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Bull Markets

Bull loose in Las Vegas, and other common oddities

Bull Markets

You know, I thought I’d seen everything in Las Vegas entertainment, but last month there was something different: the first annual Las Vegas Running of the Bull.

As in one bull.

One morning, Las Vegas police and animal control officials were advised of a bull roaming through the middle of the city. The bull in question was first spotted around 3 a.m. at Turquoise Road and Silver Lake Drive.

I know that neighborhood. Bovine animals are always hanging around, the tougher ones wearing leather jackets and smoking cigarettes.

But seriously, police and animal control followed this real, actual bull through the streets of Las Vegas. The Metropolitan Police sent out special bull-tracking helicopters to follow the bull. Elite bull-hunting SWAT teams were called out.

Remarkably, they had experience with this, as it was the second time in a year a bull took a stroll in the gaming capital.

This second time, streets were blocked off before any revelers could start running with the bull, or take him into the casinos to shoot crap. (Hey!) The authorities caught up with the bull near Washington Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard.

I believe that’s close to the Twin Lakes Country Club, so obviously, the bull was just trying to make his tee time, and someone shoots him with a tranquilizer gun and hauls him off to jail. Jeez.

(Please insert your own “shooting the bull” joke here.)

According to news reports, the apprehension of the bull was aided by two officers from the Henderson Police Department who are experienced dealing with livestock.

Thank goodness. Our office is in Henderson. It’s good to know that there are experts at hand in case a bull crashes into our conference room during a meeting. Or a milk cow, for that matter.

At press time, police were still searching for the bull’s owner. I heard the bull himself was being held without bail, out in back of the steakhouse at Binion’s.

Hey, it’s what I heard, OK?

Of course, things are much calmer on the opposite end of the U.S. casino industry. Well, mostly.

Firefighters responding to a fire at the Tropicana Atlantic City last month found that a blaze on the 44th floor had been caused by an explosion in a makeshift meth lab one of the guests had set up in his room.

Man, don’t you hate when that happens? You get a comped room at a casino hotel, and you just have your meth lab set up, and boom!

South Jersey resident Michael Pillar, 49, was arrested, and then sent to the hospital for treatment, and then to the county jail, charged with maintaining a controlled dangerous substance production facility, possession of methamphetamine and criminal mischief.

So, I’m trying to wrap my brain around the criminal genius at play here. You decide you’re going to cook up some meth, but you don’t want to attract attention in your neighborhood. So you come to the conclusion that it would be a really good idea to rent a hotel room, in your own name, at a leading Boardwalk resort, and set up your meth lab there.

“Dude, we need someplace to cook up the meth.”

“Hey, I have a free room at the Trop! Let’s do it there!”

“Great idea! I’ll bring the beer!”

For the record, the notion that it was a comped room was totally made up by me. The Tropicana is not in the business of giving free rooms to illicit drug manufacturers.

At most, they get the casino rate.

Calm down! I’m kidding!

Finally, an Oklahoma man was arrested last month at a Tulsa casino after he allegedly faked his own kidnapping and tried to collect ransom for himself from his wife and friends. He reportedly sent a message from the supposed captors to his wife’s cellphone containing a picture of a broken finger, saying they were going to “keep breaking fingers until they pay,” according to what the local police told People magazine. (Boy, not much gets past People, huh?)

The messages came from her husband’s cellphone.

Sooo… Police simply pinged the cellphone to River Spirit Casino in Tulsa, where they found the mastermind at a gaming table, carrying the cellphone used for the ransom text.

“He wasn’t very good at this,” Tulsa Deputy Chief Jason Woodruff told People.

Get this: the messages demanded that the ransom money be deposited into a PayPal account.

Doesn’t this guy watch old movies? Whatever happened to unmarked small bills?

I think he needs to find another profession.

Like cooking meth in hotel rooms.

No bull.


Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.