The difference between land-based and an online casino is pretty big. When you are talking to a live casino dealer they will tell you about the fun chats with the players, great game flow and they don't get offended or mad at gamblers who are frustrated.
Unlike the online gaming world which also offers great promotions and fun for players (from blackjack to the exciting game of bingo), in the land-based casino environment, when you’re a high roller you can do just about whatever you like. And some cases these filthy rich gamblers are rude. At least that’s the impression I’m left with, after more than a decade of working in London’s top casinos. Money seems to be accepted as a substitute for manners, and feral behaviour is indulged in those who can flash enough cash. My friend Richard says when you hit the customers’ numbers they’re all friendly, then as soon as they start losing, they look at you as if you’re gum on the bottom of their shoe. He explains, “in the space of 20 minutes, you can go from being best buddies to mortal enemies, and they’ll start swearing at you in a variety of languages.” For Richard, “gay boy,” “idiot boy” and “rubbish” were the insults he heard the most. He adds, “it was funny when they tried to insult you in English as they’d get it slightly wrong. They’d tell you, ‘you have a brain like a goat’ or, ‘you have head in your arse.’”
A particular favourite of mine was a player whose face was a set scowl, repeatedly asked why I was so stupid. I once heard Theresa May described as “Skeletor’s Gran” but this player was a far stronger contender for the title. Picture Skeletor as an elderly lady whose mouth had fused deep wrinkles as she sat shrouded in an aura of resentment, feeling I paid her out less than she believed she was due. “Stupid girl! Stupid! Why are you so stupid?” She called a friend of mine a bitch, and sometimes she’d troll the female croupiers by saying she wanted, “the pretty one” to deal to her instead. “Isn’t this one pretty?” a manager once asked her, referring to the dealer already on the table. “No,” said Skeletor’s Gran.
My friend Ed has also had his share of abuse. He says, “I was told once that I wasn't good enough to clean a customer’s shoes, and another player told me I was only good enough for parking cars!” Jessica remembers dealing with a customer, “with a flabby, warty neck.” She says, “if he lost around £5,000, he’d swear at you in Arabic. If he lost around £10,000, he’d swear you in French, and if he took a really big hit, he’d swear at you in English, so you damn well understood he was insulting you!” The most common insults were “sharmuta” (Arabic for “whore”) and “manuka” (no idea how these words are spelled) which meant “taker.” It was used in the sense of, “you take my money” and, “you take it up the arse.” And then there was the Turkish punter whose catchphrases included, “I’ll fuck your mum,” and “you’ve got dirty tits.” (I’m not sure there’s any explanation for this).
Another favourite player of mine was a woman I fondly referred to as The Russian Whore of Babylon. She wore thigh-high boots with a wig she might have bought in a joke shop, and a baggy jumper “dress” that only just covered her bottom. Let’s be honest - it was literally just a jumper, and she wore it without a skirt or any trousers. She sent away one dealer, telling her, “you’re too old!” and told another, “you’d better not touch your boyfriend. You’re so unlucky he would probably die.” Other classics included, “I hate you. You know that? I really hate you.” And losing, she’d repeatedly ask, “what’s wrong with you?” Yeah, I don’t know, but at least I can dress myself in the morning.
But among the many, many rude punters I’ve met, there are a few who stand out, like bile-soaked sweetcorn in sick. I’d like to give them their own special mentions:
In every casino, some horrible older men make repeated references to sex. One of these was a customer whose name sounded a bit like Nasty Geezer. He’d come back from the toilet with a big squirt of hand cream in his palm, saying, “I have had hand relief”. Stacking up his chips he’d tell us to check out his “erection,” and standing up to stretch, he’d show us his underpants, having undone his trousers beneath the table. On one occasion, a female inspector said he’d better have something to eat to soak up all the whiskey he was drinking. He looked at her breasts and said, “I’d rather have something to suck.”
In the same club, a customer came out of the toilet and put his fingers under a dealer’s nose, telling her to, “smell my spunk,” and there was a guy who used to whisper “pussy” at the female croupiers as they were dealing.
There was one player who looked like Dick Dastardly off Wacky Races, who’d look at girls’ bottoms and ask if they liked anal sex. “You like it, don’t you?” he’d say, smiling. Then there was the punter who looked like aging 70s singer Leo Sayer, if only he’d had a purple rinse and treated his skin to regular blasts from an exhaust pipe. He frequently asked me if I’d have a bath with him, offering to buy me a crate of mangoes. Oh, and a special mention for the one who grabbed my uniform at the top of the thigh-high split and happily told me that he’d seen my knickers and knew what colour they were.
Card games were a perverts’ paradise. Guys could get all nudge nudge wink wink over the Perfect Pair side bet on blackjack, while nodding towards the dealer’s cleavage. “Nice pair!” they’d snicker, ostensibly in reference to the cards. One of the worst offenders loved cutting the cards as it gave him the chance to say, “ah, I cut deep, you like it when I cut it deep!” It was a shit innuendo by anyone’s standards, but his cum-voice made it unmistakably creepy.
Some players were abusive towards the black and Chinese staff, refusing to have them as dealers. One particular punter would go mental at the prospect of a Chinese dealer, shouting: “NO CHINESE! NO CHINESE!” He’d scream this at anyone he deemed to be Chinese, whether they were Chinese or not. One of the dealers on his hit list was actually from Peru, and he’d go apoplectic if she came anywhere near his table.
A friend of mine, who was Chinese, regularly experienced racism, with one customer asking her where she was from, then saying, “why did you come here then? Why don’t you go back there?”
One customer, who refused to have black staff dealing or inspecting on his table, was once heard to say, “I don’t do brown” and another made racist jokes. And then there was the customer who wouldn’t have dealers from other countries and go into Daily Mail style rants about “foreign people.”
It wasn’t unusual for punters to launch their chips at the dealers’ fingers with the force of Fatima Whitbread in her javelin throwing days. You learnt to move pretty quickly, but on one occasion, a customer slammed his chips down so hard, that one chip snapped and another ricocheted off the table, hitting a dealer in the face. He then went over and taunted her, calling her a silly bitch. This punter had previously been barred from another casino for pinning a pit boss up against the wall, and he’d also threatened to “get me” outside.
This kind of threat wasn’t unusual. Another player told a dealer that he’d wait for her outside and punch her in the face, and an arms dealer pulled an inspector out of his chair by the lapels, for calling “no more bets” on roulette. “He didn’t like being told what to do,” says Mark, “so he told me there’d be a bullet in my head the next time he saw me.”
Some punters threw chairs and ashtrays, and occasionally one would push a table against a dealer. I was at work one day when maintenance came in to fix all the blackjack tables to the floor, following an incident when a customer pushed the table up towards the dealer, sending the float and the chips flying. At the time, he was losing £200,000, then he’d bought in for another £2,000 to double his bet, and it lost.
It wasn’t just the gaming staff who suffered. One of the casino’s drivers was on his motorbike outside the club, when one of the punters knocked him off his bike, running him over. It was an accident, and the customer got out of his car, and started to say how sorry he was. But then the driver’s helmet came off, and the punter stopped apologizing when he saw that the guy on the road was just casino staff.
Thankfully, these are extreme cases of a small percentage of pompous high rollers. As for the majority of players, the losers are in control and the winners are out of acceptable control!