As the majority partner of a syndicate that owned a floating casino moored permanently on the banks of the Mississippi, I was also the primary operations manager. Most of my partners were silent types that only came out of the woodwork when it was time to rake off their pro rata share of the profits. Other than that and an occasional meeting to discuss possible changes in the future, they let me run the show.
Quite a show it was, too. Situated almost equidistant between two major cities and with more than five million people within easy driving distance, we attracted large crowds almost around the clock. We had four full decks of various types of gaming devices and tables, one deck that was consumed by four large restaurants (well, one was technically a coffee shop) and their respective kitchens, one deck which served as a theatre for live shows, and three decks of hotel-style staterooms for overnight guests. Some parts of the casino were shut down at various slow times in the day but something was always going on and the gaming decks never closed.
As the overall manager, I had the final say on all hiring for the entire operation. That task, although sometimes tedious, had its built-in advantages also. Given the state of the economy in the area surrounding our location, many people were willing to do whatever it took to obtain a regular paying job, especially if they were from one of the small dying towns out in the countryside.
Not that I'd ever ask anyone to do anything they weren't willing to do, nevertheless when the women who applied as waitress or maid or dealer or dancer or hostess stated that she would do anything for a job, I usually let her prove it. I'll admit that I have always been oversexed and this job let me indulge myself in the pleasures I so enjoyed.
With a master key that fit every lock in the entire ship, it was easy to find an empty storage closet or an unoccupied room as I made my daily rounds to take one of the women and let her show me just how grateful she really was. I never had to coerce anyone into showing me. Whether it was a quick blowjob or bending the woman over and sampling her pussy doggy style, I managed to find time to sample the wares of a number of women almost every day. Granted it had not always been like that but over time that is where I found myself.
When running a casino, one of the things you have to be leery about is that players have enough money or other assets to cover their losses. Few players actually leave a casino as a winner, even though they may have won occasionally. Overall the large percentage of people come for the entertainment, whether it is for the shows, to watch other people, or just the joy of pushing the buttons on a slot machine and hoping for a win. Most of the slot players, I didn't worry about because they brought cash or credit cards to play on and their debts were covered up front. Whether or not they could afford to lose what they gambled was not my concern.
Where I had to be more concerned was with people who played at the tables. Those were the people who gambled for higher stakes and sometimes used less conventional methods of payment, like staking out blocks of stock or signing IOUs. The only people we accommodated thusly were people that we checked out and knew that there was some way they could obtain the money to back their play. The vast majority of those IOUs were redeemed at the end of the night when the player would write a check for the amount of his IOU and he left the casino square with us, his reputation still intact.
Occasionally we ran into problems collecting on IOUs. Business people fell on hard times and couldn't cover their debts. On most of those occasions, one of my middle managers would make a call to the player to remind him of his debt to us and payment - with proper interest - was usually forthcoming. On rare occasions when this method didn't work out, I turned the debt over to our in-house collection agency.
Our "collection agency" consisted of three men, each former professional athletes and formidable people. Usually a single visit from these three men would elicit a satisfactory payment or promise for quick liquidation. If a second visit was required, a little pain (and a promise of some new concrete shoes) insured that the debtor would find a way to solve his issue. We never had to send the collection team for a third visit.
On odd occasions, a debtor asked to barter some kind of solution for his debts. I always listened to what they had to offer, and sometimes found my personal fortune enriched by doing so, although I always found a suitable way to insure that my partners got their fair share of the settlement. I have to admit that, on these bartered solutions, the casino always came out with a solution worth considerably more than the original debt, but that was the debtor's choice. Occasionally I would pay off the debt myself and then take the results of the bartering session for my personal use, if my partners were agreeable.
In the early 90s, we were first visited by an industrialist named James Wade from our favorite city to the north. He had made a small fortune manufacturing certain small interior parts for the automotive industry. When he first came to the casino, less than two years after our initial opening, he was a bit player, not interested in the slots but playing a few bucks here and there at the various games. He finally settled down at either one of the craps tables or a poker table.
Mr. Wade would spend several hours at whichever table he selected, slowly losing a few hundred dollars, occasionally winning enough to keep his interest up. He was better at shooting craps than at keeping a poker face but he seemed to prefer the game of poker. At first he only appeared on Friday nights but gradually he began to show up more and more often until he became a fixture almost every night. Even though the dealers and croupiers changed often, he got to know each of them by name and was friendly with most of the waitresses.
It wasn't until he was nearly a nightly visitor that he first brought his wife. She surprised me; while James was a fiftyish man with graying hair and a paunchy belly, she was as beautiful a woman as I had ever seen. I suspected she was in her early thirties, had long blond hair, an exaggerated Coke bottle figure, and didn't mind showing a lot of cleavage and leg. He always gave her a small amount of money to gamble with, much less than he played himself, and she proved to be quite adept at making it last the whole night, often adding a small amount to what she started with. By then, James had moved to the higher stakes tables and was spending a few thousand every night. I wondered how long he could keep it up.
Several times, in making my rounds, I ran into Mrs. Wade sitting at one of the restaurants, usually the coffee shop, having a cappuccino or similar drink, watching people as if she was having fun. I always stopped for a minute or two to talk with her. She was very pleasant and seemed unusually bright. Well, perhaps my expectations were too low for a blonde. I know I respected most women for their minds as well as their bodies.
As time progressed, James moved to the highest stakes games. Like a lot of losing gamblers, he was trying to recoup his losses quicker but all he did was accelerate the speed with which he lost money. He went from bringing cash to writing checks to signing IOUs. He left each night, explaining that he would have to arrange payment by selling this asset or that and for a time he held true to his word. Then his IOUs began to mount.
I had a feeling about the man so I took control of his account myself, rather than assign it to a middle manager. With IOUs totaling in the six figures in my hands, I called Mr. Wade and talked to him about payment. He explained that he was going through a hard time while the auto makers put the squeeze on him but he had a new contract in the works and expected to have a better cash flow soon. He promised to pay the debt and the vigorish within two weeks. I agreed to wait the two weeks.
During that two weeks, Mr. Wade continued to gamble. And the more he gambled, the more he lost. Ten to twenty thousand a night went into the coffers of the casino, even if it was just in IOUs.
On the fifteenth night after our talk, I instructed our collection team to stand watch at the doors and direct Mr. Wade to my office when he arrived. I was sure he would be there and he was either going to pay... or he was going to pay. One way or another. Like it or not.
He arrived a little later than usual but his wife was with him. My man intercepted them and directed them to the elevators leading to my office. I offered Mrs. Wade a leather chair in front of my desk and watched her sit, her short skirt riding high on her shapely thighs as she settled back. Resuming my seat behind my desk, I watched as Wade settled into the other facing chair, squirming as if he was uncomfortable.
"Mr. Wade, as you know, you had agreed to settle your debts with the casino in two weeks. Those two weeks have passed. I assume you are ready to settle up. We are currently holding your IOUs in the aggregate amount of $470,000."
"Uh, I'm very sorry, Mr. Jenkins. Things have not worked out as they should have and I am unable to make the agreed payment."
My eyes narrowed and in a stern voice, I said, "Mr. Wade, I assumed you were a man of your word. You promised to make payment today. I expected you to find a way to pay your debt, sir. If I have to resort to our collection agency, I'm sure you'll find a way. Do I need to do that?"
.... There is more of this story ...