minutes, the man pulls a knife, begins to slash the guardís hands and face, and comes close to cutting his throat. As the guard fights for his life, he pulls his casino issued revolver and shoots the Ďslasherí in the stomach. The intoxicated combatant falls to the floor, as does the security guard due to a loss of blood. Both survive their wounds but as the security guard lies in the hospital, the casino send a representative to visit him and advise him that he no longer had a job. The "slasher," on the other hand, was paid a hefty sum to settle out of court.

Please, speak your mind

This poor employee was invited up to see the new General Manager after his company had purchased the one she had worked for years. "Please feel comfortable and tell me whatís going on here and how we can make it better," he said. At first, she was reluctant but he got her to open up. After all, she was in charge of surveillance and she knew that certain employees were stealing the joint blind, some of the gaming agents were on the take, and how a few upper management personnel were skimming funds and the security department was covering it all up. She got back to the surveillance room feeling good and knowing that she did the right thing and now those that were robbing the previous company were going to be termed if not arrested.

The next morning, before she could get to work, they called her and termed her over the phone, citing that she was not X-Company material and that they wished her luck in her future endeavors. She had moved to this state for this job, was alone, and out on the street in a month, living in a shelter while Child Services took her two children, one of which had brain cancer. She lost her car, furniture, etc. It was now winter, snowing, inhumanly cold, and she was in a strange place with no friends, due to an information leak by the casino, and had run out of resources with nobody to help. Truth is, she held out much longer than most of us would have. I went to her funeral.

So, youíre the surveillance tech? Well, I need a favor...

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