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Ask the Slot Expert: 86'd from a casino

9 March 2022

I recently received an email from someone asking for advice with a casino problem and if I had received the first email the writer had sent about the problem. I hadn't received that email. A few days later it occurred to me that I might have deleted the email without reading it because of the subject. I opened my Trash folder and, sure enough, there was the first email (subject "hope you will answer me") between "Look at private message of Blake C. who wants new love" and "NAUGHTY Mrs. Cindee Diwan and her DIRTY friends are waiting for you".

Note to writers: Ensure your subject says something about casinos.

The two emails follow. I've done minimal editing on them. I removed the "thank you in advance" lines. More importantly, I removed any information that could be used to identify the writer. Other than these edits, the emails are as I received them.

We both frequent several casinos.... I'm the bigger player (a whale) and actually won 47 jackpots in ONE week, playing max. My [spouse], in my terminology is a peanut player, hates the slots and mostly plays roulette. (says that's more of a challenge than hitting a button for CHANCE). On ticket drawings my [spouse] has won many times, by me playing my [spouse's] card to get tickets. My [spouse] has had wins in amounts of $1,000-$10,000+ (we are husband and wife and my [spouse's] money and my money is OUR money) I have won slot jackpots from $1,200-$14,814+ and recently won $25,000 on a ticket drawing, where I believe I had more tickets than anyone else. I am a top player at most casino's we visit and this particular casino, I am one of the top TEN players.

Now I hope I can receive your knowledgeably answer to my situation because I have now been banned for life.

This casino in xxxx, where 95% of the players are Latino and as far as I know ALL staff, 100% are Latino's. In the several years I have played at this casino, I have yet to see/speak with a non Latino employee. I'm thinking this may be somewhat prejudice?. By the way, we are both white Caucasian.

#1, I first encountered a problem (please read #2) where in an argument I was accused of only coming to play these machines because the jackpot was high. (excuse me but isn't this why people play certain machines, to win jackpots) they certainly don't go to a casino for the benefit of their health and I'm not liked because I'm rich and because I win a lot. Lots of remarks were made, like you are not welcome here, fu*k off, white trash.... I replied saying "don't swear at me and an argument started. My [spouse] was present and one [person] verbally abused me with fowl language and I didn't want this to end in a fight, so I told my spouse "don't stand up for me, just quiet down", which [my spouse] did. The Latin aggressors called in security. My [spouse] was playing two machines, I was only playing one machine. My [spouse] was told to give up one machine because you couldn't play two machines (Latino's are allowed to play two machine though) and I was told to leave the casino. I asked why and was told because I was using bad language. I never used bad language. I was shouting and I was angry. I actually went to the bathroom [and my spouse] retrieve our money and our cards from the machines and we left the casino. The next day, my [spouse] went to confront two Latino women that had accused my [spouse] of using bad language and they said they only told the supervisor that lie because they had to agree with their Latino friends.

#2, there are certain machines I like to play but can't because these unkind and sometimes nasty Latino's GIVE a machine they have played, to a friend, when they either want to leave or have run out of money. There have been occasions where I have waited three hours and have been unable to do anything about this problem/situation. Mostly elderly seniors play these machines from 9am-6pm, spend little money, have each other look after "their" machine, while they take a smoke break, toilet break or just do a walk around. When I finally complained about this, my Host said she would have the camera's monitor the situation. That evening as I was waiting and when a machine became vacant, as I went to play it, the person leaving said " my friend wants to play this machine" I replied "I have been waiting and she has just arrived. The Latino replied "so what". Because I had been abused so many times by many Latino's, with finger pointing and abusive remarks, like "[s/he] thinks [s/he] owns the place", I decided it was time to have my Host "do something about it". She came with a male supervisor and spoke with the person who had pushed in front of me and told her that I had been waiting to play. She was told to let me play the machine, which I did.

#3, just after I had won that $25,000, I was still experiencing animosity from many Latino's and one particular player was very aggressive towards me. On this particular incidence, I done what other Latino players had done and that was, when I got a bonus on a machine because there were lots of machines empty, I left that machine and played another because the jackpot could have been ready to drop. I had played this machine and put in about $700 but it was time to collect my tickets for the 4pm drawing. At 3.50pm I had left my card and money in the machine, turned my chair around and went to the players desk to retrieve my tickets. I happened to turn around and see this woman sit at my machine, take my card and money out and put them to the side. She then sat down and played my machine. I stopped getting my tickets, saying to the players club employee, that somebody was taking my money and playing my machine. I ran to the machine and said "what the hell do you think you are doing'?, she replied "you can't play two machines, (although many Latino's do). I picked up my card and my money ticket and went back to the machine that I had previously left on a bonus. After a couple of hits on the machine that I had been playing, the $5.690 jackpot dropped and that nasty person laughed at me with a smirk on her face. This was now the 2nd incident of unfairness I had received at this casino.

#3, I guess this is three strikes and you are out.Firstly I'm pretty rich and play at [xxx] casino every day. Some days spending $5,000+. I don't like most Latino's but I have many friends at this casino. Sometimes when I have a bonus, I walk around the casino and when I see a machine with 1c, 2c or a very small ticket amount in it and there is NO person playing that machine, no card in that machine, it has obviously been left, I have cashed out that ticket. Just for notification here, I have personally seen MANY PEOPLE do the same thing. In fact I cash out these small tickets to round up a ticket because [xxx] casino will now not take a cash adjustment but they WILL give cash change. (isn't what's good for the goose is good for the gander?) So now I'm told I'm banned for life. What a blow. I am a top player. I have earned my free play which I'm now unable to play. What should I do?

