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Protect yourself from getting ripped off in the casinos with these tips

Casinos are generally very safe places to be. With video cameras continuously scanning every inch of the casino floor, it's easy for people to take their security for granted. Even with the eyes in the sky, you should still be on the lookout for thieves, hustlers and conmen looking to make a quick buck. Here are some tips to keep you from falling prey to a scam.

1) It's an obvious one, but I'll say it anyway - keep your money secure and in sight at all times. I can't tell you how many times I've seen ladies leave their pocketbooks draped over the backs of their chair as they play or guys with their wallets bulging out of their back pockets.

While the casino cameras can catch just about everything, it can still miss the sleight of hand of a good pickpocket. Keep your wallet in your front pocket and your purses secure on your person. If someone bumps you, check to make sure you still have everything on you. Of course, if you're like me and live in New York City, you probably know this already.

2) If you play tables, don't leave your chips on the table if you have to step away for a minute. Many people entrust hundreds - even thousands - of dollars to dealers and other casino staff as they get up to make a phone call, smoke a cigarette, or go to the restroom.

Contrary to popular belief, dealers are only responsible for the house's money - the chips that lie in the dealer's chip trays - not the money belonging to the players. If someone were to walk up and swipe your chips, yes, surveillance can probably catch the perpetrator but they can't make any promises to get you back whatever you lose. It's better to be safe than sorry, so carry your chips with you. Color them up for higher valued chips before stepping away if that makes thing easier for you.

3) Be wary of people who take a sudden interest in you. This situation can take the form of the person who creeps up on you out of left field as you buy in to a table or cash out from a slot machine. It can be the person who approaches you with a sob story on how much money he or she has lost, or the spectator over your shoulder who looks and acts happier that you're winning than you are. Or - this one is for you, guys! - it can even be the beautiful lady who struts over to you, getting very friendly with you in record time.

Chances are, all of these people are after your money. Sure, every so often you'll encounter an honest stranger out there just happy to see someone win - and yes, guys, you might just be genuinely lucky like that - but sadly these people are few and far between. Instead, more often than not, they're conmen, thieves or call girls. Don't be afraid to ask anyone to leave you alone, especially if they start soliciting you for money. Go to another machine or table if you feel uncomfortable, or go straight to casino security to report the problem. Security's there to ensure you have a good time. Ridding the casinos of these people is part of their job.

If you follow these simple tips, you will be even safer in one of the safest places around.

Until next time, take care and good luck in the casino!

About the Author

Shawn Tinling runs 21 Nights Entertainment, a casino entertainment company and events company in New York City. -- www.21nights.com

Shawn Tinling