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Pigeons, Raptors and Sportsbooks

Bird battles at a historic hotel? I’ll bet on the raptors. And I’ll lay odds.

Pigeons, Raptors and Sportsbooks

Recently, I was impressed with the customer service at Bally’s Atlantic City when they agreed to move me from a room in the Dennis Tower to the main Bally’s Tower. My wife and I had advised them we could not stomach the Dennis room, even though were getting it for free.

We rarely reject a comped hotel room upon arrival. I once stayed free at the old Atlantic City Hilton in a room with exposed wires hanging from the ceiling. (Apparently, a rodent had hanged himself. But hey, the price was right.)

But that room at the Dennis was not designed for 21st century habitation. It was too small even for a desk to be fit in, and the configuration of the room was such that one could not see the television monitor from the bed.

Normally, none of that would be a deal-breaker. But the last straw on this particular day? Pigeons.

You see, the Dennis has these ornate windows with wide ledges. The window ledge on this particular room had obviously served as a pigeon restroom. Our view consisted of mountains of droppings, which formed a series of poop sculptures.

I swear, I thought saw a pigeon sitting there with a magazine.

Now, I can’t blame Bally’s, or parent Caesars Entertainment (“An Eldorado Company”), for the basic design of the Dennis Tower. The Dennis, after all, was a former hotel my grandparents used to frequent—first built in 1867, its heyday as a resort was in the 1920s. It was supposed to be a temporary tower when Bally’s opened in 1979, but it remained as supplemental room inventory after the new Bally’s tower went up several years later.

(They even did the Dennis up in a silly, gaudy Old West theme when the Wild Wild West casino was added in 1997. I believe the design motif was called “saloon/brothel.”)

In any event, the place was not built for the internet generation. Or, arguably, the electricity-and-running-water generation.

A lot of people stay in the Dennis Tower for nostalgia. The slot club counter is the preserved original hotel registration area. The courtyard view behind that counter is pretty much as it was in the ’20s, Bally’s having knocked down the row of cheesy souvenir shops that once blocked it.

But nostalgia or not, no one likes a room with a view that’s literally a pile of crap.

Luckily, there’s a solution, and it comes from Wynn Las Vegas. According to a report on KSNV-12 TV, Wynn is using trained raptors—as in birds of prey, not dinosaurs (although that would be really cool), or basketball players from Toronto (equally cool)—to keep the pigeons away from the resort’s pool and dining areas.

The story cited the federal Bureau of Land Management in describing raptors as various species of birds that have hooked beaks, strong feet with sharp talons, keen eyesight, and a voracious appetite for the meat of other birds. Apparently, pigeons are among raptor delicacies.

Don’t worry, though. According to the report, the mere presence of raptors is enough to discourage pigeons from even coming close—or, as the TV reporter predictably said, of “running afowl.” (Har!)

Thank goodness. My first thought was of watching a raptor tear a pigeon apart while I was sitting outside eating squab. While that would certainly make for good dinner theater, it wouldn’t make for a pleasant dining experience.

But certainly, Bally’s could let loose some trained raptors to take care of the Dennis Tower’s poop problem. Unless, of course, the seagulls would go after the raptors. Or vice versa. Then they’d have to bring in buzzards to clean up the mess.

Needless to say, that wouldn’t do much at all for the view from my room at the Dennis. But it could be used by the casino’s marketing department:

“Raptors! Seagulls! Buzzards! View the death match right from your room!” And of course, bird wagers would be accepted at the sportsbook as well.

Hey, I’m always thinking.

In other news, a man was arrested at Florida’s Immokalee Casino for punching a Quick Hit slot machine. The Bally slot title is a multiple progressive game that evidently was not paying out enough, so the guy laid a left hook on the screen (it may have been a jab; details are hazy) and literally knocked the machine out.

Police rejected the man’s argument that he saw the “Quick Hit” title and was simply following instructions. (“I hit it very quickly,” he pleaded.)

But the knockout punch was remarkable in itself. Call the marketing department.

“Man vs. Machine: Quick Hit Knockout! Bets now being accepted at the sportsbook!”

Like I said, I’m always thinking…

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.  

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