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About The Bear

LV Bear is a longtime advantage player based in Las Vegas with extensive knowledge of the gaming industry.

The comments were originally made in the free newsletter and/or the Green Chip member pages. Some of the comments were also published in the newsletter.

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Sunset Station’s false imprisonment of two “good casino customers”

By LVBear | October 2, 2015

Sunset Station (from its website)

The below information was posted on Green Chip. I copied the post verbatim.

This case, a couple of years old, was recently brought back to my attention. I think it’s of sufficient general interest to post it here instead of on Law and Taxes because it is illustrative of the incompetence and lack of integrity that we potentially face every day in our interactions with casino personnel. The two documents linked below are the best brief summaries of the entire case; they point out the many blunders and worse, the inconsistencies of the accounts of the incident by various employees involved, each apparently trying to blame someone else for what was done to the two patrons. As plaintiffs’ attorneys wrote, “This is a case about a failure to take responsibility.”

After dragging the case out until just before jury trial, Sunset Station eventually privately settled with the two “good casino customers” involved (there is no indication that they were advantage players). In my opinion, reasonable management would have settled to the victims’ satisfaction long before a lawsuit had to be filed. My guess is that the two victims would have settled for less than they eventually received. Sunset Station would also have saved attorney fees.

I like the plaintiffs’ attorneys naming in the lawsuit as an individual defendant the worst offender and apparent enabler of the mess that transpired, Shift Manager Vinny Gilvarry. Though Mr. Gilvarry tried to place the blame on others, it is good that such misbehavior and apparent lack of candor in legal proceedings is brought into the public eye. Because this is all public record, it should act as a cautionary note should any other casino want to hire this individual in the future, and possibly create liability for negligent hiring should he become involved in a similar incident.

Gilvarry points the finger at his supervisor, Alida Del Fonte for the arrest.(*) See Exh. D, Depo. of Gilvarry, 3l:6-11. Conversely, security shift supervisor David Clark and security officer Joseph Emerson point the finger at surveillance agent Jose Gonzales and Gilvarry. See Exh. G, Security Report, l; Exh. F, Depo. of Clark, 22:18-23:8; Exh. G, Security Report, Emerson Voluntary Statement. In an attempt to further shift blame, Gonzales points the finger at Gilvarry. See Exh. E, Surveillance Report, l.

(*) The Court will note that despite the fact that Gilvarry denies ordering the custody, Defendants admit in their motion for summary judgment that he ordered the detention. See Def. Mtn,4-2l-23.

Of all the incompetence, two things struck me as particularly loathsome and ridiculous: (1) Mr. Vilgarry telling the patrons, “You are under arrest” but later lying about his involvement, and (2) after Sunset Station realized its mistake and that no crime had been committed, continuing to falsely imprison the victims and subsequently trespassing them. Why would Sunset Station want to trespass these folks?

The first link below is an Opposition filed by plaintiff’s attorneys to a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Sunset’s and Gilvarry’s attorneys. (The motion was denied by the Court.) The second link is a report on the incident by the plaintiffs’ expert.

Topics: Casino Executives, Las Vegas, Nevada Gaming Control Board, Sunset Station | No Comments »

“Fearful” South Point security guard fires shot into windshield of occupied car in parking garage

By LVBear | April 27, 2015

South Point Casino (R-J photo)

Photo credit: Ronda Churchill/Las Vegas Review-Journal

South Point security guard fires shot during confrontation

UPDATE: After inquiry was made, Metro stated that there are no dash-cam or body-cam videos of the police response to the incident.

I cannot believe some casino buffoon authorized these hapless “mall cop” casino guards to have real guns, especially in light of the recent guilty plea to manslaughter of a patron by a security guard at Eldorado Reno (see Growl directly below this one). It seems that just like in their never-ending abuse of skilled patrons, the casino industry just will not learn to rein in the security thugs. The lawsuits will continue to pile up.

The South Point idiot who fired the shot has already learned from bully-boy police who use the “I was scared” excuse for maiming and killing. Shame, shame on the South Point for letting guards have guns. This cowardly guard should probably be fired, and perhaps prosecuted for attempted murder. If he was so “fearful,” all he had to do is run away. If letting these bozo guards have guns didn’t endanger the public so much, it would be laughable. I hope the public will stay away from South Point until they stop this idiocy.

