A criminal case in Pennsylvania has dealers across the state upset that innocent banter with players can be interpreted as collusion. Roulette dealer Robert “Rudy” Valle was arrested after an informant taped a conversation he had with a player, in which the player asked him to try to hit his “lucky number” of 4 on the wheel, and he told the player he would try.
Other dealers and pit personnel at the casino are defending Valle, saying it is common practice to encourage players and tell them they’ll shoot for a birthday or other lucky number, even though both dealers and players know that it is impossible to guarantee hitting a number, given an honest wheel.
“When somebody comes up and asks what your number is, customer service is you’re supposed to tell them,” Valle told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “What am I supposed to do—tell them to go to (rival casino) Rivers and maybe they can hit your number? Put your money down. I can try to hit your number. There’s no guarantee.”
Valle’s bosses complain that the case will affect not only Valle, but all dealers, who are encouraged to engage the players in conversation over the game, and build a rapport with them. “This is going to affect how (police) treat every employee in the gaming industry,” Meadows pit manager Danny Gillies told the Tribune-Review. “If they were to win, which I can’t believe they will, we’re all puppets at that point. They can come after us at any time for anything.”
“This affects all of us—how we deal our game, how we speak to the customers,” added Meadows dealer-supervisor Thomasina Leasure added. “We feel this can happen to any one of us.”
Leasure and Gillies organized a fundraiser August 10 to assist Valle in his defense. Valle reportedly refused a plea deal because it would mean losing his gaming license.