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Posted by on Dec 24, 2016 in Blog, Essays, Las Vegas | 13 comments

Is the Stations Casinos’ Monthly “Drawing” Rigged?

 

red-rock-casino

 

Are the monthly drawings held at a Stations Casino rigged in favor of VIPs?

That’s my suspicion following a highly-unlikely series of events that happened last night at the Red Rock giveaway.  Perhaps readers with backgrounds in mathematics and probability might chime in and render their opinions.

Stations Casinos are very generous with giveaways.  Several enticing promotions are offered — including weekly football contests, free slot and video poker play, extra-points multipliers, discounts on food and entertainment, as well as monthly “drawings” for prize money.  I believe that all of the Stations Casinos participate in these same promotions.  However, I tend to play mostly at Red Rock Casino in Summerlin more than the rest, because it’s closest to my home.

Over the past nine months, I’ve accumulated hundreds of thousands of player points worth lots of comps — due mostly to a large volume of sports wagers (to their credit, Stations Casinos is one of the few to award points for wagers made via their online betting app).  Normally, a monthly drawing with such a low probability of winning simply would not be worth my time.  I have no interest in playing long shots or losing at lotteries.  However, since most major sports are taking place this time of year, I’ve managed to acquire huge amounts of credits in both November and December.  Accordingly, the lovely Marieta and I decided to do something which is rare for us, which was to show up on a Friday night, December 23rd at 8:15 pm for their monthly drawing.  Yeah, I knew we wouldn’t win it, but if it was to happen this seemed like the best chance.

To be eligible for prizes, all one must do is be 21 years old and swipe his or her rewards card at one of the many electronic kiosks located throughout the casino.  Players have the entire month to do this.  For instance, if you swipe the card, that one visit is (usually) worth 10 entries into the monthly drawing.  Many players swipe cards on multiple days, therefor increasing their chances to win.  Naturally, if a player gives action, he or she receives more entries.  However, wagering is not required to qualify and be included in the contest.  Under these loosest of rules, there must be tens of thousands of entrants into each monthly drawing.  I don’t know the actual numbers, of course.  But this seems to be a reasonable assumption.

Ten winners are chosen.  Presumably, the drawings are random, which means everyone has a chance to win.  Prize money ranges from a few hundred dollars up to $10,000 for first place.  Winners are required to be present at the casino.  This requirement is a huge factor, since many players probably swipe their cards over the course of the entire month, but then don’t bother showing up.  The number of no-shows must be in the tens of thousands.

Marieta and I arrived at Red Rock promptly at 8 pm.  We took a position near the makeshift stage located in the middle of the casino.  The “drawing” was done electronically.  Instead of each winner’s name being called out (which would seem easier to manage), the card numbers were announced and then displayed upon a screen.  This gave the proceedings all the charm of a visit to the local DMV.  The emcee who was running the drawing was horrendous.  She had the personality of a checkout girl asking for a price check at a grocery store.  There was no welcome.  No holiday greetings.  No explanation.  No drama.  However, we didn’t come for the “entertainment.”  We came to watch the drawing and hopefully win some free cash.

Ten numbers were announced and flashed upon the screen.  The numbers were long and frankly, for many in the crowd, very difficult to both hear and see.  I can only imagine the problem many older patrons must have had in trying to figure out if they won or not.  The stage area was surrounded by perhaps 600-700 people, all who were standing.  Most were age 60 and up.  The remainder of the resort area likely had a few thousand guests spread throughout the casino floor.

Winners were given just two minutes to show up and claim their prize.  Two minutes!  For someone located on the other side of the casino, getting through a maze of people and finding the stage, would have been next to impossible.  Moreover, the inept announcer gave no instructions on precisely what to do if the players’ number was chosen.  Most of the people around me appeared either bored or confused.  I was both.  Within minutes, that would turn to anger and then — suspicion.

Under these circumstances, it seem impossible that most of the winners, each randomly chosen, would just so happen to be conveniently standing next to the stage.  I estimated that it would take 30-40 minutes, at the very least, to round up all ten winners.  It might even take an hour.  Who knew?  Yet incredibly, NINE out of TEN winners were present, verified, and then seated next to the stage.  All of this happened within just a few minutes!

That wasn’t just a red flag.  It was a giant semaphore signal that something about this “drawing” wasn’t quite right.  It didn’t add up.