Please don't say just leave that casino and play at another one. I already play at several. Right is right and I am being dis-respected and abused through no fault of my own.

I think I need to sue this casino. So many things are NOT RIGHT. PLEASE HELP and give me your input.

And the follow-up email:

In the past week I have contacted many people, seeking "helpful" information, to do the right and correct thing, about being banned from a casino, as they have said "for taking slot machine tickets worth pennies. I'm now 100% sure that was the excuse and believe it is racially motivated. (I'm Caucasian not Latino)

With your expertise in casino's, would you at least #1, confirm you received my previous email and #2, offer any advice who I should contact to get this wrongful ban situation resolved. I have lost $350+ per week in free play, plus v.i.p. drawings and many jackpot tickets I had, where I was not allowed to attend. (the minimum points to maintain top [tier] card status is 18,000 points in a six month period, I had accumulated 16,000+ points in SIX WEEKS when I was banned and I am sure you could work out how much I had spent during that time, thousands and thousands of dollars).

I have phoned the casino several times and with the very first phone call, I was able to speak with the VP's assistant and asked her if she would make me an appointment to discus what had happened. Her reply was, "he is very busy with interviewing applicants". On my 2nd phone call, she wouldn't even answer and just switched on her voice mail machine. I left a message saying I had been treated very unfairly and I should at the very least have my side heard. My third phone call yesterday, again ignored where the voice mail said " leave a message". I did phone again this morning and left another voice mail "please show respect and at least answer if the VP, will give me the right to discus what had happened. This is not about being banned over some slot tickets worth pennies, it involves being singled out racially. I therefore should be treated with respect and dignity.

My motto in life has always been "if you can't help, don't hinder". If you have no helpful information, would you please just say so.

Well, there's a lot to unpack here.

Let's start with your first request in the second email. Yes, I did actually receive your first email. But I didn't read it at first because the subject sounded like SPAM.

Last week I wrote about my Gulf Coast friend who gets more in free play per week than I get in a month. You're another person outside Las Vegas getting free play I can only dream of.

Free play offers can be rescinded at any time. A friend went to redeem his third free play offer of the month and it wasn't available on his machine. After speaking to a few people, he found out that his remaining free play offers had been rescinded because he had redeemed too many free play offers in the past. (Which raises (not begs) the question, If you didn't want me to redeem them, why did you offer them?)

Here in Nevada, you are usually entitled to get paid for any slot club points you've earned that can be converted to cash or free play when you get banned. If the casino claims that you broke the rules in earning the points, then all bets are off. Comps and comp points are considered discretionary and you lose them.

I'm not surprised that the casino exec hasn't returned your calls. Those conversations rarely solve anything. Though I have to admit that the one time a casino restricted me, the slot director told me that I hadn't done anything wrong or illegal. He said that I knew how their system worked and I worked it too well, so they weren't going to send me any more mailers. I was still welcome to play at the casino and no one would ever approach me. I just wouldn't be able to participate in some promotions.

I think it's very unusual for a casino to ban one of its top players, unless the player is a video poker player. A casino manager once said at a seminar, "If your top players are video poker players, you have a problem."

A few people have told me that they were banned from a casino for playing or cashing out credits that they found on a machine. It's one thing if you're silver mining, walking around the slot floor looking for coins left in the coin trays and not intending to play at all. It's another thing if you're a regular player and you happen to find small change left on a machine and the owner nowhere in sight.

I've certainly played my share of abandoned credits, citing the precedent of Finders Keepers v Losers Weepers, and have never had a problem. Always small amounts that you could be pretty certain that no one was going to come back to claim.

Some jurisdictions are very strict about their abandoned credits policies and people have told me that they have gotten into trouble over a few dollars. The best thing to do is to stay away from abandoned credits.

I have to ask: You've mentioned that you were rich and you can afford big losses. Why are you bothering with chump-change credits, even if you do use them for some reason I don't understand ("I cash out these small tickets to round up a ticket because [xxx] casino will now not take a cash adjustment but they WILL give cash change")?

In your first #3, you said that you left your card and money in a machine, turned your chair around, and left the machine. Unless you have someone sitting right next to the machine to watch it for you (and maybe not even then), never leave money in a machine.

You think you were banned for racial reasons. Maybe you're right. But you've listed incidents that the casino could cite. In addition to cashing out credits, you've had multiple confrontations with other players. I don't think you can say "I am being dis-respected and abused through no fault of my own."

I don't think you can make the case that the primary reason you were banned is because you are white. "Your honor, this player repeatedly cashed out credits that belonged to other players and has been involved in multiple confrontations with other guests."

You also said, "I don't like most Latino's [sic]." Do you think your feelings might have caused the incidents you recounted to escalate?

What do you plan to sue this casino for? Money? I don't know if you can show damages from being banned. If the casino owes you cashback you earned through play, you might be able to get that through your local gaming commission.

Rescind the ban? Aside from having many friends who play at this casino, it seems like you've had many bad experiences there and management has decided that they don't want you there. A judgment in your favor won't make you any more welcome there.

If you really want to pursue this matter, you can file a complaint with your local gaming commission.

Finally, I like it when a reader knows the right answer, knows I'm going to give the right answer, and tells me not to give that answer. ("Don't tell me that the results on a machine are random.")

"Please don't say just leave that casino and play at another one."

Sorry, but that is the answer.

In your next sentence, you say, "I already play at several."

You're lucky you have other choices. Why not play at the casinos that want you?


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John Robison

John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots