Casino Stories | The Laziest of Scam Artists
“Security to M.O.D.” the voice on the radio hanging from my hip squawked.
“We have a Guest Opportunity over by the Rewards Kiosk.”
M.O.D. stands for Manager On Duty and is the day to day title of all five managers we have on the tiny casino property. I am the SportsBook Manager but when I am on shift, I am managing all five of our areas of business: SportsBook, Slots & Beverage, Marketing, Cage, and the Truck Plaza across the street.
A ‘Guest Opportunity” is casino-speak for a customer problem. I like seeing it as an opportunity as it is my chance to confront a problem someone is having and turn it into a positive if possible.
This particular opportunity looked like Kevin Federline post-Britney: white, bad tattoos everywhere, a ball cap slightly tilted sideways, a blank stare in his eyes. He was holding two Pick & Play tickets.
“Yeah. Don?” He read my name tag. It’s still a bit weird that as soon as the guests can see your name, they speak to you with a familiarity as yet unearned. “I did the football picks for this thing and now I can’t cash them out.”
“Ah. Well Kevin,” I replied as I looked at the tickets with his name on them. “These are your picks for football games being played next week. You haven’t won anything until the games have been played. Also, this promotion doesn’t pay back cash but free play so, if you win next week, it will show up on your card.”
“Oh. I don’t have time to wait until next week. Is there any way to cash them out now?”
“Sorry. It doesn’t work that way. Your picks are your prediction of the winners of these…sixteen? Sixteen games. You don’t get a payout until those games have been played. Does that make sense?”
He shuffles his feet, thinking hard. “OK. I get that. I just thought…I guess I’m going to go gamble but I didn’t get any free play when I signed up for the card.”
“We don’t give free play for sign ups. Some properties do but we have different promotions. If you use your card and play the slots, you rack up points. Those points can get you free drinks, cigarettes, gas.”
“Any way I could get some now?”
“Nope. Gotta play some first.”
“OK. I got a dollar so I’m gonna go play and get some free drinks. You get free drinks when you play, right?”
“Kevin? Before you head over there and then yell at one of my servers when they refuse you free drinks, I need to tell you that you’re not going to get comp drinks for playing a dollar. You need to play a bit more than that to get a comp drink.”
“But that’s how it works. You play and get free drinks. A real casino gives you free drinks.”
“I hate to break it to you but no casino — real or otherwise — is going to comp you drinks on one dollar of play. Play a twenty and you might get a beer out of us but nothing for a dollar.”
Kevin shrugs. He walks away to play his single dollar. I go about the business of working the floor.
Thirty minutes later.
“Security to M.O.D. That guy you were talking to earlier wants to talk to you at the Rewards Kiosk.”
Kevin holds up his phone. On it is a screenshot of his Players Card Account from the app. “Hey. See? I got 21,000 points. Can I get some drinks or something?”
“You managed to get 21,000 points in thirty minutes on one dollar? I find that difficult to believe.”
He thrusts the phone in my face. “But it says it right here!”
“Kevin. I don’t want to insult your integrity but I have players who bet $800 a spin who couldn’t get 21,000 points in a half hour. Let’s check your card to see your points.”
The phone comes back up. “But it’s right here.”
I take the card, put it in the system. Zero points. I show him the screen and the remarkable lack of 21,000 points.
“Don, it’s right here on my phone, man!”
“Kevin. Again, not to insult you but that is the laziest, most uninspired scam I’ve seen to date. I can take my phone, take a screenshot, use the mark up and add numbers. I’m certainly not the savviest of managers but that ploy is just too obvious and too dumb.”
He puts the phone in his back pocket and shuffles his feet. “You’re not mad at me, are you?”
“Nah. I am going to ask you to move on from the casino unless you miraculously have more than that one dollar. You gotta play to stay, my friend.”
Kevin shakes my hand as if to say no hard feelings and splits.
Forty-five minutes later as I’m doing a property walk, I spy Kevin walking through the hotel, checking doors to see if they are unlocked.
“Kevin!” I bark. “Now you have to get off the property.”
“Oh. Yeah. OK.”
I watch him stiff leg walk across the street and into the night, looking for someplace that will buy into his con.
The other managers chastise me some for being “too nice.” I may be too nice but I’m far from stupid.