Out of the tens of thousands of eligible winners with their names entered in the drawing, many undoubtedly who were not present inside the casino last night, how’s it possible that nine of the winners were present?  Wouldn’t at least a few be from out of town?  Wouldn’t a few be busy with other activities just two days before Christmas?  Wouldn’t some have forgotten about the drawing?  Wouldn’t a few have trouble finding the stage within the narrow two-minute allotment of time?  How incredible is it that nine winners just so happened to be right there on the spot?

But there was something else.  What was even more strange was that none of the winners showed much of a reaction.  Usually, when people win something they get excited.  They scream.  They jump up and down.  They yell.  There was virtually no reaction by any of the nine winners.  This seemed beyond normal expectation for what would happen if you randomly plucked nine people out of a casino crowd and told them they were guaranteed to win hundreds of dollars in prize money, and perhaps even $10,000.  All the winners appeared to be upscale people, and by that I mean wealthy locals who had lots of money with which to gamble.  In other words, they looked like VIPs.  It was as though they knew.

Still, one winner remained undetermined.  Since no one showed up for the tenth spot, another number was “randomly” chosen and bingo!  Within seconds that tenth and final winner was magically standing right there in the crowd.  How amazing!  What are the odds!

I have no idea if there are wink-wink deals with certain VIPs in these monthly drawings.  From a purely profit standpoint, such manipulation would make sense.  But, I can’t make that claim without some kind of proof.  Perhaps the “drawing” is really on the square.  Perhaps out of tens of thousands of eligible winners, ten out of the 11 people selected just happened to be standing next to the stage at Red Rock last night.  That said, there are enough mathematical improbabilities here to raise serious doubts that this was/is a fair contest.

If Stations Casinos promotes this as a “giveaway” (which they do), there’s probably nothing technically corrupt about any favoritism.  After all, giving perks to the heaviest losers would indeed be a giveaway and a stroke of the suckers who drop bundles at the casino.  However, these monthly contests are advertised as drawings.  One presumes that a drawing is random and that everyone has a chance to win.

If a representative of Stations Casinos wishes to answer these concerns I’ve raised, then I’ll make this public forum available to them without editorial comment.  I’m willing to provide equal time in order to get an explanation.  For the record, I did make an attempt to ask someone about the unlikelihood of all the winners being present at the casino.  The market representative standing next to the stage was rude and dismissive of my inquiry, which incited me to raise this publicly.

In the meantime, I’d like to hear from readers who understand probability and get an unbiased assessment of what occurred.  Could 10 out of 11 winners all manage to be present on the night of a drawing out of tens of thousands of entrants, particularly within an area that holds no more than a few thousand people?

Something sure smells fishy at Red Rock to me.

 

UPDATE (3:45 pm):   Here’s information I received from someone I know (a local player), who asks to remain anonymous.  Again, if Station Casinos wishes to refute this, I will grant them that opportunity. Here’s the info:

“—————I’m a Chairman Card holder with around 3,000,000 points a year. Based on play I know for a fact that the first SEVEN spots are for each casino top players each contest. The other THREE are random. The reason I know this is because 3 days before a contest, I have been called by my host (multiple times) to prompt me into coming to play that night. He will say your x# of points away this month for being on our list!! The list he calls is the Top SEVEN each month. So you are right on. I would prefer not to be mentioned in any articles.———-“

 

UPDATE (5:00 pm):  I think this has now been sufficiently cleared up, thanks to a diverse pool of minds who shared comments on Facebook.  For all the participation, thank you.  My conclusion is that this is quite a misleading promotion that dupes many players into thinking they have some measure of equivalency.  Moreover, there is not much randomness about the “drawing” or the final outcome since top VIPs are (apparently) contacted in advance.  That gives them a decided advantage since they will be present the night of the drawing over the vast majority of participants who do now have that insider information.  This is a marketing gimmick, and quite ambiguous and poorly run casino promotion, that deserves exposure.  READ ALL THE FACEBOOK COMMENTS HERE.

 

13 Comments

  1. This is just a guess, but if you have to swipe in to enter the “drawing” and you must be present to win, then it would be pretty easy and make a lot of sense to program the computer to only draw from guests that swiped in on the current day.

    That would explain why those that were drawn were in attendance, but it’s still a little fishy that the winners were located near the stage and that none of them seemed surprised or excited.

  2. Serious question; Venetian paid $1 Million fine in 2004 for fixing a contest for VIPs to win.

  3. There’s no way of determining the “odds” of something like this happening without the drawing being “rigged”. There’s a *lot* of information missing here that’s critical to evaluating any odds. The biggest deal is that while you mention that anyone can be entered to the drawing by swiping their player’s card at the kiosk, you imply but don’t discuss that one gets additional entries by betting. In most of these contests, the entries are earned by high-rollers through gambling that dwarfs the points given to folks for swiping their cards at the kiosks.

