Whale Hunt in the Desert: Secrets of a Vegas Superhost
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Whale Hunt in the Desert divulges the unbridled lengths to which casinos go to bag the world s biggest gamblers--the whales. This definitive exposé reveals the shrouded world of ultra-high rollers and the Faustian pacts they forge with their hosts, the casino representatives whose job it is to part them from their fortunes. Private jets, penthouses, personal chefs, show-up money, rebates on losses, and the most beautiful women on Earth--nothing is too excessive. Whale Hunt in the Desert is the only book ever to examine the lifestyles and motivations of this rarest of breeds, as well as the highly guarded inner workings of the most money-oriented culture known to man.
Head In 1978, the debut of gambling in a derelict seaside resort in south Jersey ended Nevada’s nearly 50-year monopoly on legal casino gambling. Before then, if you worked any job in a Nevada casino, you were considered a novelty, an object of curiosity. But if you were a dealer, floorman, or boss and told people anywhere outside of Nevada what you did for a living, you were accorded a status just short of movie (well, maybe TV) star. In 1986, eight years after New Jersey got gambling, Steve
3,500-square-foot lanais and eight 5,000-square-foot villas. The story goes that shortly after opening the Mirage, Steve Wynn was curious about what effect the new resort was having on the company’s million-dollar play. At Wynn’s other property, the Golden Nugget downtown, they dealt to a dozen premium players who gambled as much as $50,000 per hand at baccarat. But the Mirage was designed to appeal to a super-select clientele that gambled at double or triple that. Wynn called Al Faccinto, Jr.,
Services handles daily. Each of eight garden villas has two to four bedrooms (two villas can be combined for a six-bedroom megavilla), a private garden, and an indoor pool. Asian guests are placed in the villas with fountains decorated with water lilies and stocked with koi. Separate service entrances admit the villa butler and housekeeper, and chefs keep the pantries full. The master bath in the two-bedroom villa sports topof-the-line marble and inlaid tile, along with Jacuzzi tub, his-and-her
players get topof-the-line servicing. No test, no referrals, and he can and does blackball the girl with the other hosts and bellmen. Since he can throw plenty of big business their way, many of the girls give him a free trial. Predictably, he regularly needs to retest the product to ensure continued quality control. A few hosts even demand a kickback from the players who service his players. A hook-up fee. The typical commission is 10% to 15%; greedy hosts have been known to ask for 20% or 25%.
have to be able to fade the losses. This is a bit more problematic, presumably, when the stakes are stolen or illegally obtained in the first place. That’s why many Chinese whales want to go to Las Vegas to play, rather than Macau, where secret police post surveillance crews to videotape big players for reasons of “national security.” Chinese whales have good reason to avoid exposure: Caught gambling away large sums in casinos anywhere in the world, many are executed for the capital crime of