THE NEW YEARS EVE THAT ALMOST WASNíT
by Vinny DeCarlo
The following article is from Vinny DeCarlo, who passed away in June 2014. I received this article (and several others) from Vinny just prior to his passing. As a tribute to Vinny, I decided to publish them in BJI.
Note: As many long-time BJI subscribers know, Vinny was often very critical about how casinos ran their operations (especially their surveillance and security departments) and he wasnít afraid to say so in the true stories he wrote in the BJI. Vinny DeCarlo is also the author of the ground-breaking book for card counters, How to Beat Casino Surveillance Ė Insiderís Secrets for Card Counters which we published.
New Yearís Eve in Vegas is like bare boobs at Mardi Gras; itís an event that people look forward to all year. Numerous new casinos fight to open just before New Yearís Eve because this is their biggest money-making holiday, and to miss out on this kind of income and profit would be ridiculous and costly.
On another point, desert storms in the Vegas area are as common as, well, bare boobs at Mardi Gras. When they hit, the hot desert air is like a playground for lightning; moreover, if it rains, the desert floods within minutes. In fact, if you try to drive through the underpass (above is I-15) by the Palace Station casino on Sahara Ave. during a rain storm, plan on making the news (They will show the local fire department attempting to rescue you while your car is sinking in this area of Vegas well known for flooding.)
Now let me get back to the main point of this article.
I was working at a Strip casino and just arrived home for the night when I received a call stating, "We just took a direct lightning strike! We lost all of our cameras. The room is dark (no power)." I jumped on my bike and made it back to the casino in record time.
Within 10 minutes, I had all the fixed (none moving) cameras repaired but the PTZís (movable cameras) were all torched. The electric current hit so hard that it by passed the safety fuse and fried the circuit boards. This incident occurred the night before New Yearís Eve; and by Gaming Law, we had to shut the casino down due to a lack of surveillance coverage.
Every single room was booked and the 100,000 square foot of gaming space was already packed. I was looking at making a decision that had no correct answer, and either way, it would cost me my job if I got caught.
Within minutes, I had concocted a plan; however, I needed every surveillance employee to back me since I didnít want it to bite me in the butt in the future. Everyone agreed because we knew our jobs were in jeopardy.
I implemented my plan by first calling a true friend and explained to him my predicament. I had enough parts to fix maybe, at best, two cameras out of 90. It was now 9 pm, the night before New Yearís Eve.
My friend Don answered his phone and I asked him what he was up to. He said that he was at dinner with his wife, celebrating their wedding anniversary. I told him my problem and he replied, "Iím on my way." (BTW: She later divorced him.)
When Donny arrived, he advised me that he had made numerous calls on the way over and that one casino located close to the Stratosphere had just upgraded their surveillance system and had almost 70 of the exact same PTZ cameras that were in good working order, including boxes of parts. He called the surveillance director at this casino, whom weíll call Kim, and after listening to our dilemma, thought for a minute and replied...
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