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Odds and Ends

The lighter side of casino news

Odds and Ends

I was just sitting here reading the stacks of newspapers from all over the world that I have delivered to my front door every day.

Hey, how else can I keep up on all the casino news every month? It’s not like there’s some magical machine with a video screen that lets me type “casino” in and instantly gives me all the related news stories. (What a crazy idea.)

Anyway, I decided to take a few casino-related items from the news and extract a bit of humor, complete with professional-looking bullet points:

• The trial of the group that allegedly conspired to rob the Rio last February is not short of its amusing little subplots. For instance, suspect Hiroyuki Yamaguchi allegedly drove a “getaway taxi” after the robbery. He is accused of dropping the other robbers off and waiting for them until after they had robbed the casino at gunpoint—one of them, according to witnesses, “wearing a fedora hat, a wig, a fake mustache and sunglasses.”

First, what was the other guy wearing? A clown suit and a funny nose? Secondly, a “getaway taxi?” What was Yamaguchi going to do if someone else got in the taxi? Cut them in? But it gets better. There’s a camera in the taxi, so there’s a video record of the robbers getting in with the chips they robbed.

Yes, we have real criminal masterminds in this business.

Incidentally, Yamaguchi appeared in court with an interpreter, because he doesn’t speak English. (Evidently, they didn’t want to raise suspicion by employing an English-speaking taxi driver.)

• Anti-gaming folks in Australia are up in arms over “Slotomania,” the popular free Facebook game that simulates playing a video slot. They are upset that minors are able to sign on and learn how to play the “pokies,” as they’re called down there.

Ah, it reminds me of my own childhood, when I sat in my playpen with my Fisher-Price toy slot machine (“My First Slot”).

Seriously, though, this may or may not be cause for concern, but it’s not like kids are shielded from gambling without “Slotomania.” Why, I remember gambling away my baseball cards when I was a kid—even though “flipping cards” was technically a skill game. And, what about learning how to play poker and blackjack as a kid? Didn’t that train us for our later encounters across the felt tables?

These kids may be learning how to watch spinning reels and little cartoons, but they’re also learning how to win less than their initial bets. That last little lesson may actually cure them from wanting to play the pokies.

• With casinos approved in Massachusetts, it appears Bostonians are inflicted with gambling fever, or what we in the trade like to call “gaming fever.” Just look at the charity event being held the week after the Super Bowl.

The Boston Bruins hockey team, taking advantage of the fact the football season will be over, is holding a charity event in which Bruins fans can play blackjack, poker and roulette with their heroes. You can go to “Bruins Casino Night” to play blackjack with Patrice Bergeron, Tim Thomas, Milan Lucic and other Bruins stars.

Yes, hockey fans, spirited fights are expected, and even encouraged. Watch for the high stick across the chops after the player on third base takes the dealer’s bust card by splitting 10s. The ensuing melee will clear both benches. It will be a good way for Boston fans to blow off steam after football season. (I’m writing this in January, so I don’t even know if the New England Patriots were in the Super Bowl. Were they? No, don’t tell me. I like to be surprised.)

• Now that Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson has contributed $20 million to Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s Super-PAC, how is Newt going to repay him?

At press time, our beloved Las Vegas oddsmakers had Newt as an 18-1 longshot to be elected president. So that means he’s probably not going to be president. Since no gift goes unpunished, I’m imagining walking into Sands Bethlehem some day and being greeted by the ex-Speaker of the House. I’m hoping he’ll have a huge novelty gavel in his hand.

I love that we can get odds on anything in Las Vegas, by the way. I think you can get 100,000-to-1 that the world’s going to end this year. One problem: If you win, you won’t be able to collect.

Oh, well. It won’t matter anyway. Have a lucky day!


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.