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Taxi! Take Me To Philly!

People who rob casinos never were very bright.

Taxi! Take Me To Philly!

People who rob casinos never were very bright. But these days, it seems the typical casino thief has an IQ lower than a major gaming stock. Hey!

Is this thing on?

(Sorry about that. Just trying to keep things topical, you know?)

In the old days, of course, you had to be off your nut to even try to rob a casino. You’d be sticking up Jimmy “No-Nose” Vespuci, or Rocco “Fathead” Gomboli (who, incidentally, had a fat head), or Vito “Head Blown Off With A Shotgun” Anunciado (who got his head, well, you know).

Sure, you may even get out the front door of the casino after the robbery. But eventually, what was left of you would be inserted into the desert sand somewhere outside of town.

(By they way, back when I used to play the casino lounges with Sinatra, they called me Frank “Frankie Tunes” Legato.)

After the “Boys” all left town (they did, didn’t they?) some thieves were emboldened, and decided to rob casinos. Incredibly, many still do, even though a casino is quite possibly the most watched, video-recorded kind of business in the world, outside of maybe a bank. (Maybe.) Out of all the possible places to rob, picking a casino is just all kinds of stupid. And, the numbskullery of the thieves is reaffirmed in the accounts of just about every job.

Just look at the stories we brought you this year. There was that one gang made up of employees of a casino who wore their work uniforms, with name tags, while they were robbing their own casino. Then, there was that guy who used his playe’s club card while illegally raking money from a malfunctioning machine. And the couple who used their player’s clubs cards while pumping counterfeit bills into a slot. (“Hey, we wanted a free buffet!”)

Then, there was one that happened just before press time. I’ll just bet the guy’s in jail by the time you read this.

It happened at Fitzgeralds in Downtown Las Vegas. Our bone-headed “perp” had just been thrown out of the Golden Nugget, for causing a ruckus that was duly recorded on video, all the way from the ruckus site to the front door.

So he goes from the Nugget into Fitzgeralds, where he marches up to the casino cage and demands money, because you know, he wants it, and you’ll be in trouble if you don’t give it to him. He
didn’t show a gun, but in such situations cashiers are instructed to turn over the money without argument.

Know why they’re supposed to give it right up? Because there are, like, a hundred video cameras watching the cage and the area right around it. No mask, not even a hanky in front of his face. I saw some of the images of the guy. They could be his driver’s license photo.

But there’s more. After he gets his sack of money, the guy walks out the front door and hails a cab. He gets in a Las Vegas taxi and rides away.

Listen, if you can’t at least spring for a getaway car, you’re in the wrong racket, bub.

Let’s review. There’s a video of the guy at the Golden Nugget. There’s a video of him doing the robbery. The cab driver can identify him.

If this guy isn’t caught by the time this magazine hits the streets, I’ll open a casino in Philadelphia.

I’m pretty safe in saying that, because I happen to think a few new species will evolve before a casino actually opens in Philly.

(In case you didn’t notice, I just did one of those masterful segues I do sometimes, and went to a completely different subject. Just thought I’d mention it in case you didn’t notice.)

Foxwoods Philadelphia has the best chance of opening a casino, because the city actually has given them zoning approval to convert part of what was an upscale mall downtown into the casino. But I’m still not convinced, because practically everyone in the adjacent neighborhood is against it. They’re mad as hell, and Philly residents overturn cars when their team wins the World Series.

Over at the site of the other project, SugarHouse, they’ve displayed the patience of Job, but they’ve got to be getting near the breaking point. They’ve got archeologists digging up the ground at the site (for crying out loud!) looking for some 18th century watering hole where big thinkers used to gather, and think big.

SugarHouse officials say they’re not moving their project, but I happen to think they’ve got about as good a chance of building on that site as they do of staging a successful casino robbery and hailing a cab afterwards.

See how everything ties up nicely in your monthly “Frankly Speaking” column?

Frankie Tunes signing off. Good night, and good luck.

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.