By Victor “Vegas Vic” Royer
Finding a good, secure place to put your purse, or bag, is not so easy these days. A few years ago, when slot machines still used coins, they all had a drop tray where the coins would fall after a win. This was not only nice, and made the casino experience a lot more fun, but this coin tray was also the perfect place for ladies to put their purse, or bag. The trays were big enough for this, as well as the coins. This way the bag, or purse, was right in front of you, where you could see it, and where it was protected by your body, knees, and the fact that you were sitting right there, in front of it.
But now slot machines no longer use coins, and so there is no tray. At least not on most slot machines. There are some that still have those trays, but not for coins. On these slots the tray is there usually because that’s where the machine prints the winning tickets. This is done to make it easily identifiable, so that players would know where their money comes out. But it’s also the perfect place to keep your bag, or purse. Just like on the older machines.
But such machines are very few, these days. Most slot manufacturers simply don’t take such things into account when designing the slots. Even though machines are played mostly by women, slot designers just don’t think like the players, or what the players will actually need when using these machines, and playing these games. I’ve been pointing this out to machine manufactures ever since coins stopped being used, but many of them still aren’t listening.
So, what is a lady to do?
First, do NOT put the bag on the ground. Either in front of you, to either side, and definitely not under the chair, or in the back of it. And do NOT hang the bag on the arm rests, or the back of the chair, so that it swings around, or hangs to the side, or especially if it hangs toward the back of the chair. Doing this is to invite thieves. Some of them are so quick that they can open, empty, and close your bag or purse so fast you don’t even know anyone has been there.
But where do you put it?
If you have a small purse, keep it in your lap. If you have a small bag with a strap, wrap that strap around your wrist, and keep it there, tight, and in front of you. And, if you have a larger bag, or purse, then put the strap over your shoulder, and then make sure the bag rests on your lap, or at least very near your hands, where you can see it at all times, and grab for it at any time. No matter how you do it, the trick is to have your purse, or bag, firmly anchored to YOU, and NOT the chair.
But even then, always be aware of where it is. Sometimes thieves will work in pairs, or even groups. Here’s what can happen:
You’re sitting at the slot machine, happily playing and having a good time. If you’re with friends, you’re almost always safe. But if you’re playing alone, then you could be distracted. One of the most common cons goes like this:
A happy, joyous, talkative woman comes walking by, madly searching a large handbag, muttering, seemingly frustrated, sometimes even talking on the phone. As she’s approaching where you are sitting, suddenly she seems to trip, and stumble, and the bag goes flying, and some of her stuff falls on the floor. Or even just the bag itself, without necessarily spilling anything. Then this girl starts to be even more flustered, saying out aloud how clumsy she is, and starting chatter away.
Of course, by this time, you have looked away from your machine. You have now become engaged in that girl’s problems, and are looking at her. Then when she stumbles, your natural reaction is to help her with the bag. She’s chatting with you, looking at you, involving you, and so on. And all this time you aren’t paying attention to either your machine, or your purse, or the credits you have on the game.
While this is happening, an accomplice can easily cash out your credits, and you’ll never even notice it, or hear it. Another accomplice can grab your bag, and if you’re not holding on to it, they will be gone with it long before you ever realized something has happened. And, if you’re holding on to the bag, or purse, they can open it and take your money and credit cards without you even knowing there’s so much as another person anywhere near you. And all because you are so consumed and distracted by this silly, chatting, clumsy girl.
After a few minutes of this mayhem, the clumsy girl picks herself up, and her stuff, thanks you, and disappears. You then turn back to your game. If your credits are still there, you will just keep playing, and probably won’t know your purse was stolen, or opened, until you need something from it, or to put something into it.
If you had lots of credits on the meter, you now may have none, and you’ll be wondering why the machine suddenly isn’t paying. It will take you a while to figure this out. And that’s all that the thieves need. By the time you figure out you’ve been hit, it’s too late. They’re gone, and many times not even the surveillance cameras will be able to catch it, or focus on them close enough to find out who it was. And so you’re out of luck.
Ladies – keep yourself safe, and enjoy the great games in the casino. If you must carry a purse, or bag, carry one that has a shoulder strap, and when sitting at the slots always have it firmly wrapped around your shoulder, with the bag sitting in your lap. And this also applies to any other game you might play, or any place where you may stand or sit.