Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Is Your Luck Good Or Bad? It's A Gamble

Sometimes, it's hard to tell when luck is good or bad.

Take the story of a woman who recently hit the jackpot at the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, the most profitable riverboat gambling spot in Illinois. Turns out that after she won an undisclosed amount, not only did she have a pair of fake IDs that landed her in jail but she also had placed herself on a "banned" list that meant any winnings she gained would be diverted to a charity.

The riverboat is a stone's throw down the hill from The Courier-News, a daily newspaper where I plied my trade throughout the 1990s. In my time at the paper, I must have written 200-odd stories (some quite odd) about the Grand Victoria, from its conception to its 1993 approval by the Illinois Gaming Board to its October 1994 grand opening and through the first five years of its operation on the Fox River.

As this recent good luck/bad luck reflects, gambling certainly has a way of creating "News of the Weird" candidates for the Chicago Reader.

One bizarre story that I wrote, and which stands out to this day, was of a man who claimed to have been robbed and locked in his own trunk at the casino parking deck. Police quickly sniffed out the real deal: he was trying to conceal from his wife that he'd squandered a load of dough.

Now that's a guy in desperate need of a publicist, at least for his first 15 minutes at the kitchen table with the Mrs.

For the Lady (Really Bad) Luck tale mentioned above, here's an account in today's Daily Herald: http://dailyherald.com/story/?id=205216

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