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The Bear Growls

By LVBear

Las Vegas blackjack player, casino critic, and frequent BJ21.com contributor LVBear offers his opinions on things that sometimes go wrong in the world of casinos. You can contact LVBear at LVBear584@cox.net

The Bear Growls:  Grand Sierra -- "Luxury resort" meets sweatshop operator

The former Reno Hilton is now the independently-owned Grand Sierra. The new casino management is turning it into a grind joint. I donít think sweatshop operator Navegante Group, which manages four dumps in downtown Las Vegas as well as the Fandango in Carson City, was a good choice to manage this casino.

The former $25 minimum single-deck table was recently reduced to $10 minimum, even on swing shift, making it unplayable due to overcrowding. It appears that all but the lowest-level players are now unwelcome. Most of the current patrons are red-chip grinders. The cage will cash only $500 in other Reno casinos' chips.

The same mostly unfriendly dealers and pit staff are still there. The place needs a blood transfusion. I observed two pit critters go out of their way to be ridiculously unreasonable to a carnival game black-chip player, making the player so disgusted with their stupidity that he picked up his pile of chips and left. I overheard a dealer lying to a patron, telling him the 6 to 5 single deck is a better game than the 3 to 2 single deck because the 3 to 2 is D10.

The now-independent sports book has lowered its limits, apparently trying to get rid of all but the smallest bettors. The college football totals max bet has been reduced -- first to $500, then reduced again to just $300.

This place should be trying to appeal to upscale business travelers due to its location near the airport, not to the lowest-level patrons. It looks like the casino and sportsbook management is in conflict with the ownership's plans. Hotel ownership apparently correctly wants to cultivate high-end patrons, as indicated on its website:

Welcome to the Grand Sierra Resort, the destination playground that promises to give "luxury" a bold new meaning. Sophistication meets simplicity. Elegance meets exuberance. Signature dining meets luxury-boutique shopping. Inventive nightlife meets the boundless possibilities of Reno/Lake Tahoe, America's greatest wide open.

But maybe ownership failed to inform the casino and sportsbook, which appear to have taken the opposite approach by doing all they can to chase off  high-end patrons. Unless ownership quickly replaces the current incompetent management, I think it is doomed to failure. Reno doesn't need another boarded-up casino. I hope they take corrective action and are able to survive.

The Bear Growls:  Where is the outrage?

Congress has finally succeeded in its long-standing efforts to bully offshore sportsbook and online casino operators.  With the many serious problems facing our nation and the world, to see these public officials wasting public resources on this nonsense is truly sickening.

I am amazed at the lack of public outcry over the disgusting actions of the U.S. government. With the popularity of casinos in general, one would think that  people would be outraged by  this horrible attack on our civil liberties, and monumental waste of taxpayer money.  But I suppose one should never underestimate the stupidity of Congress, other government officials, or the general public ("good casino customers").

The Bear Growls:  Harrah's guard stabbing case jury got it right

The guy who stabbed the Harrah's guards in Tahoe was acquitted. What is interesting is that the defense used the theory similar to a skilled patron not complying with the demands of casino guards; i.e., it is the guards who committed assault and/or battery and we are forced into self-defense mode. Though I have no personal knowledge of this case except for what has been in the news, it appears that this jury got it right.

I am certainly not advocating stabbing casino guards, but it is good to see that this jury apparently didnít blindly buy into the story that casino guards have to resort to violence against a patron simply because they want to eject him from the premises.

I would like to read the transcript about what "training" regarding use of force the guards testified that they received, if any.   I would guess that one or both of the following caused the guard to react violently against Mr. Ready:

(a)  Bad or non-existent training by the employer;
(b) The guard who instigated the violence is not fit for the job he holds.

If (a) is correct, I hope the guards involved sue Harrah's for their injuries.  I also hope that Mr. Ready sues Harrah's and everyone involved for compensation for the ten months gone from his life.

Attempted murder suspect Justin Ready testified Thursday that he feared for his life when three casino security guards detained him in a darkened room and placed him in what he described as a chokehold. ...

He testified he was willing to leave the casino, but was attacked by the guards before he had a chance. ...

A casino security guard testified Wednesday morning about the training involved in his job, handling disruptive patrons and details about the night when he was stabbed in the neck. ...

Defense attorney Dirk Manoukian said Ready, a Bay Area dj known as MC Fader, acted in self defense. ...

"You see Mr. Gontang (the guard) assault Justin, push him against the wall," Gardner said after viewing the videotape. "Nothing occurred prior to justify that." ...

The security guard's behavior "takes a situation that wasn't going to be a problem and raises the temperature considerably," Gardner said. ...

 

The Bear Growls:  Soaring Eagle actions are beyond stupid

From the article at:

http://www.cm-life.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2006/04/26/444ee7a2604a3

Lansing man faces casino larceny charges

Timko said he cashed out the $20 in credit left on the slot machine and deposited it into his machine, which was nearby. After playing for nearly 45 minutes, the older couple came back and asked him if he had taken the credits left in the slot machine, Timko said. He denied he had taken the credits because he said he did not want to argue with the couple and was unsure what action to take.

Timko should have returned the $20 in slot credits to the "older couple" instead of lying about it. But the casino pursuing it to the degree that it did is beyond stupid. A casino employee with common sense probably could have mollified the couple by giving them the $20 and a dinner comp. A police officer with common sense could have recommended that. Perhaps this was done and the couple still wasn't satisfied, in which case they are the unreasonable ones. But I don't think the casino should have gotten further involved to the point of calling Timko at his home. Granted, Timko appears to be a jerk. But the casino should have made the couple whole and a little more, and that should have been the end of it. We're talking about a petty amount of money here; the apparent overreaction by everyone involved is absurd. Someone with sense should have stopped this before it spun out of control, now wasting taxpayer money, too. Where do casinos find the people who handle things in this manner?

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