Casinos

by Arnold Nelson

    I spent 15 years working in Casinos in Laughlin Nevada. First I was a change person (someone who used to pushed change carts around and sell change before they quit putting change in slot machines.). Then as a sports book writer (someone who printed and cashed tickets on horse racing and sporting events). Also I worked in the main cage a short while (cashing winning slot machine tickets and cashing in chips). I worked in internal maintenance for a while too (sweeping floors and cleaning messes). So I know what goes on behind the scenes in casinos. I have been thinking about this a long time. I will tell you some of the things that happened to me and some of the things I saw and heard. If you want to know what greed is spend some time working in a casino. All you ever here is gimmee gimmee gimmee. Some of those people get really upset when they can't get everything they want.

    We will start when I was pushing a change cart. When you turn in cash you are suppose to clip bills together in groups of 25. There is a right and wrong way to clip money too. One day shortly after I started working in casinos two supervisors came up to me and were going to teach me the proper way to clip money. The problem was they could not agree on the proper way to clip money.

      One day I was working in my bank (we all had banks on the floor to keep extra coins and cash in). I heard something and I looked around the door. There was a lady sitting at the closest machine and she was sitting with her knees facing me. She had on a short skirt and her legs were spread. I could not help but see everything she had.

     You have to be very careful in casinos to protect all the casino's money. You let your guard down for an instant and someone will taken everything they can get from you. One change person was not careful one day. She left a stack of cash on top of her bank and it disappeared in a hurry. It was probably about 2 or 3 thousand dollars.

    The first Sports book I work in you had to be buddy-buddy with the boss or you didn't get very far. I never played those games so needless to say I didn't get very far. The others could get up have a smoke break, talk or do whatever they wanted. Every time I tried, I got in trouble. I had one good friend in there. She told me couple of times she could not believe how bad they treated me. I took it for a year and a half then I left when they promoted a guy with less experience over me because his father was buddy-buddy with the boss.

    Then I spent a year sweeping floors. Let me tell you that was a job. One day there was this women who heaved all over a slot machine. She refused to leave it. Finally we had to practically pull her off the machine so we could clean it up.

     One of the first jobs I was assigned was to clean up where someone crapped on the floor. There was one big long turd sitting there. I could not believe it. There was an up side to internal maintenance we were always finding things. I must have turned in at least 5 or 6 purses and wallets. I also turned in a camera (which I got back). When you turn in money or valuables you get a receipt and if it is not claimed in 6 weeks you got it back. So we all always had a handful of receipts we were waiting to expire.

      After a year I could not take it anymore and went back to the sports book (a different casino this time, a much better sports book). I was happy in there I got along pretty well with most of the people. I remember one Easter I came to work (I had the late shift). One of my fellow workers got 6 plastic Easter eggs and hid them around my area. So when I cam to work I had to find them. There was candy in some I think there was a penny in one and a nickel in another.

      The big problem with Sports books is that people make there bets and don't bother checking their tickets. We are human we make mistakes and if they check their tickets when they get them and there is a mistake we are only too happy to correct it for them. After the race or game is over it is too late to do anything. Some people really throw a fit when they find a mistake after the race and we can't do anything about it. Once in a while they will give the customers a comp (free drink or meal) to try and calm them down.

      There are also a bunch of lowlifes that hang around Sports books. They make one bet then sit around and drink all day. One of those lowlifes is the only person ever to accuse me twice of cheating him. When someone claims they have been cheated a supervisor comes over and counts the money if you are over you return the money to them. I knew I didn't cheat him but to get him off my back I had them count my bank both times, and both times my bank was right.

      We had one writer that was on a short fuse. He was always yelling at somebody about something. He had time on the street twice because of his temper (Time off without pay). One day he chewed me out in front of a customer (which is never suppose to happen) and accused me of putting racing results in the wrong place. It turned out I put them in the right place the supervisor came out after I put them up and not paying attention, like usual, she put them in the wrong place.

     We had one supervisor who was very smart (I never saw anyone pick up the Sports book computer any faster. After he got the ticket writing down he decided he wanted to be supervisor so he was training for that. He did not like the Employee dining room at all. So he would write comps for the deli and get whatever anyone else wanted too . So they would not complain to the boss. There were two people trying for the position. The kid and a man about 35 who I think would have made a great supervisor. The man got tired of all the stuff going on and quit just before the decision was made. The kid was fired about 2 weeks later for stealing (not from the casino but from his fellow workers). Him and his friend would close up and before they put the tips in the safe they would each take some money out (We all put our tips together and every 2 weeks they were separated and handed out). They got caught because one of the morning people kept track of what he put in there and he would check what was put in the safe.

      The same time there was another writer that tried to cover up a shortage by handing in duplicate tickets. With all the checks and balances in a casino it was found in a hurry and she was gone.