It is puzzling and interesting to note that apparently Metro has clamped down on information it will release about this incident. So far, Metro has not publicly identified the two arrestees and their charges. No word if the guard was one of the people arrested. The entire story needs to come out, not just the scant information that was available when the R-J article was written, so the public can assess what level of danger it has been subjected to by the apparently stupid actions of this guard. There might be circumstances under which the shooting was appropriate. But if information is hidden from the public, we can only assume the worst — that it is as it appears.

Topics: Casino Executives, Eldorado Reno, Las Vegas, Las Vegas Law Enforcement, South Point | No Comments »

Eldorado Reno security guard arrested for murder in killing of casino patron

By LVBear | April 14, 2014

1397226706000-Stefen-JohnsonStefan Johnson

Photo credit: Washoe County Sheriff’s Office

UPDATE: The now former guard pleaded GUILTY to manslaughter and is awaiting sentencing.

ADDITIONAL UPDATE: In an absurd result, the killer was sentenced to only six months in jail and $5,000 in “restitution.” Six months for killing someone? Good grief!

It had to happen eventually. A case of patron abuse too egregious to be ignored by police. Unfortunately, someone had to lose their life before authorities would take action against a casino guard amid the ever-present threats of violence against patrons by typical casino thugs.

Though accused killer Stefan Johnson enjoys the same presumption of innocence as any other American, the arrest is a pleasant surprise. I cannot even imagine the pressure to cover it up and not prosecute that the homicide detectives and the DA’s office must have faced from local politicians as well as the powerful Carano family, who own the Eldorado, and other major political contributors in Reno. I don’t think charges would have been filed if this had occurred in Las Vegas.

Johnson lifted (decedent) Victorio-Acevedo to head level, took him over his left shoulder and drove him into the ground, the (Reno police) affidavit says.

“Johnson’s use of force to facilitate a questionable misdemeanor trespassing arrest was excessive and went beyond what is considered acceptable, proper or necessary to facilitate an arrest of an individual who, at the time, was complying with Johnson’s order to leave,” the affidavit said.

Congratulations to everyone involved in the arrest and upcoming prosecution. If Mr. Johnson is indeed guilty, I hope for a swift conviction and long prison sentence. Maybe other casino guards will finally wake up and realize they cannot continue their loathsome behavior, at least in Reno. This case should send shock waves through places like the Cal-Neva, where some guards are particularly fond of bullying people.

Is it too much to hope for that the next time Las Vegas casino guards rough up a patron, appropriate criminal action will be taken instead of the free pass that the guards almost always have gotten in the past? And that perhaps casino management will make better hiring choices — and provide appropriate training?

Topics: Las Vegas | No Comments »

Cheating of patron by Bally’s and Resorts Tunica detailed in MS Gaming Hearing Examiner’s Decision

By LVBear | October 22, 2013

Casino managers conspired to cheat a patron out of earned free play and out of a car at a subsequent drawing. From the hearing examiner’s decision:

Obviously, the actions of (the casinos) in this matter grossly violate the declared public policy of this state as it relates to gaming. The decisions made by (the casinos) were calculated, dishonest, immoral and done to purposefully distort the outcomes of advertised promotions. This type of disingenuousness serves no purpose other than to erode public confidence and trust in the gaming industry.

My understanding is that some of the crooked employees lost their jobs, but to my knowledge there has been no criminal prosecution of these casino-employee crooks. Why not?

Topics: Bally's Tunica, Casino Executives, Government Corruption, Mississippi Gaming Commission, Resorts Tunica, Tunica | No Comments »

Give him his $30 back — nightclub shooter kills Good Samaritan at Bally’s Las Vegas

By LVBear | October 22, 2013

Photo credit: Las Vegas Sun
Photo credit: Las Vegas Sun

According to the latest news article, the dispute began over the customer apparently being denied a $30 refund. What stupidity. I am in no way defending the alleged shooter, but can’t casinos and their nightclub partners use common sense — EVER?

You have an angry drunk standing before you demanding his $30 back after he was in the venue only a short time. Just give him the money and let him go on his way. Sadly, this tragedy was likely entirely preventable, if just a tiny bit of common sense would have been used. Defuse a bad situation, don’t worsen it.

Link to an old article about casino nightclub problems:

Training professional security guards is an ongoing concern for casinos and clubs in general, said Jeff Voyles, a gaming consultant and professor of casino management at UNLV. Turnover and training costs are high in security departments, said Voyles …

Ahh, yes, “training costs” — the costs of doing something the right way are simply too high. Instead, hire some moronic street thugs and call them “security officers.” Or, too often, hire a tired old belligerent ex-cop who forgets he no longer has the supposed authority to push people around, and call him “security manager.” Pathetic.

