Thursday, February 19, 2009

I got backroomed by casino security goons

No, I'm not kidding. It's for real.

I am obvious a lousy foreteller of the future, because a mere three weeks ago I wrote:

From this book I learned a lot that I did not previously know about the
statutes, case law, and regulations that govern gambling generally and casinos'
interactions with and responsibilities to their patrons. However, very little of
it will have any relevance to my life. Given my personality, my nearly exclusive
use of casinos for poker, and my propensity to stay well clear of anything that
might even look like cheating, all of my interactions with casino security
personnel to date have been pleasant, nonconfrontational, and uneventful, and I
expect they will continue to be.

Wow. How wrong could I have been?

After an unsuccessful session at Santa Fe Station in North Las Vegas, I decided to swing by the Cannery, a few miles to the east, to see if they had a game going. While there, I thought, I could also take a few "Guess the Casino" shots.

I had taken seven photos when a Cannery security guard (his nametag identified him as "Kwang") told me to stop. OK. I put my camera away. I asked him why, and he just gave me non-answers, like, "Because you're not allowed to take pictures." He couldn't explain any reason for the policy. "That's just what I've been told." OK. He asked what I had been taking a picture of. I pointed to the rather obvious colorful mural that stretched some 30 feet side to side. "That." (He would later tell other security officers that I had been taking pictures of their ceiling security cameras, so either he was paying no attention to my answer, or he just decided to make up a lie.)

I walked over to the poker room, found that they didn't have any no-limit games going. I didn't feel like playing $2-4 limit, so I turned to go. To my surprise, Kwang was there again. He asked to see the pictures I had taken. I declined and started walking back the way I had come. He came along, repeatedly asking me and telling me to stop. I kept walking, but engaged him in dialog: "Do you believe you have legal grounds to detain me?" He didn't answer that directly at first, but instead deflected the question by saying that it was against their policy to have photos taken. So I asked him more specifically, "Do you have any reason to believe that I have committed a felony in the casino?" Again, he didn't answer directly, but just repeated that he needed to inspect my camera. I told him repeatedly that I did not believe he or anybody else there had any right to look at it or to detain me.

All the while, he's on his radio, telling whoever is on the other end things like, "He's refusing." "He's not stopping." Unfortunately for me, my entrance was on the far end of the facility from the poker room, so it was a long walk. By the time I got there, we were met by several other security people. At first they simply tried to step in front of me. When I was able to step around them, though, they finally just grabbed my arm and held me, then surrounded me and let go--six of them, at the max. I knew enough not to give them an excuse to escalate the level of force. In addition to Kwang, there was one wearing a "Larry" nametag. (Moe and Curly had the night off, I guess.) The others were not wearing nametags that I could see.

They finally announced clearly that I was being detained and I was not free to go. Two of them were openly armed. I asked the grounds for my detention. They said it was because I was taking pictures. I asked whether they had reason to think that I had committed a felony, which is the only suspicion that triggers their authority to detain. Yes, I was told--taking pictures. I asked, incredulously, "You think that's a felony?" The guy said, "Yes, it's a violation of our policy"--as if that's the same thing. I don't know whether he was really that ignorant, or just felt verbally cornered, and intentionally lied, hoping that I wouldn't call his bluff. I did. I laughed in his face. I'll confess that a bit of sarcasm slipped out: "My, you're very well-trained in your job, aren't you?" He then tried to argue that taking photos was a violation of state gaming regulations. Uh, no, it isn't that, either (gaming regulations govern what licensees--the casinos--can and cannot do, not what patrons can and cannot do), and even if it were, that wouldn't give you authority to detain me, absent a felony. They were just making this crap up as they went, because, I believe, they knew they had nothing legitimate on me.

All of this was taking place in the space between the inner and outer set of doors at one entryway--I had not quite made it out of the building, about ten feet short. They said that if I didn't let them look at the pictures I had taken, they would call the police. I told them I was not voluntarily handing over my camera. They said they would call the police. I told them to do what they felt they needed to do. (This later got morphed into them saying that I had requested that they call the police. Yeah, right.) So we stood there for maybe 20 minutes waiting for the officers to come to investigate this most horrific of crimes.

During that time, I engaged in a little verbal cat-and-mouse with one of the older security guys, who was trying to intimidate me. He kept pointing out that this was private property. Really? Gee. Who knew? Because it was private property, he said, they could prohibit photography. I told him that I didn't argue with that point, and as soon as they had asked me to stop taking pictures, I complied. I also pointed out that there were no signs informing people of this policy. When I repeated, again, that I was not staying there voluntarily and wished to leave, he informed me, again, that this was private property and they were not allowing me to leave. This is a non sequitur. I told him that the one does not follow from the other. I asked him, "Do you think that if somebody comes into your yard at home, you can use force to prevent him from leaving just because you feel like it?" He said, "Yes. On your own private property you can do anything you want to do." Again, it's hard to know if he is actually that stupid, or was just bluffing with an answer because he realized he had been caught making an assertion that didn't make any sense, and had to go with it.

