He’d been under investigation for his casino gambling hobby for several months, and casino security cooperated with the authorities to arrest him.
My audience probably doesn’t live in a jurisdiction where it’s illegal to gamble inside a casino, but this is a great example of the kind of damage casino gambling can do to your career and your life. It leads to stupid decisions being repeated deliberately over time.
One Couple Left Their Baby in the Car while They Gambled
In Albuquerque, New Mexico, Jaime Munoz and Crystal Loera were arrested for leaving a 12-month old baby in the car while they gambled at the Isleta Casino for 2 hours.
They entered the casino at 10:40pm and didn’t come back out until midnight.
The couple got caught when the casino’s security officers found the baby asleep in the car. They used the vehicle’s registration to track down the owners.
The baby was covered in sweat. Naturally, the authorities took custody of the baby and turned the child over to the Children Youth and Families Department.
You should obviously NEVER leave a child alone in a vehicle.
The parents were held without bond and were waiting for a hearing.
I usually write with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek, but this story is more serious than most of the posts I write. Children are precious, and child neglect and abuse are serious.
If you have a gambling problem that might lead to this kind of behavior, please get help before you make a decision you’ll certainly regret.
Another Parent Did the Same Thing
In Detroit, Michigan, a mom left her 3 year old son in a car for 5 hours so she could gamble at Motor City Casino.
The 25 year old mother, Talayia Lara Renee Wellams, was arrested for 2nd-degree child abuse. She was also charged with leaving a child in a car unattended, which is a separate (but related) crime.
As with the previous story, we have casino security personnel to thank for finding the child. The toddler was left on the 3rd floor of a parking garage around 2am. Casino security found the child at 7:20am.
The mom wasn’t alone, either—she had her aunt with her. I don’t know if the aunt knew that the child had been left in the car or not. Casino security found her gambling in the casino.
The child was in good health, but the mom was given a $50,000 bond.
Why anyone would think leaving a child in a car while she gambled is beyond me.
The Same Thing Happened in Canada, Too
In Calgary, the police got a call from Pure Casino at 9pm about an abandoned 7-year old. This child was left in a vehicle for 2 hours before he got nervous and went into the casino to find his dad.
This was at 9pm on a Sunday night, so the father had been gambling in the casino for about 2 hours.
This might not be as bad as leaving an infant in the car, but a 7-year-old is still a small child. He could have been hurt, kidnapped, or killed.
Worse, the temperate that night was -24 C.
That’s well below freezing. Everyone should be grateful the boy hadn’t died.
The father was charged with child abandonment, but his identity wasn’t released by the authorities.
Naturally, Alberta Children’s Services took custody of the child.
I’m reasonably sure that they have better sense than to leave the child in a vehicle while they gamble.
One hopes, anyway.
You Shouldn’t Leave Young Children Alone in a Hotel Room, Either
In Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, a couple left their 2 children alone in a hotel room while they gambled in the casino. This might not sound too bad until you get the relevant details.
Someone called the police at 11:17pm on a Saturday because a 6-year-old was wandering around the 5th floor of the Sands Casino Resorts Bethlehem.
The child had wandered down from the 7th floor, where security cameras showed him leaving his room to look for his parents.
The child had a 4-year-old sibling who was left behind in the room.
The parents, Qizhong Chen and Hua Chen are in their mid-30s.
They left their hotel room at 10:22pm to go gamble in the casino. (Security footage, again.)
The father did check back on the children after an hour, but the older child was already gone. So dad left the 4-year-old alone while he went to find mom.
The parents were arrested for child endangerment.
It’s bad enough that these children were left alone for an hour, but one of the children has respiratory difficulties and needs a lot of care.
The parents went to prison when they couldn’t make bail, and the children were in the custody of Northampton County Children and Youth.
Some People Will Do Anything to Stay in Action in the Casino
I’ve read actual eyewitness reports from casino security about some outlandish behavior from casino patrons who just couldn’t bear to get away from the action.
One gambler stayed at a craps table for 28 hours straight.
