Bed bugs becoming new scam to get comps
August 29, 2018 3:00 AM
by The Analyst
Hotel casino resorts attract all kinds of people, everyone from adventure seeking tourists to hardcore gamblers to even scam artists. Perhaps it is because of the extent of comping, or the fact that the allure of money in casinos is so pervasive even normal straight arrow types will try and take a shot when they come here, which leads me into one of the shady scams making the rounds of our casino resorts.
Because of the number of tourists coming to Las Vegas, especially those from warm and humid climates, it is not uncommon for hotels to suffer an occasional infestation of bed bugs. The way it usually occurs is someone coming from a place like Hawaii or Central America will have a bed bug or two hitching a ride on their luggage.
These unwitting tourists check in and usually leave their bags on the floor in their room, where the hitchhiker departs from the bag and makes itself at home. As bed bugs are rather prolific, within a few days there will be a significant presence, all hungry for a meal. So, pity the next guest using that room as they just became buffet.
When this happens most of the better hotels comp the affected guest for their stay, replace their luggage and clothing, add a few shows and meals for good will and, pending how much the guest suffered, even offer a complimentary return future visit. Unfortunately, these good and proper gestures on the hotel’s part have become the source and target of abuse.
Recently on a rare occasion that I wore a suit for a meeting at one of our finer hotels here in Las Vegas, I ran into a former employee who was responsible for the property’s hotel operations. While we were talking near the front desk one the hotel executives approached us to seek direction on a guest problem related to bed bugs.
The complaining guests had followed the executive over to us, and presumed because of my obvious older age, I was in charge of the hotel and proceeded to share their tail of horror over being attacked by bed bugs. My former colleague seemed to enjoy this slight confusion and, what the heck, we ran with it.
The guests, after sharing their tale and showing the seeming bite marks, then shared the video from their smart phone of the attacking pest scurrying around their bed and completed their story with how they had already spoken to their family attorney and how these cases are often settled with payments for medical care, new clothing, luggage, complimentary stay and of course some level of cash compensation for their inconvenience.
Sadly for them their story had a few holes. After confirming they were sure of their story and had forwarded their video to my former colleague, the fun started. Doing my best Sherlock Holmes imitation, I proceeded to point out to them their video only showed a singular bug and that is very rarely the case unless the bug came in on their baggage. Then I pointed out that the closeup shot of the bug showed it could not have feasted on them as when a bed bug feeds it swells in size from the ingested blood and can barely crawl back to its nest.
I then asked how they wanted to pay for the cleaning of the bed bug from the room and if they would prefer to settle quietly or if we should call the police and press charges. At this point they broke down and admitted they bought the bed bug from a street vendor who was selling them on the Strip for $50 along with instructions on how to get comps and other considerations from a hotel.
A little part of me wants to applaud the entrepreneurial spirit of the bug seller; a bigger part of me wants to see them in a squad car going to jail or forced to sleep in a bed with the bugs they sell.
Most serious IT people will tell you that for large integrated systems there is really no such thing as perfect or bug free software or hardware and the best to hope for is when bugs occur they are small and comparably immaterial to the benefits of the systems.
Over my years I have seen a wide range of hardware and software issues that escaped the exhaustive and comprehensive testing systems and devices are put through before they are put out to the gaming public. As such, when the story broke about CG Technology self-reporting issues with their system, the nature of them and that they had a stipulated deal with the Nevada Gaming Board, other than wondering about the accountability of the state and private testing labs who blessed their systems, I really thought little more about it till the Nevada Gaming Commission rejected the settlement proposed by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
I was first taken back that the Commission rejected the settlement as I could not recall a previous time such an event took place and wondered if in one action they scuttled the ability of the NGCB Chair to facilitate quick and fair resolutions of events.
Then I wondered if all other companies who have technology issues would suffer similar fates, or if the personality of the NGC has changed and it now wants to be assertive in administration of gaming regulations rather than being a fundamentally quiet policy setting body.
However, suddenly, the Nevada Gaming Commission meetings became much more interesting to pay attention to than their past generally rubber-stamping sessions.