As we were having this discussion, he kept interrupting me when I would try to answer his questions or ask him my own. I finally asked him, "Are you always this rude, interrupting people in civil conversation?" He said, "Yeah. Yeah, I am. I'm the rudest motherfucker you'll ever meet." Nice. Is that what your training manual tells you you're supposed to say? Not too long thereafter, he decided that he was losing this particular battle of wits, and cut off the conversation.

At some point, somebody deep in the bowels of the establishment instructed the goons to take me to the security holding area. I heard a snippet of conversation between two of them that suggested that this was because they didn't have good overhead camera coverage of the spot we were in.

One of them told me to accompany him. I asked, "And if I refuse?" He said, "They we'll cuff you and carry you there." So I told him, "All right, but I am not going voluntarily. I am going under protest and over my objection, under threat of duress."

When we reached the security area, they informed me both verbally and by a posted sign that the area was being audiotaped and videotaped. Fine with me. I sat on a bench and waited. When they left me alone, I pulled out my cell phone and was going to email the photos to my home computer. But then I thought better of it. I didn't want the phone out where they could just grab it. If they were going to take it from me, they would have to open my fanny pack and remove it against my will. So I put it away again. Probably a good thing. Mere seconds later, I overhead one of the security guys tell another, "Stay here and watch him. If he takes the camera out or puts his hands where you can't see them, we'll cuff him."

Finally the police showed up--two officers at first, but ultimately what appeared to be five or six of them out in the hall. (Couldn't tell for sure as they were milling back and forth.) Obviously, this was the biggest case of the night in North Las Vegas to justify this usage of manpower. Your tax dollars at work. The first two did a good cop/bad cop thing on me. However, unless I miss my mark, I don't think it was a performance. I think one of them was just naturally calm and soft-spoken, and the other a natural hard-assed, impatient, overauthoritarian, rude jerk.

They took my fanny pack--a process which I clearly but politely informed them was without my consent (not that I really thought that would stop them, but I wanted it on the record)--removed my wallet and took out my driver's license. After a while, they came back and informed me that my license was listed as having been suspended. This was news to me. I had never received any such notice. I asked if he knew any more details. He said the code only told him that it was "on the advice of the court," or words to that effect. It made no sense to me.

Blah, blah, blah, lots of discussion, lots of stupid and irrelevant questions (had I ever been arrested before, was I on any medication, etc.--not exactly things tailored to investigating the situation at hand), me trying to tell my story, and bad-ass cop always interrupting me and telling me that I had a bad attitude and I should just cooperate.

When they asked why I was taking pictures, I decided not to bother being obstructionist about it. I mean, legally I didn't have to tell them anything. But as a practical matter, it seemed likely to me that going the silent route would have resulted in an arrest for disorderly conduct or some other B.S. charge. At least in this particular set of circumstances, taking my constitutional rights to the outer limit wasn't worth a night in jail, attorney fees, etc., when I knew that the truth was both perfectly innocent and readily verifiable.

So I told them of this blog and the "Guess the casino" series. One of them wrote down the URL and disappeared to look it up. Nobody ever told me explicitly that they had confirmed my story, but they obviously must have, else Officer Bad-Ass would have come back steaming mad and accusing me of lying to them, obstructing their investigation, etc. One of the police officers (not one of the original two) popped his head in the room to ask how much time I spent on the blog, whether I got paid for it, etc. He said that he played a little poker himself and thought it looked like there was some worthwhile stuff here that he wanted to go back and read later. This will officially be the strangest way I have ever picked up a new reader.

I overheard a bit of conversation taking place in the hallway between two of the officers, or perhaps one of the officers and the head security person. The gist of it was that the officer had spoken to his supervisor, and was told that there appeared to have been no law broken, and therefore they really couldn't do anything about me. I felt like saying, "This is what I have been trying to tell you."

One of the security guys finally took my picture and read me the official trespass warning. Part of it was that I was ordered to leave the property immediately. I chuckled and pointed out the irony that that was precisely what I had been trying to do, and would have done, except for them forcibly stopping me from leaving.

This was my official Bannery from the Cannery.

They were then ready to escort me off the premises. But wait--I pointed out some practical problems. The officer had confiscated my driver's license because he said it was suspended, so I obviously couldn't drive home, and if I left my car I had reason to fear that the casino would have it towed away, etc. After some negotiation, they agreed to let my car remain in the parking garage unmolested, and when I was ready the next day to come get it, I could call the head of security (they gave me his name and number) to get temporary permission to come on the property for that purpose. Were they all really so dense that I was the only one that could anticipate these items as potential problems?