Frazier asked club security whether he could go in and preview the crowd before paying a $30 cover charge. Police said he decided to pay the cover and went inside but came out shortly afterward demanding a refund because the club wasn’t full.

Again, Las Vegas gets a black eye in nationwide headlines. And unfortunately, it is deserved.

Topics: Bally's, Casino Executives, Las Vegas, Las Vegas Law Enforcement, Nightclubs, Police, Strip Clubs | No Comments »

The Bear Growls: In hibernation? Not really …

By LVBear | October 3, 2011

Many people have asked when another growl will be published. The answer is, I don’t know. For the past few months, I have been preoccupied with other endeavors. It is likely to stay that way into the foreseeable future. Though there is plenty to growl about, I am not on a time schedule. As I wrote when I started this blog in 2007:

I growl whenever something annoys me enough to comment about it. There is no schedule or timeline as to when I choose to growl.

There simply are not enough hours in the day to do everything I’d like to do.
I’m glad that you read my growls. There will be more eventually. Thanks for reading.

Topics: Uncategorized | No Comments »

The Bear Growls: Man near death in New York New York hallway for hours; people just stepped around the body. What happened to “security?” Man subsequently died.

By LVBear | August 2, 2011

New York New York

Clark County commissioner stunned no charges filed yet in latest Strip death

For six hours, Terrell lay on the hallway floor near the elevator as hotel customers stepped around his body entering and exiting the elevator, according to what (Clark County Commissioner Steve) Sisolak said he was told by Metro (Police).

Finally about 11 a.m., resort security got involved. Terrell was still unconscious but alive, Sisolak said he was told.

It is disgusting that no customer tried to do anything to help; not even make a simple phone call or tell a hotel employee. I guess surveillance was preoccupied for hours watching out for brain-using patrons, and the security guards were asleep in the break room or in otherwise unused hotel rooms.

Metro was involved in the case several hours after security found Terrell …

After eventually being awakened from their slumber, it took security several hours to notify Metro Police. Incredible. The incompetence and stupidity regularly exhibited by some of the pinheads in casino security borders on criminality. Our District Attorney needs to file charges against more than just the guy who killed Terrell.

Topics: Casino Executives, Government Corruption, Las Vegas, Las Vegas Law Enforcement, New York-New York (casino) | No Comments »

The Bear Growls: Another boondoggle — Desert Xpress, train to nowhere

By LVBear | April 20, 2011

Politicians thinking out loud: Gee, let’s boost tourism. Why don’t we build a high speed train? Let’s run it between Las Vegas and Victorville, California! No, this is not a joke.

Victorville is a gang-infested, lower-middle class California high-desert community about 35 miles from Barstow, and 110 miles from Los Angeles. It is literally “in the middle of nowhere.” But the promoters of a train from Las Vegas that dead-ends in Victorville somehow have gotten the support of Senator Harry Reid and other politicians to spend billions of dollars on this boondoggle. Ah, yes, someday there is supposed to be another pie-in-the-sky rail line built between Victorville and Palmdale, California, that’ll connect to Los Angeles. From Los Angeles, a Las Vegas-bound visitor would first have to go to Palmdale (many miles out of the way), then to Victorville, then on to Las Vegas. Would this be three separate trains? Who knows. The plan is so absurd it’s amazing that it’s gotten anything but laughter.

If this ridiculous project ever actually happens, I predict another bankruptcy in short order, just like the poorly thought out, ill-fated Las Vegas Monorail. Of course, the promoters of the Monorail siphoned off millions for themselves. The Desert XPress is next. How can this stupidity be explained other than that there are forces at work that act out of the public eye?

All aboard the Bankruptcy Xpress!

Topics: Government Corruption, Las Vegas, Nevada Politics, US Congress, US Government | No Comments »

Bear Praise: Nevada gets it right this time

By LVBear | March 13, 2011

The Legislative Building

Some clear thinking (at least on this issue) Nevada politicians have introduced Assembly Bill 258, which provides for Nevada regulating online poker to the degree reasonably possible. Unlike some other bills designed to be punitive to the existing online gaming companies, this bill states:

The Board shall not recommend denial of, and the Commission shall not deny, a license to an operator of Internet poker or to a manufacturer of interactive gaming systems, a manufacturer of equipment associated with interactive gaming systems or an interactive gaming service provider solely because the operator, manufacturer or interactive gaming service provider, before the effective date of this act, operates, operated or was associated with, in interstate or foreign commerce and while licensed by another jurisdiction, one or more Internet poker operations which were unlicensed in the United States or the State of Nevada and in which bets or wagers were initiated, received or otherwise made by persons located in the United States.