    There are probably a couple dozen players who are either advantage or degenerate gamblers who are getting so many entries that such an occurrence is not uncommon. I don’t know the details of this particular contest, but I have known the rules to other similar contests such that the APs who attend know they’re collectively favorites to sweep the prizes and what the odds are that they’ll be selected. I know for a fact you know people personally who have been in this position. This is the way these things work, and I’m a little surprised that this wasn’t obvious to you.

    So, it’s quite likely that the winners knew they’d have a good shot to win it, and it’s quite likely that many of them knew how likely they were to win with many of them splitting action, and it’s quite likely that most of them didn’t get excited because they’d already won this in previous months multiple times, just as they no longer get excited when they hit $1 royals.

    There’s almost certainly no story here. The lesson: Unless you know your odds to be a winner in such a contest, it’s almost certainly not worth your time and the cost of gas to show up.

  4. I pretty much agree with Nick. Also, the numbers may have been displayed in the VIP lounge, with winners being able to claim prizes there.

  5. Paranoia on your part. Why would people swipe to activate entries if they weren’t going to show up for the drawing? I guarantee that most of the people called played way more than you did. The typical high roller at Red Rock probably has between 30K and 100K tickets. Those people are all going to be there, near the stage, waiting for their name to be called. Many of the same high rollers are called every month because they play a ton.

  6. Chairman status here, won a vehicle in a drawing this year. Your perception of the drawing is fantastically ill-informed.

    The lion’s share of entries are held by high-volume slot and VP players. They’re not excited because they’ve been through this drill before. Further, the software limits its draws to players who have activated their entries on the day of the drawing…this cannot have escaped your notice as you had to activate your own at the kiosk to be eligible.

    If they do rig drawings, it didn’t stop me from winning, and I’ve barely spoken to a host there in my life. I did, however, put in a ton of play to earn my entries.

    • NOLAN REPLIES:

      If some VIP players are called in advance and then encouraged to show up and meanwhile most others are not, doesn’t that qualify as “rigged?” Moreover, the electronic kiosk CLEARLY displays you can ACTIVATE entries all days leading up to the drawing. That’s clear because I saw it on the screen numerous times and hit activate button. Why have the ACTIVATE button during Dec. 1-22, if you then must also activate on Dec. 23rd? That just doesn’t make any sense.

      At the very least, this is a very poorly run and quite misleading promotion.

      — ND

  7. 100 % COLUSION, WHICH IS A FORM OF CHEATING & THEFT. Virtually impossible to prove in a court.The casino manager should be given a raise pulling it off. Station’s CORPORATE SUITS should be put in prison.

  8. Heads up for Tuesday drawings or end of the month drawings on last Sunday each month. You need to swipe your players card before 5:59pm to activate tickets for each drawing!!!

    If you swipe your players card after 6pm before the drawing starts. Your players card number will not get picked by the computer!!!

    Honestly I think Bingo at red rock more rigged!?! I play there multiple times. I see same older couple winning all the time with 4 to 5 bingo wins per session.

  9. Fantastic post however I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further.
    Thanks!

  10. The right move in a questionable situation is to call Gaming Control on the spot and make a complaint. They will investgate immediately. I have done this many times in the past over fishy drawings or poorly advertised promos and they have always responded — sometimes dramatically.

    All promotional rules must appear in a single printed binder at the club for inspection. Period. This rule is violated frequently, and casinos do get written up for it.

  11. Stations drawings are indeed fixed as are the majority of drawings in this town.

    The fact that the top 7 spots are predetermined yells rigged. The problem, is that the gaming commission sides with the casino 99 percent of the time.

    For transparency it’s important to note that stations casinos went bankrupt a few years ago and reformed under a different name absolving them from hundreds of millions in debt. They are one of the if not the most corrupt gambling orgs in the state.

    Your best bet is to stop giving these thieves your business. Use William hill to bet. They have better lines anyway.

    So long as the idiot vegas locals keep patronizing these scam operations nothing will change. And let’s fact it. The majority of people who live in Las Vegas are pretty inept and dumb enough to think they just have bad luck.

  12. Their random contests are not random. The selections of winners are based on a complex algorithm that basically ensures a Chairman or President winner for the big prizes. I’ll surmise this same algorithm is used for smaller contests. What they doing is legal although anything represented as “random” is supposed to be RANDOM….everyone has an equal chance to win. The $10,000+ cash prizes on their Monopoly give away is a “targeted selection” game. In effect, you have no chance unless you are a high tier card holder.

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