The Bear Growls: Straight truth about the casino industry

Something evil lurks beneath . . . 

This Growl was originally published in the 100th issue of Blackjack Insider , and is reproduced here:

LVBear is a diligent guardian of the casino patron and whistleblower on casino industry wrongdoing. He delivers the straight truth about the worst (and sometimes best) casino practices. Learn about shocking and compelling player incidents over the years of LVBear’s vigilant stewardship.

(Blackjack Insider) Editors Note: I first met LVBear several years ago in Las Vegas. He is an accomplished and very knowledgeable advantage player who has been very supportive of the BJI. LVBear frequently contributes to the message boards on , and he has is own web site at where you can read current and past growls.

From where I sit, the picture is not rosy. The amount of brain power used by the masses when they enter casinos gets lower and lower. Years ago, when casinos tried to change the rules of blackjack, patrons by the thousands boycotted the watered-down games, forcing casino owners to revert to the previous decent rules. Nowadays, the gullible masses of suckers flock to garbage like 6 to 5 “blackjack” and other ripoffs.

The sad reality is that the casino juggernaut continues to trample patrons and even governments. In Nevada, the casino industry has corrupted all levels of government from top to bottom. Without a political appetite for cleaning house, it is just going to get worse. Indications of government corruption caused by casinos have appeared in other states as well. And the “regulation” of Indian casinos is laughable.

The recent remodeling scandal involving Harrah’s substandard work on several of its Las Vegas properties plainly illustrates how deep the corruption runs. Our honest County Manager, Virginia Valentine, attempted to convince other officials to take appropriate criminal action, but so far only a few misdemeanor charges have been filed against one Harrah’s executive, and the legal procedure has been slowed to a crawl with postponements and excuses from the District Attorney as to why the prosecution has been stalled.   (Note: Subsequently, criminal charges have been filed against Harrah’s itself.)

Casino employees caught cheating patrons are allowed to continue working in the industry. The Venetian cheating scandal is a prime example of this. A cheating incident by the Golden Nugget sportsbook, under previous ownership, resulted in no penalty to the casino at all; just a puny fine for failing to report its own cheating to regulators. Ridiculous!

Despite great work by attorney Bob Nersesian, author of Beat the Players, the incidents of casino employees, particularly security guards, committing violent crimes against intelligent patrons are still all too common. Incidents of police corruption have spread far beyond Las Vegas; there have been incidents in Tunica, Biloxi, and other casino areas that indicate corruption of the police by casino interests has infested those areas as well.

The good news is that victims of violent crimes by casino employees have received large jury awards and settlements in recent years, largely because of the stellar work by Mr. Nersesian and his law partner, Thea Sankiewicz. The bad news is that there still has not been, to my knowledge, a single criminal prosecution of a casino employee for crimes committed against patrons. None of the thugs and liars have spent any time in jail, or even had to expend money for attorney fees to defend themselves. This is truly shameful.

Casino playing conditions continue to get worse, and casinos despise anyone who dares use his or her brain on casino property. The corruption gets deeper and more entrenched. The downward spiral continues. I expect to be retired from active casino play within the next five years or so, but I feel bad for my younger friends. The future of full-time advantage play does not look bright, and there doesn’t appear any desire on the part of the public to force change for the better. Sad situation.


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