These politicians, or whoever drafted this bill for them, understand that getting the online industry off the ground in Nevada will necessitate the involvement of the large companies already experienced in other jurisdictions. Rather than to try to “punish” those pioneering companies for legally operating outside of the U.S., this bill encourages them. This is clearly the correct approach.

AB258 is nowhere near its completed form. Let’s hope as the bill winds it way through the legislative process, the common sense approach now embodied in it remains. This legislation is a breath of fresh air for Nevada. This is something that could result in Nevada becoming the U.S. center of online gaming, as Nevada once was the undisputed leader of the brick-and-mortar casino industry, before mismanagement and corporate greed severely harmed it.

Let’s hope for the best with this; Nevada needs the revenue and new jobs that could be created. Though it’s a long shot, I hope that this will kick open the door for all online gaming, particularly sports betting. The Nevada sportsbooks need some “legal” competition to force them to offer their patrons a better deal; maybe breaking up their existing cartels, which unfortunately our regulators failed to do when they had the chance.

Congratulations to all involved with Assembly Bill 258, and good luck with it.

Topics: Bear Praise, Las Vegas, Nevada Gaming Control Board, Nevada Politics, Online Gaming, Sports Betting | No Comments »

The Bear Growls: Three more Metro officers disgraced; will Sheriff Gillespie do anything about it?

By LVBear | February 3, 2011

The officers allegedly involved in the crimes discussed below enjoy the presumption of innocence, just like anyone else. But if they are guilty, will they be fired, as they should be? We’ll have to wait and see; based on previous incidents, I doubt it.

Metro officer tied to Costco shooting faces felony weapons charge

Thomas Mendiola is one of the three officers who killed Erik Scott outside a Costco store last year. At the Coroner’s Inquest, it was revealed that Mendiola struggled through his written exam, failing at least once before he finally was able to pass it and become a Metro officer. I wonder how many tries candidates get before being turned down as too stupid?

Now, if true, in an incredible display of stupidity, this young officer is involved with associating with a known felon, not reporting a serious crime (felon in possession of a gun), and stupidest of all, GIVING THE CRIMINAL A GUN! This is simply unbelievable. If any of this is proven, Mendiola deserves to be fired, and spend some time in prison. At least he is on unpaid leave this time, not sitting around sucking up free taxpayer money for doing nothing, as he was able to do for months in the aftermath of the Costco killing.

Two police officers checked out for court, but went to Arizona instead

A case of bizarre behavior and alleged lying by Officers Brad Gallup and Jake Grunwald.

The officers face discipline for several policy violations, including neglect of duty and abandonment of their post.

That’s all? What about theft of pay, theft and/or misuse of public resources (police car, fuel, etc.) and a host of other crimes? To call these crimes mere “policy violations” trivializes them. If true, these officers are liars, at the very least. How can they ever be trusted to honestly write a report or honestly testify in court? Embarrassingly, they are on paid administrative leave. Suck up the freebies while you can still get ’em, guys. If the Sheriff finally grows a spine, you will both deservedly be in the unemployment line soon enough. Let’s hope so. But again, I doubt if our gutless Sheriff will do anything. Even if he wanted these scoundrels to face criminal charges, I think the equally cowardly District Attorney, David Roger, would find an excuse not to prosecute.

Metro is desperately in need of a major housecleaning. It should start at the top, with the resignation of Sheriff Gillespie.


What do these cases have to do with advantage play or casinos?
Most of us who have played for a while have had hassles with casino security. We know casino security guards are usually not the brightest bulbs on the tree. Many are among society’s misfits, and have a propensity for gratuitous violence. If casino guards choose to involve the police in whatever dispute they have with a patron, the patron is at the mercy of whatever tales the security people tell the police. Thus, having stupid, dishonest police officers is dangerous to us. When police officers are stupid and/or dishonest, all citizens are put at risk.

Topics: Erik Scott, Government Corruption, Las Vegas, Las Vegas Law Enforcement, Police | No Comments »

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