By the flood of comments on my last entry, I am reminded that staying very watchful in a casino is not only a good idea but a real necessity. Actually, I’ve known that for a long time. In 26 years of casino visits, I have been careless or forgetful several times and paid a financial price. Years ago I was tricked by a scam team at the Four Queens. One person dropped some coins behind me and when I turned around to see what happened, someone else grabbed my purse from the other side of the bank of machines. I hadn’t noticed that the plastic divider between machines had been pulled up enough to allow a quick grab. I now am more careful where I put my purse.
My worse habit is turning around to talk to someone I know – which happens a lot. That once caused me to lose a fairly large sum at Caesars because I was on a machine right by the aisle and a quick-thinking thief could push the cashout button and swoop up a ticket almost without stopping.
More common is the problem of forgetting to cash out a ticket when you leave a machine. Back when you had buckets of coins, you were less likely to forget them, but since TITO, this has plagued many gamblers, even long-time experienced ones. Often this happens, as it did to me once, when you are ready to leave anyway, but you hit a hand-pay jackpot. After they pay you for this, you might not think to check to see that you still have credits to collect. This is such a common occurrence that in many casinos, I have had employees pay me and then remind me of the credits still left on the machine.
A casino can be a very chaotic place, and it is very easily to be distracted. And because we are human, it is inevitable that we will sometimes be forgetful or momentarily sidetracked. I had a bad headache when this week’s loss happened at the Palms and that probably contributed to my decrease in alertness.
Some have suggested that it was good that I wrote about this incident, that it could be a lesson for all of us. I hope that hearing my story and so many others related in the comments will bring this danger to the front of the minds of all the readers. That is a good thing – we all need to be reminded to stay alert!