Showing posts with label Las Vegas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Las Vegas. Show all posts

Thursday, May 6, 2021

The House Always Wins How Vegas Weeds Out the Cheaters

Assuming that everyone would like to win big at Vegas (for those who wouldn’t want to walk out of a luxurious casino laden with cash can be considered an outlier), there seem to be two kinds of people in the world: those who see themselves as a member of Danny Ocean’s Ocean’s 13 crew, who “liberates” the money from those who either don’t deserve it or who misuse it, or those who consider themselves the luckiest person on earth; someone whose number was just called for a dose of cosmic justice. 

Needless to say that the powers that be in Las Vegas prefer the latter group of people, who make a once-in-a-lifetime memory and leave the casino with a heart full of joy and ready to book next year’s return vacation. 

Those in the former category, the “criminal masterminds” who stroll up to the table﹘sometimes with a nearby accomplice in tow﹘and begin to execute on a plan to take the money and run like some sort of modern-day Butch Cassidy, is not particularly well-liked in Vegas.

In fact, when it comes to defending the structure of Vegas gaming as a whole, these would-be outlaws are considered less like folky ne’er-do-wells and more like enemies of The State. 

Nevada has ratified some very strict language on how cheaters are to be dealt with, and the casinos themselves keep a watchful eye on as much of the proceedings on the floor as possible. 

For all intents and purposes, it’s fair to say that Vegas has declared war on all the “Danny Oceans” who roll into town, and they’ve beefed up their security to prove it.

Law and Order

Of course, there will always be the people who justify criminal actions by saying “but the House always wins! That means the owners are cheating us!” 

While that would certainly be an earth-shattering argument with major repercussions if proved, the fact of the matter is that Vegas owners don’t have to cheat. 

By running the game and setting the rules, all the casino has to do is sit back and let probability work in its favor. 

Because the default result for any losing hand or busted spin is to leave the money on the table, the casino has no incentive to risk losing its gaming license.

And lose it they would, should their cheating be found out. According to Nevada gaming regulations:

  • Anyone can be a cheater: “It is unlawful for any person, whether the person is an owner or employee of or a player in an establishment, to cheat at any gambling game.” (NRS 465.083)
  • Cheating can include failure: While merely thinking about cheating isn’t considered a crime, an “overt act” toward committing the crime﹘even if it falls short of completion﹘is considered liable for prosecution (NRS 193.330)
  • Conspirators are criminals too: Very rarely are crimes conceived in a vacuum, with no help from the outside. Any group of two or more people who make an agreement to violate the law are criminals. This includes those who aren’t even at the casino when the attempted crime occurs. (NRS 199.480)
  • Counting cards provides a strange loophole: According to the strict definition of the law, counting cards﹘that is, keeping track of the cards that are dealt by making a note of them in your head﹘is not illegal because it’s a mental skill; there’s no conspirator or apparatus involved to cheat the system. However, if a casino suspects someone of counting cards, they have the right to deny service and that person may be blacklisted from entering again. If they do, the casino can charge them with trespassing and throw them in jail. (NRS 207.200)

To Catch a Thief

Casinos market themselves as luxurious getaways that provide endless amounts of fun with a wide variety of games. It is very much in the interest of the establishment not to bring down the mood on the floor, or else people will start to associate negatively with the casino. In order to maintain the air of good feeling among the players but still keep an eye out for criminal actions, the casino keeps the anti-cheating security expansive, but well concealed.

When it comes to detecting cheaters, casinos work in layers, making sure there are redundancies all over the floor so that nothing goes unnoticed or unreported. These measures include:

  • Video surveillance: A given, but an essential tool nonetheless. While security cameras are able to inform security guards of wrongdoing as it happens, the video record they provide to a court of law is the true fulfillment of their potential.
  • Casino staff: The cheating “first responders” will always be those who work the tables and who wander the floor. These individuals have been specifically trained to spot suspicious activity, and will inform security to keep you zeroed in while you are playing.
  • Mathematical algorithms: The performance of every table is being monitored to ensure that nothing out of the ordinary is happening. This is determined by the use of statistical mathematics that tracks how likely the win streak of a player is. Anything that consistently falls outside of the realm of the believable is put under harsher scrutiny.

Visiting a hotel and casino is one of the best vacations out there, and gaming institutions strive to make sure that everything remains fun for everyone involved. When considering “extracurricular efforts” to walk away a winner, it’s best to remember the anti-smoking ads of the late ‘90s, which proclaimed that “the best way to quit is never to start.” 

Never bet more than you can lose, avoid using the ATMs, and have fun. Then come back next year and repeat.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Living La Vida Hermosa

The conversation has been had so many times that it’s starting to become a parody of itself: adult children want their parents to move out of the big house that they’ve lived in for the majority of their lives﹘despite the happy memories﹘and get into one of the beautiful new developments springing up all over Las Vegas. 

No one wants them to feel displaced, or worse, muscled out. But as time has gone on, it’s become clear that Grandma and Grandpa have surrendered to inconveniences inherent to their home because to do otherwise would mean making drastic changes to the house that they love.