     We had another supervisor shortly after that. She was referred to as the default supervisor. The only reason she was made supervisor is no one else wanted the job. She was not a very good supervisor. She tried to change everything we had been doing for years and do it her was. Luckily she didn't stay very long, she got a job with the state of California and was gone.

     Alcohol is a big problem in casinos. People don't know when to stop. We had one man in the Sports book that had serious problems with it. He would come in and spend all afternoon betting and drinking. He was a nice guy, never caused any problems but after a couple of drinks he would forget where the bathroom was and just wet his pants. When he was tired he would just stagger out the door and get in his car and drive home. Last time I saw him he didn't make it to his car. He was passed out on a bench just outside the casino door. I told my friend who was supervisor at the time he told me to just go home he would take care of it. He got security and went out and got him up and sent him on his way.

     The last job I had in a casino was main cage banker. It was not a hard job I worked graveyard so it was usually slow. The biggest problem I had was shortly after I started one of the shift managers left so they promoted the main banker to shift manager and the guy that filled in on the main bank was full time banker. He was another one of those that came to work with a chip on his shoulder and took it out on everyone, Especially me since I had to work with him the most.

     He always had me uptight and it is hard to work when you are constantly afraid to say or do anything. The shift supervisor would hide in her office or be out wandering around the casino on a smoke break most of the time, so it was just him and me. I would ask for my breaks when it was time he would always say wait a few minutes until I am done here. 15 or 20 minutes later he would say I am taking a smoke break then you can have you break. It was like I was nothing as long as he got his work done and smoke breaks every hour I didn't matter.

     I would complain to the head of the cage every so often. It would get better then 3 or 4 weeks later it would be about the same. One morning Just before I left he really got me upset. The casino had a policy that if you finished your work early, clock out. They were trying to save money and they figured if they could get people to clock out early they could save money by not having to pay people for the last fifteen minutes even though we usually worked at least 10 of those minutes. I finished my work a few minutes early, saw that the supervisor was out on a smoke break again (casino policy states there has to be at least 2 people in the cage at all times). That meant I could not leave. It happened quite often so I got used to having to stay a little bit later. This morning for some reason he yelled at me to clock out and then wait around. I told him If I clock out I am going home. We argued a little more about it finally I got mad and started to walk out. He yelled at me to get back in there he could not be left alone in there. When I went back in the cage he said I am calling security. When the security got there I clocked out and went home. I was so upset I could not go to bed like I normally did. I drove to another casino and played a few hours until I calmed down.

      You would not believe some of the things you see working graveyard shift in a casino. I will tell you about 2 that stick in my mind. One night about 2 am four men and a lady walked in. You could tell they had been drinking. They walked over to the crap table and 2 started to play. The other were standing next to the lady and running their hands all over her. One time she had an itch so she lifted the back of her skirt up to her waist and scratched. It was easy to see there was nothing but her under the skirt.

     Another morning about 7. I was walking across the casino and a young lady was walking towards me. She had on low cut jeans and had her hands in her front pockets. That pushed the front of her jeans down farther and I could see about 1/4 inch of pubic hair.

      One more story I would like relate. About 3 am one morning, this big man came to my window and put two black chips down and told me to cash them. I said I could not because it was casino policy not to cash black ($100) chips from other casinos. So he picked up the chips and left. About 1/2 hour later he came back (I could tell he had been drinking) and accused me of stealing his chips. I said I never touched them. I took one look at them and knew I could not cash them so I left on the counter and watched him pick them up. He went to the main banker and told him I took his chips. The main banker came to me and asked me what happened so I told him. He went back and told the man I didn't take his chip he must have put them somewhere. The man left, about an hour later we get a call from the other casino saying I took the man's chips. The main cashier explained the whole story to the other cage. About 2 hours later the other casino called back. The chips were found the wife had them all the time.

     When people get mad because you won't or can't do what they say most say the same thing. They say I'll have your job for that! I have a pat answer for that. I tell them If you can take my job that easy, do it. They have no response to that so they just walk away. I had one person one day come up with a different response when I told him it was against the rules he said rules were made to be broken I responded by saying not by me they aren't . He had no answer so he just walked away.

       That is the biggest problem in casinos too many people are willing to break or bend the rules to keep a customer happy. If everyone stuck by the rules and quit letting unruly customers push them around things would be a lot better in casinos. The almighty dollar rules the casinos. People with money can get almost anything they want and some push it to the limit. That makes it hard on the regular casino workers just trying to make a living.

      Next time you are in a casino think about the workers in the casinos and how hard they have it. Be nice to them they deserve it. Most are doing a great job under adverse conditions. I will end with one more short story.

       Shortly after I started wearing a cross one of my coworkers came up to me and said Do you really think God belongs in here. I answered without even thinking God belongs anywhere I am. If God doesn't belong there then I don't. He didn't have an answer to that. One of the few times that guy didn't get the last word in.

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