The Bear Growls: Las Vegas TV reporter calls brain-using casino patrons cheaters — says they “stole” money from casinos. TV station subsequently admits error, apologizes

Edward Lawrence, KLAS-TV 

Las Vegas television Channel 8 KLAS-TV aired a report on the recent gaming expo. But reporter Edward Lawrence badly misstated facts. It would be laughable, if the report wasn’t so outrageous, slanderous and defamatory to people who have studied blackjack (and other casino games) and learned how to play correctly.

In the written article accompanying the TV news clip, Mr. Lawrence claims card counters “cheated” casinos. In his verbal report, he says they “stole” money from casinos. Of course, as even casino executives know, card counting is just using one’s brain; it has nothing to do with cheating. Certainly no one has “stolen” anything by merely using his or her brain while playing a casino game under the rules and conditions offered by the casino itself.

In both pieces, Mr. Lawrence subsequently mentions that card counting is not illegal, indicating that he probably is not as ignorant as his previous references to cheating and stealing make him appear. One has to wonder if Mr. Lawrence was put up to making his moronic comments by someone else; if so, did his integrity take a leave of absence?

Channel 8’s news supervisors and editors should be embarrassed and ashamed that they let such a poorly worded story onto the air and into cyberspace. Shame on Mr. Lawrence, and shame on Channel 8.


Subsequent to the above posting, an email was sent by to the reporter and his superiors at Channel 8, as part of a discussion on Green Chip about the story. Channel 8 responded appropriately. Congratulations to Channel 8 management, in particular Vice President of News Operations Bob Stoldal, for doing the right thing:

The buck stops with me. We, as Mr. Lawrence works for me, we were incorrect. The people that have the mental ability to count cards are NOT cheaters nor did they steal anything.I have tried card counting, and do not have the mental capacity to do it. I am sorry I did not correct this before we broadcast the story or before we put it on the internet. I am pulling both the video story and the text.I have been a resident of Las Vegas since 1957 and know the different between card counting and cheating.You are correct; I am “embarrassed.” Ashamed? A bit strong. Also, Mr. Lawrence is not a moron; he is a hard working reporter who made a mistake. He did say at the end of his story it is not illegal to count cards.Minor point, but Mr. Lawrence did not use the word “cheated” in his story that appeared on the web version. There was no way for you to know that. That said, what it means is the mistake was compounded on the internet.But, bottom line, you are correct story should not have used the words “cheated,” or “stole.” I will pull the story, and appreciate you taking the time to help correct our, my, error Bob Stoldal VP News KLAS


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