These inconveniences often stem from the size of the house. When they were younger and were starting a family, they needed a place for the kids to learn to walk and run; they needed a property the entire family could manage together, teaching the kids how to work and how to rely on each other; they needed the validation of buying a beautiful piece of property together, after so many years of toil and tenacity. 

But now they’re older﹘no, not just older. Elderly. The kids have moved out and had kids of their own, and they can’t manage such a big property anymore. The master bedroom is upstairs, the laundry room is downstairs, the trash barrels are too heavy, and the garden needs weeding. 

In the end, they hold tightly to the life that they know, much to the exasperation of the very kids who learned what family meant in that home.

This is a delicate time for our beloved parents who could be so much better served, living in a place that is more conducive to their needs. When trying to convince an aged parent to move there are three things that must be present, or they won’t listen. Each of these points, if honestly meant, should quiet many of their fears.

Las Vegas Means Options

The best part about being a cogent, autonomous senior is that there are options out there. Moving out to Las Vegas to enjoy the climate and the entertainment doesn’t have to be some sort of criminal extradition. 

If they are feeling particularly hesitant about one type of living arrangement, there are most certainly others. Maybe they are nervous about moving specifically to Las Vegas, because of perceptions about nightlife, and partying, and “not being their sort of town.” There are exquisite homes for purchase all over the area, like Henderson, NV.

Whatever community they are looking for is available in Las Vegas, and there’s a reason so many seniors are finding themselves making the move. 

One of which is that Nevada doesn’t charge an income tax, including income from Social Security and retirement. Another is that being in such a lively place means that their future home is a shoo-in for visiting family.

Las Vegas Means Family

Family is ultimately what senior parents are worried about. Will they still see their grandkids? Will they still be invited to family gatherings? Will a smaller home mean that they won’t get to host their family as much as they like when they do come? 

All of these are completely fair worries to have. And that is where children can quiet their fears with assurances that their parents’ move to Las Vegas is going to be good for them, too.

One of the perks of living on the doorstep of America’s Playground is that family will always want to visit. The hotels, the shows, the food, and the gaming are not only ways to live large in one’s youth, but they are great ways to spend time together as a family. 

In Vegas, new experiences are popping up all the time that continue to raise the value of that town. And while it may be true that a smaller home might mean some family members are reserving rooms in these hotels off the Strip, chances are that not only will they enjoy themselves, but Grandma and Grandpa might just appreciate not having to maintain a big crowd spending multiple nights over.

Las Vegas Means Friends

The worries that aged parents live with when contemplating a big move are nothing new; virtually every senior person has had to deal with this fear of the unknown. But just because they’re not the first doesn’t mean that their worries are wrong, or that they need to tackle them alone. 

If these parents do consider moving into one of the beautiful senior living areas that exist in Las Vegas, they will be amazed at the camaraderie they will feel with people who so recently went what they did.

Having a support system of peers will do wonders for these senior individuals who may have seen so many of their old friends move or pass away. The new influx of friends will not only give them an essential outlet for companions with whom to spend time, but they will feel a revival in their desire to explore the richness of life.

No one likes seeing their senior loved ones disappointed, but they like even less seeing them alone or inconvenienced. There is no shortage of reasons why Las Vegas is quickly becoming the place to retire, and with an open mind, they might actually like discovering those reasons for themselves.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Gambling : One of the 50 Pluses Favorite Retirement Activities

English: Harrah's hotel (Las Vegas)
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) the average age of a Las Vegas visitor is 51 years old. I have traveled and vacationed there many times over the years and I can confirm this statistic. 

I might even say that the age stated is on the low side. I can see how the 50 plus age group enjoys their trips to the casino. Gambling may be their favorite recreational activity and maybe even the most favorite activity next to travel. 

Gambling at casinos is a more popular leisure activity than it has ever been - which is primarily due to the rise in online casino sites, which have enabled people to play games like poker, roulette and online slots from home – or any other location, thanks to mobile casino apps. 

This has made playing casino games far more appealing for people, but also means that the need for people to be aware of responsible gambling is greater than it has ever been before. 

At the heart of gambling responsibly is working out a financial budget, based on what you bring in each month, so that you know what percentage of your income you can afford to spend on gambling per month. 

You should budget based on what you can afford to lose, rather than what you hope to win, as this way any winnings are a happy bonus – rather than something you are dependent upon to prevent yourself getting into financial trouble. Once you know what you can realistically spend, put that money in an account separate from your main one, to ensure that you do not have the temptation to exceed it. 

It is also very important to limit yourself in terms of time spent gambling, because otherwise this can easily cross the line from being a fun leisure activity to an out-of-control addiction. Again having a limited budget will help you to maintain the time limits you impose per week, and you will find yourself sticking to those limits to ensure that your allotted gambling budget lasts throughout the month. 

Limiting the time you are allowed to spend gambling per week will also reduce the risks of falling into common traps like trying to win back money you have lost by continuing to gamble and bet more. This generally leads to even greater losses, and is not a responsible way to gamble.

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