One of the security guys, I have to say, was admirably calm, quiet, relaxed, and reasonable throughout the whole ordeal, in rather dramatic contrast to his overexcitable partners. I chatted with him as we headed for the exit. He told me that this whole thing could have been avoided if I had just cooperated. I'm not so sure. I think it's plausible that if I had handed over my cell phone camera, they would have felt at liberty to either keep it or delete the photos that they didn't approve of, or who knows what else. I wasn't willing to compromise on that or give them the opportunity. So I told the young man that I understood his point of view, but didn't share it. I said that from my perspective, the whole thing could have been avoided if his crew both understood and remained within the limits of their legal authority, and didn't unlawfully detain people who had committed no crime and had not given any reason to think that a crime had been committed.

We walked to the garage so I could show them which car was mine, in order that they not think it abandoned. We were then walking along the driveway toward the exit (I was scanning for open businesses across the street from which I could call a friend--it was kind of cold out), when Officer Bad-Ass pulled up in his squad car. He stopped us, handed me my license back, and said he had gotten a call from his supervisor saying that some sort of mistake had been made, and it wasn't suspended after all. (I have no idea what that was all about.) That made everything easier. We just walked back to my car, and I drove off.

The whole thing took about an hour and a half.

I felt extraordinarily fortunate to have read Bob Nersesian's book Beat the Players less than a month before. Although I have enough basic knowledge of the law to have pretty much guessed correctly at the limits of casino security authority, it was extremely comforting to know for sure where things stood, and that it was the Cannery security officers who were committing the crimes (assault, battery, and false imprisonment), not I.

It's possible that I will look into suing the casino and its employees for these crimes and torts. If I were a multimillionaire and could afford to pay an attorney an hourly rate to do it, I would in a heartbeat. But whether I could convince any attorney to take the case on a contingency basis is pretty iffy, given that my actual damages are limited to about 90 minutes of lost time. I wouldn't and couldn't even claim mental/emotional distress, since I was entirely sure I was in the right the entire time, and was far more bored and amused (alternately) than injured. The only serious money would be in punitive damages, and it's hard to know whether an attorney would deem recovering such to be likely enough to be worth investing his time in the matter.

But I wish I could just hire somebody to do the case as a matter of pure principle. Those goons had exactly zero basis for anything they did past the point of asking me to stop taking photographs--and they either knew that or should have known it. I don't take kindly to being manhandled and accused of "casing" the place for a later robbery--especially when the latter occurred after they had looked up the blog and seen exactly what my purpose was. (I guess I forgot to mention that part in my narrative. One of the security guys told me of their worry that I was casing the place and might later return with an AK-47 to rob them--which is more than a little paranoid.)

Along those same lines, I should tell you what was, for my money, the most insane moment of the night. Just before the police left and security was to escort me out, Officer Bad-Ass told me (and it was in the security room, so it's presumably on tape), "I don't know exactly what you were doing here, but you're covering up something. I think you were up to no good. NO GOOD. And if you keep it up, you're going to get caught sooner or later." Again, I emphasize that this was after he had looked up this very web site and could see precisely what it was that I was "up to." Moron. I'm pretty sure that the videotape replay will catch me giving off an "I can't believe you're really that stupid" smirk at that point.

For any readers who hope to have a chance meeting with me across the green felt on your next Vegas vacation, here's today's helpful hint: Don't expect to find me at the Cannery.

For the record, here are links to the Nevada statutes that convey detention authority (as listed by Nersesian in his book at pp. 166-172). If you look through them, I think it will become readily apparent that absolutely nothing I did fell even remotely within the criteria that would trigger their right to hold me against my will.

Nevada Revised Statutes 171.126. Arrest by private person.

NRS 171.1235. Gaming licensee may detain persons suspected of having committed felony in gaming establishment.

NRS 465.101. Detention and questioning of person suspected of violating chapter.

Addendum, February 27, 2009

For those being referred to this post from other sites, you might be interested in subsequent developments. Click here to get all the follow-up posts.


Ted said...

Sorry to hear about your night. Nothing makes me angrier than ignorant fools with guns and fake badges. I've actually been deported from Canada by douchey immigration officers. So I can relate.

"Yes. On your own private property you can do anything you want to do." I would have bet him $100 that not he nor his boss could torture me on private property. It's a win-win-win, either you win the argument or the bet or he tortures you and you win the casino. That's what I would have done. :)

If you get to NYC and take the subway, you might want to refrain from taking pictures as well.

Anonymous said...

This is what happens when you give an high school dropout a plastic badge, a patch that says security, and a $12/hr salary. They begin to think they more a hell of a lot more than they actually do. Losers. If it was in your means, you should sue them. Teach them actual laws and how to use them. But in any case, way to not give into their bullsh*t coercion grump!

Unknown said...

Wow. that is some story. Those casino goons are real idiots for sure!

GrrrlZilla said...

What a horrible situation. Sadly, you have to figure you're not the only person who has had or will have such an encounter with those idiots.

