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Casino Sees Surge in Violent Crimes Against…Slot Machines?

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Joe Raedle, Getty Images

The Resorts World Casino in Queens, New York has seen a surge in police presence and arrests. It’s not due to casino goers committing crimes against one another, though.

Since the establishment’s October opening, 41 people have been arrested for damaging slot machines. By contrast, there have only been 19 arrests for crimes like larceny (such as picking pockets) and other assaults.

“It happens like three, four times a week, and that’s only on my shift,” said Mike Persaud, a security guard at the casino, said about the wave of machines being punched by people who are infuriated by their gambling luck — or lack thereof.

Angry gamblers punch, kick and slap machines. The irony is that the cost of fixing the machines, which is the responsibility of the person who causes the damage, is often more than the money the gambler lost in the machine in the first place. The machine beaters also receive a third-degree criminal mischief charge, which carries a one-year maximum jail sentence. So, moral of the story: don’t beat up slot machines.

“I lost $300 without a bonus, so yes, I broke the machine,” George Govan, 56, told security guards when he was caught bashing a machine. “And I’d do it again.” He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. Another man, Jashim Uuddin, 34, smashed a machine when he lost $5,000. The damage totaled $2,000 and he also did 70 hours of community service.

The slot machine punching also caused a spike in hand surgeries and machine repair, so it is contributing to the economy, if you want to find a bright side in this story. Plus, there’s only one victim, since machines don’t fight back. However, as machines become more digitally advanced, they cost more money to fix.

So think twice next time you take your fist to a slot machine. At this point, it’s not that much different than punching a person, in terms of post-punch inconveniences.

[The New York Times]

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