Gamblers often fall asleep sitting up in front of the slot machines. Security wakes them up, because they don’t make the casino any money while they’re sleeping.
And gamblers who soil themselves so they don’t have to leave the one-armed bandits are commonplace, too. The casino security expert interviewed in the article I read said that some people wait until someone notices that they’ve soiled themselves before they move on.
If a fire alarm goes off, many gamblers stay in front of whatever game they’re playing. This is as true of slot machine players as table game players, too.
When you start risking your health and your very life to keep gambling, it’s probably time to consider getting some help for your gambling problem.
None of this is as bad as endangering a child, but it’s dumb behavior, nonetheless.
People Do All Kinds of Sad and Crazy Things in Casinos
I found a thread on Reddit describing some of the sad things people have seen in casinos.
One poster there worked in the day care at a casino and saw the same kid come in day after day for 8 hours a day. If his parent was gambling and making a living, that would probably be fine, but who knows what that was all about? I like to think that mom was a pro poker player, and the day care at the casino is probably as good as the day care anywhere else.
I also read a story about a mother-daughter couple who came into the casino twice a week and played the slot machines for 8 hours at a time while they were there. They finally won $15,000 one day, but they gambled it all back that afternoon.
A week later, they were escorted out of the casino for asking other patrons to loan them money to gamble with.
Another participant in the discussion mentioned that he’d worked casino security for years, and they had regular instructions to look through the parking lot for kids who’d been abandoned in cars.
The stories above weren’t the exceptions to the rule.
They happen all the time. Apparently, it’s a daily occurrence at some casinos, regardless of the weather.
Here’s the story that was most illustrative, to me, though:
The poster explained that he was at a Canadian casino in Niagara falls and was playing blackjack for $5 per hand with another guy who was doing well. The other guy was friendly and was hoping to just play long enough to get a free breakfast.
If you’ve read our blog for a while, you already know that you can get free stuff from the casino for gambling. It’s how they motivate you to keep playing.
Anyway, the dealer starts busting pretty often, and everyone at the table—including the guy who wants the free breakfast—starts betting more money because they’re profiting. Free breakfast guy has won $100, and they tease him about buying everyone at the table breakfast.
After he’s up $800, he asks the dealer if he’s earned his free breakfast yet. The dealer asks the pit boss, who replies, “Not yet.”
Do you see where this story is going yet?
The guy could buy himself breakfast with the money he’s won, but he’s still gambling to try to earn his free breakfast. And sure enough, he starts to lose. Even when the other gamblers at the table explain to the guy he could buy breakfast with his winnings, he keeps playing.
And the pit boss, when asked, would tell him he didn’t have enough points for his free breakfast yet.
Finally, the guy loses all his money, and the pit boss tells him he’ earned his free breakfast.
This happens more often than people think, too.
The poster who related the story seemed to think that his new friend at the table had some kind of mental impairment, but this kind of thing happens all the time.
These stories might have a different moral for you than they do for me. You might think that these stories just confirm how lousy people are. Or they might confirm how lousy gamblers in general are.
But what I see here is evidence that problem gambling is serious, sad, and misunderstood. It is not being properly addressed or even addressed at all in many places.
Problem gambling is a legitimate mental illness. The neural circuitry can rewire itself in your brain based on activities like gambling just as easily as they can from drinking too much alcohol or too much drug use.
If you have an addictive personality to begin with, this can be problematic because you will be far more susceptible to all of the different tactics that casinos use to keep players there. It may be ideal to avoid casino gambling altogether if that is the case.
But if you do gamble in a casino, and you do start to have a problem, please stop before you get arrested, neglect your child, or do any other unfortunate things you will surely regret. Or better yet, just gamble online and avoid all of the hassles that these land-based casinos could potentially risk.
Gambling can be a very enjoyable and profitable activity, but casinos were built to draw people in, and many bad decisions take place in their halls. That being said, if you want to gamble, and foresee a problem for yourself at a casino, you may just be better off to take that online route instead.
That way, you can control the environment you gamble in and it will leave you far less vulnerable in the long run.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...
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