The whole thing reminds me of a speech from the TED website about the loss of wisdom. If you have time for it, I think it's pretty good stuff:

Grange95 said...

Wow. Just ... wow.

I suppose most people just comply with any casino security request without raising annoying questions about "rights" and "laws". But one would hope that security personnel would be trained to at least know what to do when someone calls their bluff; unless they actually believe all their own mumbo jumbo.

Well done to stand up for your rights in a manner that did not give them legitimate grounds to detain you.

joxum said...

Let me be the first to say: Good freaking Lord!

Hope you won't end up in some shared casion photo pool of persona non gratas. That would probably put an end to "Guess the casion", as well as a few other things.

I do hope you find a way to sue the crap out of them.


Wine Guy said...

Wow..Truly amazing that these juniour wannabe cops are employed. Always like it when I meet these kind, or at least observe them in the local Wallmart/Target, etc. You'd think they were friggin' Secret Service. They should all watch the new Mall Cop movie to see what they actually look like.

I also have to agree that in walking around the casinos, the "no taking pictures" signs are never around. The first time we went to Vegas I actually asked a security person if I could get a picture of the wife at the slots. He said no problem just to make sure no one else was in the photo (who didn't give consent).

Just think of all the tourists walking around snapping pics in the casinos. What would Kwang do then?

Once again, you entertain, enlighten, provoke discussion, and provide clear documentation. I enjoyed your story from this and find you didn't embelish, or promote yourself to some Rambo type to put the security and police in their place. Wonder is bad ass cop will check to see if he is a celebrity today?

Anonymous said...

The only time I've seen North LV has been on Cops. There wasn't a lot to recommend it from either side. Seems inbreeders must flock to the area. But, I'll keep an eye peeled for you on future episodes.

P.S. Arguing with a minimum wage gun toter enforcing the laws of a corporation is -EV.

Unknown said...

Thank you for sacrificing your time to stand-up and defend our civil liberties.

Yes, there was an easier out, but it goes against legitimate grounds and rights.

Anonymous said...

Despite negative reader comments and being illegally jailed, the guess the casino series continues. That's what I call moxy!

SirFWALGMan said...

First of all I think you could make a very good case for your name being ruined in Vegas by their harassment of you.. I mean people you know might have seen you and not want to pay for Ads on your blog or something.. heh. I am no Lawyer obviously but being detained in public by security for no reason does not look good.

The cop who said your license was suspended was just trying to make up a charge so he could take you in or detain you if he wanted to for reasonable suspicion. If it went to court he would say "oh yeah, the computer said his license was bad, must have been a glitch but that gave us probable cause to search his bag and phone".. dirty cop tricks for sure..

Good luck to you. Hope you do find someone to sue them. Even if you don't find someone to take the case it might be fun to pay a lawyer 100-300 bucks or something to write a threatening letter to management.. could get the security guys in trouble and on the good side it could cause them to change their policies and train people better.

F-Train said...

"Every man is a tyrant in his own kingdom" or something like that.

Anonymous said...

The link to what you wrote three weeks ago mentioned "habitual card counter" like it was a drug habit. Its a competitive world. I admire the counter.

Good poker players often make steady observers away from the table and I liked your descriptions complete with reads. Nice.

Cardgrrl said...

I can only imagine how infuriating it must have been for the mouth-breathing contingent of casino security (not the reasonable one) to be faced with a calm, confident, and slightly snarky Grump ~ who has an aikido black-belt in Questioning Authority.

If you should discover that this incident makes life difficult for you at any other casino, then I would think that the services of a lawyer might be in order. Otherwise, it's an unpleasant experience from which you emerged unscathed and with your dignity intact.

Nonetheless, I'm sorry that you experienced it.

Ignatious said...

damn, thanks for taking the time to write this up. excellent tale.

StB said...

All that and you don't post the pictures???

Glad to hear you weren't thrown in the hoosegow!

Pauly said...

Bad beat of the month.

Anonymous said...

Too bad the pics were on your phone. Assuming you have a voice recorder on your phone you could have gotten a good "Don't tase me, bro" and become internet famous :-)

Anonymous said...

ok grump this is my 2nd post on this security thread cuz the whole situation really pissed me off... whenever i go play cards (which is quite often) i carry a backpack just for certain random things i have. If you carry some type of bag or something, you should carry copies of the gaming laws and regulations and anything to do with photography and their rights for detention of patrons. Just so you could once again prove them wrong.

Unknown said...

Have you posted this over at AVP yet? It seems to me that there are several local attorneys that habitate over there.

Good luck. I hope to catch up with you again in June.

Bob (Sauza)

Anonymous said...

Grump, sorry to hear this happened. TBH, I'm pretty much slack-jawed with shock. Good to know you stood up to them.

As desperate as casinos are for business right now, you wouldn't think the execs would let security run amok like this. I swear, the people running the gaming industry in LV look dumber with each passing day.

Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Crazy stuff. Waffles is right: The "suspended" license gag sounds like a fairly blatant ruse, the sort of thing that could come up later as part of a tall tale about how they couldn't let you leave. Glad you came away relatively unscathed, man.

A pic of the holding area, say with a coupla officers in frame, pointing toward the camera, woulda made for a swell "Guess the Casino."

Anonymous said...

Do need to start a reader boycott and email campaign? They need to feel the cost of their unlawful imprisonment!

Unknown said...

I agree with Champ. Thanks for taking the time to put a foot down and not take the easy way out.

Mike G said...

Wow this post even got mentioned on Vegas Rex, another whiney bitch with more free time on his hands than he knows what to do with.

Congratulations on the trespassing violation - the more time you spend outside a poker room the more money you save, since you're clearly not a winning player anyway - I've never seen you post any real numbers on this vanity project. Just a lot of idle speculation.

Unknown said...

Boycott the Cannery. There are plenty of other casinos.

SuicideKing said...

Oh Mike G, did that post hit a little close to home? I know it must feel bad being a rent-a-cop, but do you really have to troll the internet? If you are not amused by something, I suggest you refrain from reading it.

Grump, I think it's appalling what you had to go through to earn a living. I guess being able to live through 1100 plus blog posts means that you obviously can't make a living playing poker. I mean, it must be easy to live for years without a steady income right? Fight the man, Grump.

And Mike, get bent.

Fermented Wisdom said...

"F-Train said...
Short-Stacked Shamus said...
SuicideKing said..."

Thanks for the heads up -- I had considered visiting The Cannery on my next visit (no need now).

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike G .
You sound bitter ;
Maybe you work in security in Las Vegas ??
Hey wait, you do !! Ha Ha !

I see these goons in Chicago too. They're are all the same. No talent assclowns .

bellatrix78 said...

consider posting this to to
I'm sad you had to go through this casino stupidity. Finally you know how it is for blackjack and other APs.
Good luck

Anonymous said...

Contact BobN's office and see what he has to say. Even if he doesn't take the case he will most likely give you some good advice.

IMHO his book is a must read for any casino patron.

Anonymous said...

Boycott the Cannery!

Anonymous said...


Thanks for posting about this. Those clowns were way out of line.

You took a few photos, they asked you not to, you stopped. Should have been end of story.

So many asshats with badges (real or rental) nowadays are totally about "the big catch" and their authority. Whatever happened to wanting to serve the public?

I really hope you pursue this with the media and legally. Getting illegally detained (kidnapped) and them trying to intimidate you is just so wrong.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely unbelieveable, I saw Rex's post and thought, oh he's just mentioning Grump's previous post about the book and other situation. But I decided to visit anyway. You handled it very well, I must say, and I can understand not wanting to waste your time on a net zero situation with the casino and a lawyer, but if it happened to me I'd think long and hard about it. Sometimes it takes standing up, when we are confronted, and a lawsuit even at break even might qualify in my opinion. Good luck in whatever you decide though..

Andy Bloch said...

Definitely give Bob Nersesian a call or email if you haven't already.

I think you should file a criminal complaint against the Cannery officers involved. Although I've never heard of anyone in such a situation actually filing a complaint and having the police take them seriously by investigating and arresting the security guards, I've often thought of doing it myself.

Anonymous said...

DEFINITELY email this to Bob N., then follow up with a phone call the same day to alert him to your email.

I would think he'll represent you.

Definitely sue them.

And as others have noted, good job standing up for your rights.

Lavi D. said...

Vive la Résistance!

Thanks for the story.

You might like this if you haven't seen it already.

Anonymous said...

I would recommend to contact a few las vegas lawfirms just to ask if they'll take your case.

If you don't end up suing, you can just repeat your story on as many las vegas websites as you can find. Get the word out there. They need to lose business because of this.

Brett said...

Can Mike G make himself look any more like a complete idiot? Totally delusional.

He must be in his own Law Enforcement (aka Rent-A-Cop) world.

Anonymous said...

Casino security has ever reason to feel jumpy. Casino cages get robbed all the time in Las Vegas. Security doesn't know that you are taking pictures to plan an escape route for a future robbery. You could also be someone who has a grudge or be estranged from an ex girlfriend or wife and is planning to shoot them as they leave work. I understand the level of paranoia right now. Read the newspapers. There are incidents everyday. It's also North Las Vegas. Maybe you don't remember from years ago where people killed in a shooting outside the Silver Nugget.

Anonymous said...

Contact a lawyer for sure. In a civil lawsuit, the lawyer usually works on a contingency, probably 40%, instead of an hourly fee. You will most likely be offered a small settlement.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your brush with casino security....but co-operating with the security when they asked to see the pictures would have avoided this completely. If they wanted to delete some pics...let them. You can always go back another day and retake them again.

Will "The Hammer" said...

You da man !

Even if the lawsuit doesnt go forward, posting your experience and having it read by thousands of
customers and potential future guests will cost the Cannery lost revenues. They wont have a chance to get any of my money.

Haley said...

Looks like Grumpy is famous now!

Unknown said...

Rent-a-cops you can't live with them and you can't back-hand pimp slap them either. Life ain't fair.

Anonymous said...

Hire a lawyer to file a lawsuit. very simple charges. Then subpoena ALL the video tapes from the casino. From there let the attorney decide if it is worth pursuing. (I suspect the law requires them to videotape any holding in the back room) any lack of tape may be a violation of gaming laws. (post your detention on youtube, etc...)
lastly, just filing of a lawsuit will cost them money. (consider it a make-up for lost time)

Anonymous said...

While the rent-a-cops in this situation are clearly losers, you obviously had nothing better to do than make life difficult on yourself by refusing to show them the harmless photos.

There was a correct way to handle the situation and unfortunately you chose the spoiled child approach, and no one likes a spoiled child.

Before you get all ACLU on me, no you didn't prove a point or win any personal freedom battles in the Cannery that night, you acted like a baby and paid for it.

Sorry - you're a loser.

SuicideKing said...

Heaven forbid that we get "ACLU" on something. It's only the cornerstone of our rights as citizens. Too often are these rights ignored and trampled upon, especially in this day and age.

What if the grump had gotten tasered for his actions?

What if he had been shot?

Would you be arguing that he wouldn't be in the right then? Because the way I see it, there is no difference between his being illegally detained and him dying at the hands of malicious and insane security guards. It may not sound the same, but it isn't that far of a leap. Liberty is only protected when we stand up and chose to protect it. I'm sure we've all heard the poem that describes situations where no one standed up until they came for me.

At that point, there was no one left to stand up for me.

It may be a little long winded and a little impassioned, but I only post this because too quickly we look to discard our rights, rights that have been fought for countless times. To not stand up for those rights is to allow our enemies to be the very people that used to defend us.

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time by the blood of patriots and tyrants"

Go Grump. Get your money and let the tyrants hang in ultimate justice.

Anonymous said...

You can not go into a casino take a picture of the ceiling and wonder why your blog isn't a good enough front for security. This is naive. Not to mentioned being obsessed with challenging the authorities, in wrong area, for no reason, to prove a point is reckless. The casino wants nothing more than to protect its own interest and by challenging them you created doubt that your interest might not be in line with theirs. Interesting how you liked to skirt along making good decision and bad decision in the gray area. I bet that translate well on the poker table.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Intense. We do a lot of photos/video inside casinos that we review for our podcast. We've never been asked to stop and certainly never been detained. Cannery was on our list for a future show, so it's good to hear this now. We'll certainly avoid the trouble.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody look at the other side of this incident. Was there information out there about threats against places with large gatherings of people. I'm thinking a little cooperation would have went along ways. People are so quick to jump the few that protect us and put up with verbal abuse, from people who just want to be difficult. My quess would have been that they just wanted to make sure the pictures wern't of any thing that would jeopordize the public, and when you got Sassy that just up'ed the suspisions they had. What happened to people working together in this society? Your detention could have been two minutes instead of 1 1/2 hours if you showed a little cooperation.

Anonymous said...

Well, I think you should call Bob Nersesian, because I think from your description you might have a case that he would take on contigency. What do you have to lose by finding out?

I used to be on the blackjack team with one of the players who was illegally detained by the Frontier. Bob was his attorney and got him a six figure jury award since the casino wouldn't settle for a reasonable sum. I haven't read Bob's book so I don't know if my friend's case was in the book, but it could be. It was reported in the news. Anyhoo, if I recall correctly, he was detained for about the same amount of time that you were. I think you should make an appointment with Bob and see if you have a case. If they touched you against your will, it's an assault and you probably do, in my humble opinion. I wouldn't just walk away and say, "Oh well." If they are illegally detaining everyone who snaps photos with a cell phone, they are out of control and need to pay a fine somewhere to rein in their outrageous actions. This is America.

In my friend's case, he is a short gentleman, and they knocked off his hat and surrounded him with a number of very large security guards. One of them is around 400 pounds. I don't know why they let it get to trial, because apparently the videotape looked just awful in front of the jury. It was clear that he was being threatened and bullied. It's possible that you were surrounded in a similar way. It sounds like you were physically afraid to leave. This is a threat.

If it goes to trial, it could be many years before you see the money, however, the money could certainly be worth the wait! To be honest, my friend did not expect such a large award, for a card counter, however, he wanted to send a message that casinos will be called to account if they illegally detain and harass. They could have easily banned him from the blackjack table or just escorted him from the property, both legal ways to handle it if they didn't want him on their private property. Instead they chose to break the law and detain him against his will. If you as an individual break the law, you expect to get called on it. Casinos need to get called on it too.

In my personal view taking photos in a casino is rude and violates people's privacy. However, the way to handle it was to escort you off the property. Holding you against your will when you have committed no crime is not an option.

Omababe said...

>I also have to agree that in
>walking around the casinos,
>the "no taking pictures"
>signs are never around.

This is one thing I can never understand, of all places where "they" don't want you taking pictures (casinos, malls, subways, etc.) why are there never any "No Photos" or a circle-slash-camera icon sign?

>The first time we went to
>Vegas I actually asked a
>security person if I could

I've taken quite a number of shots in LV casinos, but I've always asked either a security person or else a "suit" if it's OK. The policies seem to vary from casino to casino and even from person to person. Most of them tell you to not shoot the cage or table games.

The only place I've been confronted for taking photos was the old Westward Ho, about a month before it closed. The security guy was nice, even apologetic, but he asked me to put the camera away.

Anonymous said...

I have an idea for how you can sue them. I am a law student at the University of Virginia, and I know that in VA, a 3rd year law student who has taken a few specific courses can a certificate that allows him to represent a client in court. If Nevada has a similar policy (likely), you could get a third year from UNLV to take the case for free. Someone would LOVE courtroom experience (or at least settlement negotiation experience.)

Anonymous said...

You should have 40 or 50 friends go back with you and ALL of you start taking pictures at the same time! Can you imagine the "keystone cops" running around trying to stop all you guys!!? DAMN!I'd PAY to see that!!!

Anonymous said...

I find the remarks of people who throw stones at your response without merit for this simple reason:

You were detained by someone who is not a police officer for violating a policy that was not posted.

If that is "OK" or "reasonable" then what is to prevent someone from inventing a policy on the spot and detaining you?

What if they never call the police and decide to 'disappear' you instead?

ANYONE who posts that Grump's 'attitude' is the problem is far too used to being told what to do. These aren't cops - these are overpaid undertrained bouncers using the money of the casino and muscle to intimidate you into compliance to anything they want.

I will not step foot in that place. Ever.

Anonymous said...

Hey, a smartass is the natural prey of anyone with a badge.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Texas reader. I don't have a Cannery card nor have I played there, but favorable posts of their VP would have compelled me to check it out on my next visit . Silent Boycott would not be effective, but get us an email of a VP or suit and I would be happy to email them and express my concerns of false imprisonment, theres room in a cell beside OJ for such antics.

My Last trip to Binions I was waiting near the security desk and asked if Mr. Security guy would call another officer, hand cuff me and get a picture with the $1 million bucks free photo deal there, but he had no sense of humor at all.

Texas Redeemer said...

Do need to start a reader boycott and email campaign? They need to feel the cost of their unlawful imprisonment!

Rakewell said...

Andy Bloch, if you're reading the follow-up comments, please email me (rakewell at cox dot net). You could help me with a question about working with Bob Nersesian, and I don't have any obvious other means of contacting you.

Anonymous said...

Typical casino security idiocy. The previous comments were right, give uneducated goons $12 an hour, authority, and nothing to do, and you get casino stupidity, err, security.

I would immediately file a complaint with the NGC, mentioning your pending lawsuit, the names of the officers, the time of day, date, etc.

BTW the casinos intentionally hold you when they're pissed off so they can attempt to claim you've trespassed, refused cooperation, etc. As soon as you leave, they have no case. Way to handle it right tho.

You can be very sure everyone I know who plays at the cannery or anywhere in vegas will find the url to this blog in their inbox.


Anonymous said...

And your picture please????? You DID take one right?

Anonymous said...

wow man thats just assanine. im impressed you know so much about the un-lawful detainer laws and what rights that security does have.
but... i do have to stand up for the police on this one. you have to understand that they were brought into a situation that they did not see take place, and were more than likely told a taller tale about it than was actually true. its their job to catch you in a lie. although "officer bad ass" may have taken it a bit too far.
and as far as the security guards go, not all of them are complete idiots, i assure you. some are ex-police and do actually know what rights the both of you have. its the idiots that know nothing that give them a bad name.
that really does suck that you were so inconvenienced, but hey... at least it made for one heck of a read lol.

Anonymous said...

Are you serious? You declined to prove that you were photographing their surveillance setup and you acted like a brat. How exactly are they supposed to know that you have no criminal intent?
If you go onto private property and want to take pictures - ASK FIRST. Is that so hard?
Congratulations on wasting other peoples' time and money and acting hurt about it.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about the bad night i hate these wanna be cops.

Anonymous said...

That sucks, but I got you beat by by miles.

I won't relive the whole story but here's the highlights.

It was my first time in Las Vegas.
I was staying at a casino on the strip and looking back what I was doing did look a little suspicious. So without my knowledge they searched my room and did a background check and watched me like a hawk.

They were convinced I was cheating. Even though I was LOSING MONEY!

A plain clothes security guard confronts me the last day I'm there. In front of a bunch of other employees he starts making acusations and grilling me and yelling. When I explained what I was doing and why, it made complete sense.

