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Winners Are Not Welcome Here

22 February 2000

Park Place Entertainment, the folks who own Caesars Palace, the Las Vegas Hilton, the Flamingo Hilton, Bally's, Paris, and the Grand Casinos in Mississippi has decided to send a message to blackjack players who play smart. They are also sending a message to anyone else who plays in their casinos. That message is loud and clear and it says, "We don't want winners here! If you are not prepared to hand over your wallets when you come through the door, you are not welcome." Consider these examples:

"It's New Year's Day, about 10 pm, and the pit is empty because everybody is watching the show. I sat down to play, gave in my card, and was immediately...surrounded by the casino manager and three security guards. This was a rude barring. Read the trespass act. Cashed in my chips. Evicted from my room in the middle of the night. Escorted out the front door and off the property. My wife was almost in tears."

These are the words of a black-chip player who was tossed out of Ceasars Palace in Las Vegas on New Year's Eve. His crime? He won money by using his brain at the blackjack tables. This is the unforgivable sin to Park Place Enterprises, the folks who took over Ceasars Palace on December 29, 1999.

The player in question had been a long-time patron of Caesars. He and his wife had been invited by Caesars to join in the New Year's Eve celebration as guests of the casino. The same player went on to report, "Keep in mind that several months ago I took a BATH at this place. Got first class airfare back without having to show tickets. Got invited back for Holyfield fight with top-priced comped tickets. Got invited back RFB for New Year's. My wife said, 'Win back your money slowly. I like this place.' Okay, during the fight, I won back about 1/3 of my big loss..."

If you think being tossed out on your ear on New Year's Day is bad enough, read on. Another high-rolling blackjack player had this experience at Caesars a few days later on January 12, 2000.

"I was down a considerable amount lifetime there, at one point around 80K. And although I've gotten a decent amount back the last couple trips, I was still down over half that there. I am also well established as a player there, having checked in RFB there every trip I've taken to Vegas the last year or so, airfare, fight tickets, etc...

The assistant shift manager told me told me no BJ and I nodded and started walking for the door. He said hold on a minute, security needs to talk with you. Four security guards surrounded me and asked for my ID. I said, 'I'm not going to show you my ID as I'm not required to, but I'll leave the premises if you'd like.' They got very belligerent very fast and demanded ID, saying they would 'cuff and arrest' me if I didn't produce any. Really more on principle than anything else since I was using my real name, I again refused, thinking there was no way they would actually illegally cuff or backroom me for counting or failure to show ID. I said something like 'you know my name, I'm staying here as an invited guest.' Admittedly, my reaction was slightly belligerent, but certainly no more so than the way I was being addressed. To my surprise, they did exactly that - slapping cuffs on deliberately tightly and hauling me away in one of their cars, four guards still on me, to their backroom.

Once backroomed, I was generally threatened while still too tightly cuffed, and searched - everything on my person thrown on a table in front of me (supposedly with a camera on as I kept insisting that I was being held illegally and against my will and they better be taping this). My requests to be freed from the cuffs and released from their custody were ignored. They seemed to think the large amounts of cash and chips I had on my person were confirmation that I was doing something wrong.

Eventually, at my insistence, but not after some screwing around, someone more senior got involved and had the cuffs taken off. I was trespassed and read the Act. They ran a check through Las Vegas police to check for outstanding warrants. They told me I wasn't going to be allowed back on the premises except to be walked to my room by security, pack my stuff, and then hit the road. They told me the only way I was getting my chips cashed was if I gave them my chips then and there and a guard went over to the cage and cashed it for me, bringing me back cash. I argued about this for a while and finally let them take the chips. They didn't give me a receipt for the chips despite my request, which I think is another gaming violation, but did bring back the cash.

They then told me there were retroactively revoking my comps and presented me with a bill for the up-front comped suite - over $200 a day...  I also argued this for awhile saying I was an invited guest but they told me I was being given to Metro for arrest for defrauding an innkeeper if I didn't pay."

Caesars Palace was contacted for comments on these events. They refused to respond to a telephone inquiry and have failed to respond to a written inquiry.

There have been reports like these cropping up on the internet, all of them about incidents that have occurred in casinos owned by Park Place Enterprises.  In some of these reports, the victims claim they have been manhandled by security guards, and, in one case, the person involved said he was apprehended in the parking lot and thrown across the hood of his car. Not one of these people has been arrested or charged with a crime. Their only "crime" is the fact that they use their minds in the casinos and actually have a chance of winning money at the blackjack tables.

Is it possible that a casino which is so concerned about the possibility someone might win at its blackjack tables might also be concerned about other players who could win at other games? There have been incidents where casinos have told video poker players who don't lose enough in the long run that their business wasn't welcomed. It is not too far-fetched to suspect that a casino which has tightened down on its blackjack games has also tightened down on its slot machines.

No player can feel comfortable in a casino which kicks its invited guests out onto the street in the middle of the night. No player should feel totally safe in a casino that handcuffs one of its high rollers and subjects him to illegal detention and retroactively revokes his comps while threatening to charge him with defrauding an innkeeper. If you are planning a trip to Las Vegas or Mississippi, it might be wise to give Park Place Enterprises and its casinos a wide berth.

Editor's Note: At posting time, neither Caesars Palace nor Park Place Entertainment had responded to telephone and written inquiries concerning these incidents. We welcome any comments by Caesars Palace or Park Place executives and will post their responses on this site.

Bootlegger is a frequent contributor to various gaming web pages on the
worldwide web. His intelligent, insightful opinions and analyses have gained him quite a reputation in cyberspace as an expert who knows the games and understands the gambler.
Bootlegger is a frequent contributor to various gaming web pages on the
worldwide web. His intelligent, insightful opinions and analyses have gained him quite a reputation in cyberspace as an expert who knows the games and understands the gambler.