The River: Lead us not into temptation and other concerns aboard busy riverboat gaming casinos – User-generated content

The riverboat captain is a storyteller, and Captain Don Sanders will be sharing the stories of his long association with the river — from discovery to a way of love and life. This a part of a long and continuing story.

By Captain Don Sanders
Special to NKyTribune

“And lead us not into temptation…”
–The Lord’s Prayer

Gambling boats bet their existence on the temptations of the weak. All that is fine and dandy unless the weaker ones are on the payroll. Then the itch became a predicament. The temptation for theft of casino resources from within comes in varying magnitudes. For example:

Gambling boats bet their existence on the temptations of the weak.

Typically, technicians clad in pocketless coveralls count the daily “drop” in secure, padlocked rooms festooned with cameras(“eyes in the sky”) eavesdropping on each employee’s every move. The chambers for counting coins and tokens are labeled “Hard Count,” while paper currency finds its way into  “Soft Count” for tabulation. These secluded, secret niches seem impregnatable. Still, ever so often, someone employed inside the vaulted compartments believes themselves more innovative than the carefully orchestrated system of checks and balances for the internal security of all that dough.

One long-employed matron on the Soft Count staff pulled off a successful scheme for several years until she began living beyond her means. Too many nice accessories: cars, houses, vacation trips, etc. The dumbest mistake perpetrated in the book for thieves. She’s probably out of the joint by now. Perhaps, not.

When I assumed charge of the last of five casino boats, the magnificent paddlewheeler was freshly north of New Orleans. Below deck, far down in the hold, the Hard / Soft Count suite of rooms lay unsecured as no money was supposedly on board. Instead, stacked high on a large wooden pallet in one of the rooms were metal “bill validators,” or small strong boxes made to fit inside slot machines. Currency inserted into a one-armed bandit gambling device went directly into the secure boxes and was only removed once inside the Soft Count area. Although I passed the stack a dozen times making security rounds of the vessel, I assumed the boxes were empty and, of course, had no reason to believe otherwise.

Typically, technicians clad in pocketless coveralls count the daily ‘drop’ in secure padlocked rooms festooned with cameras (eyes in the sky) eavesdropping on each employee’s every move

For several months while we waited for our facility’s completion over 100 miles upstream, the crew onboard the riverboat was predominantly maritime personnel. However, once work progressed on the home port, employees of other departments began showing up. One of these fellows allowed his curiosity to guide him toward the stack of strong boxes, where he found some flush with greenback dollars of various denominations. After stuffing his pockets with several thousand bucks, he confided to a co-worker, “You ought to get some of that money in those metal cans down in Soft Count. I got me a few thou for myself.”

Of course, the co-worker reported the misadventure to their supervisor, but the miscreant chanced out when he was permitted to return the cash without facing prosecution. Had this happened once gambling officially started, the fellow’s fate would have taken a different course. Fortunately, he benefited from a misunderstanding that the cash was not available for the taking. How …….



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