Everybody just looked and each other like... OOOPS

Unfortunetly thats not where it ended. I guess this guy didn't want to admit he made a mistake.
Since I knew I'd done nothing wrong I just rolled with it. Might as well have some fun.

At one point I was asked to look over a railing and guess how far it was to the ground. I was tackled. I was threatend with jail time. Then finally banned.

A few years later I'm back in Las Vegas at a different hotel. When I check in I discover the guy had smeared me in the Griffin book. So they treat me like a leper.

Recently I had to go back to LV again for work. I didn't make the arrangments. Guess where I was staying. Yup. I did the same things that got me into trouble the first time and nobody even blinked. Apparently it wasen't that suspicous after all.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, the assault, battery, and wrongful imprisonment charges are all criminal as well as civil actions. You can go to the police district who responded to the call, demand to press charges, and the DA will be required by law to prosecute the case in a criminal manner.

Casino Security said...


Anonymous said...

I know your feeling on the security and you are absolutely right, they couldnt make it in law enforcement and no one else will hire them because of their IQ, but they do need to be taught a lesson, falsifying reports and the way they abuse the authority they have or think they have, as for training, they have none, this I know, very well. take a guess where I work and what I do...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. It pains me that in this day in age that casinos are still playing the "tough guy" card.

They had no right to detain you, much less grab your arm. That is called false imprisonment, and kidnapping. Just as I could not arrest someone in my house for taking pictures, they can't arrest you. These idiots seem to think because they are a business they are somehow above the law. Well they aren't.

Also I would say you are deserving of punitive damages as the entire situation would cause the average person distress and discomfort. It is scary being detained in a strange place for over an hour.

I hope you sue, or plan on suing.

Anonymous said...

Are you bloody daft?You can't take pictures inside, or even near a casino. It is for security. It is to prevent criminals from doing their thing. I can understand that they detained you, I would have too. They merely followed a protocol for suspicious behaviour. And since everyone knows that taking pictures in a casino is not allowed, taking pictures in a casino is suspicious behaviour. Same with keeping both hands visible at all times while playing. If you don't, you'll fit the suspicious category, and WILL be questioned, if it is noticed...So... yea... I'm with the casino on this one.

Anonymous said...

Your comments are right on. Here in California we have a casino called Sycuan,where this stuff goes on all the time. The problem is these rejects actually think they are real police officers. In truth a large percentage of them are police academy rejects. They probably could not pass the psychological test,the physical test, the background check,or the drug screening. In my opinion the best security officers are retired police officers. They command a certain respect from dealing with the public and know how to keep everything calm. Let's face it these 22 year old losers where not taking Calculus when they were in high school. I have found the best way to handle this situation is to ask to speak to their supervisor who probably has an IQ in triple digits. In reply to one of your readers who implied that you must have been doing something wrong to be stopped by these fools,nothing could be further from the truth. At Sycuan they routinely stop people and ask for identification. I think they do this so they can hear themselves talk to each other on their police radios,and justify their jobs. Let's face it their number one job is to protect casino money,not your security. When a fight breaks out its like watching Barney Fife on the Andy Griffin show,sorry for that reference for your younger readers. Sycuan Casino also likes to make routine traffic stops as you are driving on and off the reservation,claiming you were speeding,or my favorite driving erratically. Do not argue with these people just say I was not aware of that. Their ticket has no meaning in the United States. You only have to worry if they call the real police. They will let you off with a warning,and they get to fill out paperwork,a win win situation. I have found the best way to deal with this is to park my car in El Cajon and take the bus in,or to visit Barona,or Viejas. Oh well there is a dealer at Sycuan who constantly says push when you win a bet at blackjack,or scoops up the money on a push. I am hoping to get a video of her doing it

Anonymous said...

No it is to watch the pit bosses,dealers and customers. This is the only place where the cameras are on 24 7. They do. Have to verify jackpot payouts.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the most intelligent things that I have heard come out of a casino security person. Your high school English teacher must be proud of you,wait you did not make it to high school. I think we are all proud of you that you have a minimum wage job. Gee I can't figure out why you have not been hired by any police departments. I do not know where you live,but if you can find California on the map,you will be able to get a job at Sycuan Casino. You will probably make Captain within a week,and make $14 a hour,and get a cupcake on your birthday

Anonymous said...

That is assine. There job is to protect everyone. The only reason they do not like photographs is they are worried about their questionable activities being shown to the gaming commission.

bestlivedealercasino said...

Now people are capable of anything, because casinos are forced to protect everything that has value. There are so a lot of fraudsters who cheat the casino of the huge amount of dollars.

Anonymous said...

Spoiled brat, they should have beaton your teeth out.maybe a broken leg..its common sense not to take pictures in a casino. You proved your suspicious behaviour by refusing to show security the pictures you took . VERY STUPID.