Crime and Horseshoes

Amusing buffoonery in the casino industry

Crime and Horseshoes

It’s the new year, so I guess this is where we talk about our New Year’s resolutions. My first resolution is to give up watching the news. I think I’ll be happier off the news grid.

Unless, of course, it’s news about amusing buffoonery in the casino industry. Like sword robberies, lawsuits and Meyer Lansky.

My other resolution is to improve the segues in my columns.

Anyway, casinos have had their share of robberies over the past decade. A lot of casino robbers use a gun and a ski mask, although some have been known to sport motorcycle helmets and ninja outfits.

(My favorite story is the inside job where employees put on masks to rob their own casino cage but forgot to take off their uniforms and name tags.)

Well, it appears things are getting a little more theatrical in the casino robbery business. At press time, police in Rapid City, South Dakota were searching for two men accused of robbing a casino with a sword. Police say the men walked into the East St. Pat Casino one night, displayed the sword and took money from a clerk.

Police officers have found the sword, but not the robbers.

That’s all the information out there on this story. I don’t know about you, but I need more. Were they dressed like pirates? Hey, if you’re going to use a sword, you may as well give it some flair. “Hand over the doubloons before I skewer ye, matey… Arrrr!”

Or maybe they dressed like samurai warriors? That would have been cool too. And if they had a big, cool sword, why did they end up throwing it away? They could use it again to entertain casino patrons elsewhere.

One Adam 12… Swashbuckling Errol Flynn lookalike robbing casino cages at swordpoint… Be on the lookout for men in tights…

Incidentally, if you understand the opening of the bit in italics above, congratulations. You are old like me.

Look, this is the casino industry. If you’re going to do something like this, at least throw some entertainment into the effort. Otherwise, you’re just a desperate nutball in a winter coat and fuzzy hat carrying a big sword.

And by the way, any word on why security didn’t notice a couple of guys wandering around with a machete, a cutlass or whatever the heck it was? Maybe everybody in South Dakota carries swords around.

Next up, you may recall that way back in March, I made fun of the fact that Horseshoe Cincinnati had given itself the nickname “The Shoe.” It appears that Ohio State University doesn’t think it’s so funny.

The university’s Ohio Stadium, built in 1922 and the home of the Ohio State Buckeyes football team, was nicknamed “The Horseshoe” and “The Shoe” long before it was decided Ohio would be a boffo place for casinos.

Because, you know, it’s shaped like a horseshoe.

The university was OK with Benny Binion calling his joint the Horseshoe, and with other casinos dubbed Horseshoe by the former Harrah’s Entertainment. But evidently, a line was crossed when the Cincinnati casino folks started referring to their building as “The Shoe,” and attempted to trademark the nickname in 2013.

Ohio State, it turns out, had registered “The Shoe” as a trademark seven years earlier, and uses it on a variety of merchandise depicting the stadium. The school is suing the casino for trademark infringement.

They could change the name of the casino anyway. It’s being sold to Rock Gaming, so Caesars’ Horseshoe moniker doesn’t apply anymore. And besides, Horseshoe Cincinnati isn’t shaped like either a shoe or a horseshoe.

It looks a little like a mall, if you ask me. Fair Oaks Mall, Casino, Hotel & Spa? They could add a Sears and a Macy’s.

Just call it Buckeye Casino. No one’s using that name, right?

Finally, the family of the late gangster Meyer Lansky is asking the government of Cuba, newly normalized pals of the U.S., if they can be compensated for a Havana casino hotel seized after Cuba’s 1959 revolution.

Lansky owned the Habana Riviera, opened only two years before the revolution.

Yes, that’s right. He was Hyman Roth in Godfather II.

Well, Gary Rappaport of Tampa, Lansky’s grandson, says compensation is in order because the still-new hotel was smashed by rebels and siezed by the Communists, right after Michael Corleone figured out Fredo had sold him out to Johnny Ola.

Next, the U.S. government will compensate the descendants of Tony the Ant Spilotro for the money lost when they shut down the Stardust skimming operation. (Yes. Nicky Santoro in Casino.)

Hey, maybe the South Dakota robbers can get their sword back.

Frank Legato
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 recently published book on gaming, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying.