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Monday, January 18, 2016

Paradise Lost

Manhattan beads sold out for greed; a local paradox

Fonduluth will reopen it's doors on September 1, 2015 after a remodel promising a more pleasurable experience of gaming which includes a smoke free first floor. All the amenities and modern electro lighted machines hides the fact that the casino is there for one thing, to take your money discretely. That fact aside, the patrons know that when they go in. What they don't know is what kind of reception they will get by casino management. If you are a regular and there every day, the relationship between casino staff and patrons can wear thin. The black jack dealer team has subjective rules which used to be listed 1-10. Favoritism is often an obstacle or hindrance to players that are not in good graces with black jack managers. Many of the dealers talk back to customers in depricating ways, predicting their next move or amount they plan to donate that day. One dealer who has been there over 10 years, even tried to predict what day and time a player may return. What is lacking is an overall respect for frequent visitors. It is possible that the staff themselves get tired of seeing the same people come every day, repeating the same cycles of behavior. Maybe they are using their lack of courtesy as a hint not to come back. A retiree with a limp who is generally cheerful comes every day except Sunday and is offered a free drink card each day. He plays at the Black Jack table, is entitled to his opinions and never doubted by staff. He plays one hand and then two and then one but complains when other people do it. He doesn't have a persistent attitude about winning or losing and he doesn't try to make enemies. The problem is, when other people try to play the same way as him periodically, they get crap for it. Lucille Henning, an acquantance of mine, has noticed this behavior by black jack staff. They target individuals whose playing style they don't like and pick on them for every small infraction. Another dealer who generally works graveyard, brags constantly about her good works in the community and her exceptional mom-hood but never mentions that her job entails collecting money from patrons every day in a devious manner that undermines her bragging rights as a Christian. Everyone is bound by the same airborne pathogens and toxins when they enter the second floor - greed, short sightedness and entrapment.  Pointing out flaws in the system or cheap soul leasing will only get a player in more trouble.  The angry seniors huddled around the Black jack table in their predestined purgatory bargainining their fortune for Judas silver and bondage rights is another sign that one should leave.  The haughty staff don't see the connection between their positions and cascade of downtrodden souls they serve.  They can serve them well if they are looking down.   Another problem with Fonduluth is that the tribal council in Cloquet honors the Native tradition and respects the feedback of players by letter or email but a verbal recourse directly in downtown Duluth is nearly impossible. If a player has a complaint, they can submit to a suggestion box but rarely can a problem while gaming be resolved with conversation. Nancy, a recent player, attended the casino five times the last two weeks in December. On the last day she was there, she gamed for 2 horus on a slot then walked upstairs to claim two $10 credits on the Black jack table. She was told by a security guard she had been banned. She spent 8 hours in the casino that week over a two day period. She spent 5 hours at the Black jack table the day before with cameras in full effect and no one once mentioned it to her either day that she was or would be suspended. She tried to ask the security team and they knew no answers. They didn't know what the mitigating incident was, what day the decision made or time of day, who was responsible or the specific reason. Since she spent over $600 that week at the casino, she felt like she was entitled to a decision. She called the floor manager after she left the casino. The female manager told her that the security team would know the information and circumstances. Nancy was transferred. The security office who answered said that she is supsended until further notice, they had no idea why. The security officer stated "Don't call back" and hung up on her. Michael Himango, one of the chief tribal members in Cloquet's Fond du Lac tribal management office is a man with integrity and backbone. He answers letters and addresses the needs of the patrons, loyal patrons who have legitimate questions and want them answered. He doesn't treat the patrons like unnecssary baggage. He is also an ordained minister and friends with one of my Native comrades. It is my estimation that if more people had the natural courage, congeniality and legitimacy in decision making, so many patrons at Fonduluth would not feel shafted. Bear in mind, Fonduluth has to deal with a lot of unemployed, downtown transients. One patron witnesses money laundering between taxis and gaming customers at Fonduluth. For those gamblers who quit and turned their life over to a higher power, they can excuse themselves from the chaos one must undergo as a regular gambler at Fonduluth. No one specific player on any day will know if their membership is being terminated. There are no specific guidelines. There is only one assurance. Fonduluth casino management has turned their higher power over to crony white European middle aged men and women who make daily decisions on who is worthy to play or pay with their life or lifestyle. The cost is high when you are kicked out wth no notice or explanation after losing $300. The danger is borderline abuse and self deprication for risking your money and life for an establshment that cares absolutely nothing about the individual player or their potential rights. Luckily, there is some polite staff there to attend to daily needs but they don't call the biggest shots. The bottom line is the casino is not a safe place for people at risk.  Some had to learn the hard way.   The casino wants your money and sometimes your soul.  Cha-ching, game can be over before you push the cash out button on the slot.

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