Thursday, November 15, 2018

2019 WGPC SPEAKERS: THE RELEVANT, THE IRRELEVANT AND THE RIDICULOUS

Willy Allison has recently published his list of speakers/presenters for the 2019 World Game Protection Conference in Las Vegas. Despite my animosity toward Willy and other people closely associated with him and the WGPC, I will do the best I can to give an unbiased opinion of the 2019 WGPC lineup. Doing this is a rather difficult chore as I don't want to give Willy any free publicity but at the same time I do not want to discourage people from coming to his conference.

So, that said, let's get started.

WILLY ALLISON: Sorry, I cannot be unbiased here, so I must let this one go.

ANTHONY CLARK: I met Anthony in 2017 when I trained his surveillance department at the Soaring Eagle casino in Michigan. I found him to be bright, knowledgeable and personable, and most important, eager and willing to learn. I am sure he will be an interesting presenter and do a fine job. RELEVANT

DARRIN HOKE: I briefly met Darrin a few times over the years at the WGPC, which I keynoted in 2007, and at the G2E in Las Vegas. He is clearly well-rounded in all aspects of surveillance and game protection and has lots of knowledge to impart. RELEVANT

BILL ZENDER: When it comes to the numbers of table games, casino promotions, etc., Bill is your guy. I do not, however, consider him to be an expert in casino-cheating. RELEVANT

SAL PIACENTE: Sal does the work, that's for sure, and keeps up with all the current scams. However, he has made some comments that lead me to believe his innate casino-cheating knowledge is not as strong. He sent me an email a few years back calling my notorious Savannah roulette-cheating move "a rinky-dink pinch move." Others in the business, including past speakers at the WGPC, have called it the best cheating move ever. Lots of people believe that Sal is an ex-casino cheat. That is not true. Sal has never cheated in a legal gaming establishment. He told me so himself. I am not praising or berating that fact. RELEVANT

JOHN UNDERWOOD: I trained John's staff at the Hard Rock Casino in Tulsa last July. John and his staff were very attentive, and he and his more experienced people had very significant knowledge on game protection, including that for roulette with roulette balls and craps with dice, which is just a few months old in Oklahoma. John has a youthful spirit and great attitude and will be a big plus at the WGPC. RELEVANT

GEORGE JOSEPH: If you want dinosaur game protection, George is your guy. RELEVANT

TONY STONE: I never met Tony, but we did have a series of extremely long and somewhat argumentative emails about my articles condemning Willy Allison. Although Tony's opinion sided with Willy more than me, our conversations went way beyond that dispute. While writing back and forth about several game protection topics, I found Tony to be one of the most knowledgeable people in the field. I am sure you will find his presentation current and interesting. RELEVANT

JOE NAVARRO: Although I respect Joe's knowledge and credentials, I feel they are more suited to terrorism than they are to game protection. I severely criticized the WGPC for its focus last year on the Las Vegas Massacre, and I will never be sold on body language analysis being integral to casino game protection unless it has to do with cheat-team communication, nor do I think the threat of terrorism inside casinos is as great as the WGPC makes it out to be. IRRELEVANT

DREW PORTER: Specializing in "Full-spectrum zero knowledge"...The key word here is "zero" and that's about the extent of the relevance this stuff has to game protection. IRRELEVANT

KERRY BUBOLZ: The Golden Knights are a great story and inspirational after the Las Vegas Massacre, but of course this has nothing to do with game protection. IRRELEVANT

EDWARD PRIMEAU: The science and technology of audio and video forensics can indeed be important to casino investigations encompassing several crimes, including cheating at the tables. RELEVANT

MICHAEL PRIMEAU: Like father like son. RELEVANT

JOSH DAVID: I would bet a million dollars to win a dollar that I could walk into any crowded casino in the world on a Saturday night without a disguise and be recognized by exactly zero super-recognizers. All this facial recognition stuff is great in close quarters and one-by-one or small-group entry but not when you have throngs of people entering casinos with their heads tilted in various positions. IRRELEVANT

MICHAEL ROZIN: Willy Allison tweeted his support for software that could predict which angry losers at the gaming tables might go back to their rooms, get their AR-15s, and come back into the casino blasting away. That was rubbish and so is any more talk of predicting who will turn into casino mass-murderers based on their casino play and actions, Mr. Rozin notwithstanding. RIDICULOUS

JIM DOWLING: Money laundering is certainly important to casinos and being able to detect it can lead to putting some serious criminals out of business and into jail. If solid casino cage policies are instituted and employees trained in this, even professional casino-cheat teams can be thwarted. When I train casinos, I show how strict anti-money-laundering procedures in place at casinos can be a major factor in catching the best professional casino cheats. RELEVANT

MIKE WAITE: Obviously a well-rounded surveillance professional with lots of experience. His presentation will be useful. Teamwork in catching casino cheats is essential. RELEVANT

ROBERT KRAUS: Robert is no doubt extremely qualified in his field, and by reading up on him I have found his contributions to the protection of gaming facilities exemplary. However, I think his expertise is much more relevant to the outside protection of casinos, not to the table games and slot machines inside. IRRELEVANT

BRIAN LOPEZ: As previously mentioned, anything concerning money laundering in casinos is relevant. What I didn't mention above is that drug gangs have been laundering money in casinos for years, especially in Las Vegas. RELEVANT

MARVIN SZUKALOWSKI: Nothing can be more important than surveillance's role in the future of game protection. But what is missing at the WGPC (nothing to do with Marvin) is the importance of table games departments' role in the future of game protection. I constantly stress at all my training sessions that the two departments MUST work better together and as an efficient team in order to have any chance of stopping high-level cheats.

Okay, there you have it!

I must admit that this year's WGPC is much more relevant to casino game protection than last year's, where Bill Zender was called a "hybrid" game protection specialist, whatever the hell that means, and the term "critical non-verbal vigilance" and other tongue twisters were used to describe irrelevant presenters.

Hey, guess what?

Maybe Willy Allison is listening to me...a little!